Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spanking The Carp

File:Reed-vermillion-flycatcher.pngI had a nice long paddle down the Rio Grande today in the little yellow boat I call Dandelion.  Before I was even in the water, we had a new life bird - a Vermilion Flycatcher, like the fellow in the painting above.  Now that's a great way to start the day!

I believe they must have shut the water flow off at the dam, or cut it back considerably, as the river has fallen at least a foot or so.  The rafters no longer seem to be using the river, and that meant I had it all to myself.  Peace and quiet and plenty of it.  Enough current so that I didn't have to paddle if I didn't want to, which is nice.  The water was cool and green.  It's been pretty muddy a few days this last week, with all the monsoon rain.  It's so wonderful to get the rain though.  Maybe this winter we'll even get some snow!

At the breakwaters, I tried something new with Dandelion, whom we also refer to as the "tippy canoe".  I have not been going that far up because she has a tendency to do a dolphin imitation, that ends with a considerable amount of water on the inside of the boat.  There was less water today - so much so that I could see (and easily avoid) some rocks in the breakwaters.  Instead of paddling hard for the center, I let her almost float, only sculling enough to keep her nose pointed the right way, and I leaned as far back in the cockpit as I could.  Both times only a small amount of water came sloshing in over her nose, so I think maybe I've discovered the "trick" to it.  Yes, I need a skirt.  I need a lot of things - LOL.

A whilte belted ringtail dragonfly joined me a couple of times - hitchhiking on the nose of the little boat.  They really seem to like her for some reason.  One even perched for a time on the edge of my paddle as I rested, and then stayed even while I sculled to steer - but when she sensed the roar of the breakwaters, she decided I would have to go that alone.

A flock of barn swallows whirled over the boat near the Rio Grande bridge, and a few accompanied me all the way down.  The boat tailed grackles were evident, and I heard a sizable murder of ravens in a tree behind me although I was never able to get an eye on them.  One cormorant bobbed along ahead of me for a bit before deciding he didn't like the company.

As I came to calmer, and narrower waters, several times I put in the paddle to touch something soft and yeilding.  Was it the muddy bottom?  The next stroke I set the paddle straight in to reach down and find the bottom - nope.  Then it happened again, and the carp - for such it was - shot up to the surface behind me and let me know he did not appreciate being... paddled.  The water was too green to see them, and I'm afraid I "paddled" a few more - although I was trying to be careful and gentle.

A Belted Kingfisher flew straight across the river in front of me, and a vulture wheeled lazily circles high above.  I saw a couple of sandpipers, one flying and one walking along the bank pecking the mud.  I wasn't close enough to see them well in either case, but judging by their tiny size I would take Spotted Sandpiper as a guess, but don't mark that down on your calendar or anything.  I only saw two Great Blue Herons today.  One flew away without a word or a squawk.  I apologized to the second for disturbing him - he had been so still that I don't think either of us noticed the other until I was gliding by ten feet away from him.  He rose, circled, and let out a squeak - a high pitched baby bird sort of sound I've never heard a Great Blue make before.  Normally they sound as you might imagine a pterodactyl might have - a loud, harsh squawk.

When I got to Rotary Park, where I often stop my ride, the hubby was there on top of the bank to let me know the low water dam was still down, so I could go through and further down if I wished.  We decided that would be great, and he departed to hop in the car and go on down a ways.  As I swung around the rivers bend I heard another Heron saying some terrible things in bird speak and thought the husband must have spooked him up.  Sure enough, there was the hubby just ahead of me - laughing at a very disturbed Little Green Heron.  Seems we were using his fishing hole as a pick up point.

I bet the fishing was pretty good - lots of minnows and the hubby spotted the first crawdad I've ever seen in the Rio Grande!  I even tried to catch him, but I've lost the touch in the last thirty years or so!

A bunch of friends old and new have contacted me because I turned Goodreads loose on my gmail contacts.  I haven't used that membership in ages - but my MIL bought me a new Kindle Fire!!  As I set it up, it more or less insisted I give it access to my Goodreads account, and I figured, why not?  It's nice to hear from old friends, too - so that was an unexpected benefit!  Right now I have a huge stack of library books I am working my way through - but I swear they are my last.  I finally have a Kindle again and I can borrow all kinds of wonderful things with my Prime membership.And already friends are pouring in the recommendations. Life is good!

I can also finally see my new books, with illustrations, on a Kindle and see how they look.  I suspect there are edits in the future :P

The rest of the week is going to be very busy.


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