It’s March, and the season is about to change. While we’ve had a pretty mild winter, it seems to want to linger. The winter birds that we have each year are still here, including the gray and white gulls, and the little unidentified ducks that travel in tight squadrons and streak low over the water, heading somewhere in a hurry, not to be seen again for days.
We’ve had a pair of loons on the lake for much of the winter too, the first year I’ve seen them. They’re shy and spend most of their time away from the shore. We probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all if not for that distinctive call. They are a northern bird that normally winters on the Gulf Coast. Perhaps one of them was injured or sick and had to cut the migration short, or maybe they just decided it was too much trouble to go further. I suspect that during America’s westward push plenty of towns were settled by people who one day said, “That’s it. We’re stopping here.” Many of those places have done just fine and maybe our loons will decide to summer on Bull Shoals Lake, also. I hope so.
One afternoon late in January, I stepped out of the house and saw two eagles soaring over the resort. They like our ridge top when the north wind creates an updraft against the bluff below us. Cindy came out and as we watched the pair, we saw another group of three eagles, an adult-- we’ll say it was a female – and two brown-splotched juveniles. Apparently it was a flying lesson, a game, or both.
The adult eagle would fly close to one of the youngsters, appear to touch them with her wings, then fold them and dive downward. Suddenly, she would fully spread her wings and go into a cartwheel, wingtip over wingtip, falling away from the two young.
This amazing show continued as the adult did more aerial acrobatics, and the youngsters cut and dove but neither repeated the cartwheel maneuver. Despite her insistence they seemed reluctant and awkward, compared to her. It seems incongruous that perhaps eagles are afraid of flight, at least at first. This was the first time we’ve observed so many eagles in the air at once. And it was an unforgettable sight.
Back here on the ground, the weather is due to heat up soon, and so will our season. Before we know it Memorial Day will be here and with it our hectic time. Meanwhile we’ve been busy with improvements: an extensive remodel in #5, the small one-bedroom (windows, insulation, drywall, cabinets and flooring) and a much needed facelift for the Deluxe Honeymoon Suite (#1) with fresh paint, a new window, and Cindy’s attempt at a faux finish paint job in the bedroom. Also, we’ve increased the air conditioning capacity for many of the cottages.
We hope you’ll be able to enjoy these improvements in person with us this coming year! Anyway, welcome, Spring!
The quiet season has arrived at Ridgecrest. We've been busy around the place and maybe because of that it seems like Labor Day weekend, with its frantic celebrations -- summer's eulogy -- has only just past. But really we're deep into autumn.
The leaves are changing rapidly and the colors are different each day and with each change of the light. The deer are taking on their grayish coats that will match perfectly the bark and limbs of the bare trees of winter.
There's a small flock of Canada geese that spent the summer on the lake this year. Lately I've noticed that they've become strangely noisy and agitated, as if some part of their brains is telling them it's time to move even though they seem to have given up on the idea of migration for an easier, maybe lazier, life on Bull Shoals Lake.
And it is quiet. Without the people sounds and the groan of vehicles towing boats up our hill, you can hear all kinds of things. Standing in the yard behind the cabins you can hear even small waves slapping the rocks below our bluff and, at times, the conversations of fishermen down there.
There's lots for us to do in the "off" season. We're remodeling Cottage Five, our small one-bedroom, adding insulation (!), and new windows in an effort to keep the utility bills down. In addition, new flooring, cabinets and a coat of paint will be a great improvement.
But besides the projects, there is also time for us to enjoy our area, get out on the lake, hike a few trails, and maybe take a fall canoe trip if we can find enough water. We've had good rains of late but our river levels have still not recovered.