On a cool morning that held the promise of warmth and sunshine my Mountain Boy and I decided that today looked to be a very good day to try out a new-to-us boat.
We headed to Woods Reservoir on the base eager to get out on the water.
LC has owned fishing boats in the past, but I have never been in such a craft before.
Once a fast power boat but other than that only canoes and kayaks.
This little 14 foot fishing boat has only a trolling motor so we were not going to be going anywhere fast, but we bought the boat primarily so that LC could fish on the water.
As one of his friends told him one day a long time ago "nobody ever caught a fish going 70 miles per hour".
A good point.
It has been two years since I was on this lake and I was excited and greatly looking forward to a quiet adventure on a sunny Sunday morning at the end of October.
I still do not understand why locals do not go onto the water at this time of year.
The water is cool but not freezing.
The air temperature varies a lot in late Fall but many days are still very warm.
The noisy and wave-inducing power boats of Summer are gone.
It is a special time of year and to me is perfect boating weather.
But regardless we had the lake entirely to ourselves.
The day was very very quiet.
The day was almost silent..................
With the hail storm we had a little over a week ago and then the rain and wind we had for a couple of days during this past week, many of the trees are almost completely bare.
But as we traveled around the lake we still managed to see a lot of colour.
Fall is still here.
Winter is just around the corner but is not here yet...........
Both LC and I have done a lot of canoeing and kayaking on this lake, so we knew that there were many coves and a number of small islands on Woods.
Today we explored some we have not explored in a long time, and also some we had never seen before........
The first of many blue herons we saw today.
Birds are everywhere on this lake - herons, ducks, geese, hawks and so many others that I know nothing about.
He stood on the edge of the bank for a long time, enjoying the sun and happily posing for my pictures............
There are four or five duck blinds on the lake.
All a little different but all interesting to look at.
They seem like a lot of work to me just so that someone can shoot a duck, but they are also beautiful in their own unique way..............
Birds were everywhere we turned.
Diving for fish.
Swimming in long and always surprisingly straight lines.
Standing on the shore.
Standing under washed out areas of the bank along the lakes' edge.
Flying barely above the water.
On a very sunny day it was difficult to catch them in picture sometimes because they were difficult to see in my camera viewer and they moved so fast.
I missed more pictures than I care to think about.
But thankfully more birds were always close by.
This small flock "walked on water" as they picked up speed and then took flight..................
Many leaves gone but many still hanging on to their trees.
One day over the next few weeks the weather will turn really bad, it will rain a lot and be very windy and then the leaves will all be gone...............
The water was a little choppy when the wind blew, but when it was calm the lake turned into a beautiful reflecting pool................
A water cooling system..............
One of my favorite pictures from today.............
The prettiest and most colorful cove of the day.............
This blue heron had been following us for quite a while, staying just ahead of us.
Each time we would approach this beautiful bird he would take flight, and then land 100 yards in front of us along the shore.
Each time I would try and take a picture of him and each time I would just miss him.
Until finally I caught him, standing still long enough to be able to capture this picture............
And then this picture.............
Not long after I first started kayaking on this lake I paddled over to this small island curious to take a closer look at it.
As I got closer to the island I saw a large and wonderful bird standing alone on a log in the water close to the island.
Not wanting to scare him away (and hoping to get a closer look at him) I stopped paddling and simply floated in the water.
As soon as I stopped paddling I heard it.
The very noisy and almost prehistoric sounding screeches that overwhelmed the island as I was approaching.
What the heck WAS all that noise?
I did not know at the time but was now extremely curious and began to slowly paddle again towards the island wondering just what it was that I had unexpectedly found.
As I got closer I could see them.
Thousands and thousands of birds big and small and of so many species I could not even begin to name them,
There were birds in the trees, in the nests, standing on logs barely in the water, flying around the island, flyng away from the island, walking on the beach, swimming close to the island and swimming away from the island.
I had surprisingly and wonderfully found a bird nesting island.
A bird sanctuary.
I paddled back to the picnic area and excitedly told LC what I had found and he paddled out to see it for himself.
For months I kayaked out to that island to see these so very beautiful birds in this so very beautiful place.
And then one day I paddled out there and they were gone.
All of them.
I repeated that same routine for years - always excited to see the chaotic frenzy of thousands of birds and thousands of babies, always excited to hear that prehistoric noise, and then always slightly disappointed but resigned to life moving on when they all disappeared.
Today we went to bird island and it was empty..................
This bird was resting on a log in the middle of the lake.
He took flight and quickly disappeared before I had a chance to take a closer picture.
By this time we were headed for bird island and by this time my camera battery was flashing low.
I was taking pictures on borrowed time from this point forward................