It appears they do, in fact, breed like normal animals. Okay, they breed like rabbits, but they are not clones of a grass-eating poop machine.
And that's one damn fine conspiracy theory shot down.
Yes, it's true. Today was First Day of Kayaking for Moi! \0/
I spent 2 hours on the water (thanks to SPF 50 sunblock, sunglasses, sun visor, and my personal floatation device) for my first outing. Last year 3-and-half hours was my personal rowing best. So I'm already ahead of the curve.
Can Our Heroine reach her goal of doing a roundtrip paddle of 11.2 miles of the Charles River Lakes Region by summer's end? Why, I do believe she just might!
Sadly, dummy didn't bring her camera on her trip today, but the nature haul was quite impressive.
- River songbirds up the wazoo. Flocks of 'em. Red-winged blackbirds and purple grackles for the most part.
- Armies of male mallard ducks with feathers so bright they glowed (clearly looking to get laid) although strangely not a whole lot of female mallards. There were also more than a few couples of Canada geese checking out nesting real estate.
- Nesting birds included the Canada geese, as well as a swan. I literally stumbled on the nesting swan while investigating the river reeds. Once June comes around, these brackish areas will be impassible because of the weeds, but right now you can get in and around them. There she was, sitting on a throne of sticks. I was able to quickly back up the kayak before the bird decided I was worth leaving the nest for a righteous ass-kicking.
- Spotted my first (and only) cormorant of the season. By June or so, there'll be dozens of them on the river.
- One snapper turtle sunning himself between two Canada geese on a log. Stupid birds. They seemed utterly unaware the snapper will be eating their offspring within the next month or two.
- My all-time fantastic nature find ever: A FISHERCAT! No shit. I was maybe a foot off shore when I see something gamboling through the leaves along the shoreline. At first I thought it was a black cat, then I realized it had the body of a weasel. I think I surprised it as much as it surprised me, because it stopped just long enough for me to get a good look while it took a good look at me. It had something small, furry, and very, very dead in its mouth. Then it was off and running. Holy shit! A fishercat!
- Jumping bass. Yup. There were a couple that jumped out the water while I was rowing by. Either they were hunting real bugs, or I startled them while I rowed by. Hard to tell.
Of course, no solid row along the river is complete without playing spot-the-Japanese tourist. Only one family today, which is kind of a disappointment.
You think I joke, but I'm seriously not. Hand to God, but I bet there's write-ups in Japanese guidebooks urging tourists to go to the Lakes Region of the Charles River for some kind of "authentic American experience." Or something. I have lost count how many Japanese tourists I saw last year canoeing up and down the river like their lives depended on it. And they're so cute as they paddle along, talking excitedly amongst themselves, pointing out the local wildlife to each other at the top of their lungs, not to mention laughing and splashing away.
My favorite memory from last year were a bunch of young Japanese guys who, I shit you not, had business ties tied around their heads like sweatbands. Two canoes of these guys were rowing along singing Japanese sea shanties at the top of their lungs and giggling furiously.
Okay, how do I know they were Japanese sea shanties despite the fact they were sung in Japanese. Shit. I've lived in New England my entire life. One thing any New England knows from birth is what a sea shanty sounds like.
Strangely enough, whatever the language, sea shanties most definitely have a distinct sound.
What made this one Japanese family I saw today unique was, get this, instead of a canoe, they were in kayaks. I was really sorry I didn't have my camera because that would've been totally worth the picture.
Anyway, the kids were whining (in Japanese) that they wanted to go further down the river (they were within sight of the boathouse). You can tell because the whine of a kid wanting to go exploring is, like, an international sound. You could see the parents were all, "Unh, I dunno."
Anyway, as I row by, I call over to the parents and tell them that if they really want to go further, the river is perfectly safe for them to do so. There's tons of people on the water, and it's a very calm river even on its worst of days.
Well, those two parents sat up and grinned at me. You could see that they wanted to go exploring, too. And the dad was all, "Really?" (in an accent of course).
And I'm all, "Yeah. Totally safe. It's more like being on a lake. And you'll see a ton of birds and other animals if you go a little further."
"Oh! Thank you very much!" the mother says with this big grin while hubby sticks his paddle in the water.
And...off the Japanese tourists went with the kids shouting all kinds of yays.
So, all in all, a fantastic day on the river. It was a lot like rowing through PBS's Nature for 2 hours, which is why I love this stuff.
Next time, though, I'm bringing a camera.