Thursday, June 12, 2008

High water

The water's been very high at Lake Monroe, near Bloomington, for the past few weeks. On the first of June, we took our canoe out for a little exploring. It was really strange, paddling around through the trees, where normally we would be walking. At one point the road leading down to a launch site was under water, and as we paddled across it we could see the yellow no-passing line beneath us. Recent heavy rains have made the water even higher. Last weekend, after the storms had stopped, we went back to explore more of the lake.

We saw: several turtles basking on logs, 2 small snakes, 1 eastern box turtle, 2 lizards, a red fox squirrel, a chipmunk, lots of yellow swallowtail butterflies, 2 baltimore orioles, 1 yellow warbler, a great blue heron, 2 families of Canada geese and their goslings, and 1 unlucky catfish. The catfish is a long story--we freed him from a fishing line tied to a tree, and then, realizing that he had been hooked on purpose and not by accident, fled the area for fear of running into the person who had set the line!

Fishing is not a kind sport--and sometimes it is not friendly to other wildlife, either. We untangled quite a bit of fishing line from trees, as it endangers the birds who get caught in it, and collected lead sinkers left behind. We also pulled plastic bobbers out of the trees; these I'm stringing together as a kind of trophy.

Southern Indiana has been hit hard by recent storms and flooding. Homes have been damaged, even destroyed. The full extent of the damage is just now being assessed. We haven't heard much yet about the impact on wildlife; I suppose that will become evident over a longer time.

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