Friday, July 17, 2015

A Bamboo Perch

For as long as I have gone to the river to film, there have always been a couple of bamboo poles on the edge of the marsh across the river. I always wondered what their purpose was and who had put them there. Then, one morning I saw these two guys checking on one of them. The boat isn't marked, but the State Department of Natural Resources uses these same type of center console skiffs. I suspect they are with the DNR. If the man handling the pole is six feet tall more or less, you can see the pole is close to fifteen feet high.

Of course, that doesn't answer why they are there. A gauge of the water level is out. There is a public pier within site of this location where data on the river is collected. In any event, the birds love them. It is the highest, most stable perch for quite a large surrounding area and an ideal place for spotting fish in the water below. Quite a variety of birds use them including Osprey, hawks, Kingfishers and Red-winged Blackbirds.

One morning, however, I discovered that this one had somehow been broken in half. How it broke was a mystery. Bamboo is very strong structurally and the pole was still relatively in the same position which, to my mind, ruled out human intervention. That doesn't leave too many other possibilities and I decided that a lightening strike was the plausible cause.

I say that because the bamboo was not only broken off, but the part that remained was split down the middle. That created a little comedy with this Osprey. When the bamboo broke off, one side was left like a spear with a very sharp pointed piece, so the Osprey had to move very gingerly so as not to be injured.

But as it positioned itself with one foot on each side, the two pieces began to separate and widen. It is not easy to make out, but the Osprey is looking intently at her feet to try to figure out what is going on. I can just hear her thinking, "What the hey?"

Finally, things settled down and the Osprey was able to perch quietly. Over time, the pole disappeared completely.

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