All this warm fall weather has had me wanting to get out for a paddle, and I was finally able to do so this past weekend on Jones Pond near Paul Smiths. Since Jones Pond is not large, it can be covered in an hour or it can be extended for as long as you want. And, since Wren does not generally want to lie still for long in a canoe, it is a nice choice since I can cover the entire pond before she gets too fidgety. All the same I took her for a nice long walk before hand to tire her out.
Most of the shoreline of Jones Pond is state land, but there is a small stretch of cabins and that’s where I started our trip, watching a swimming muskrat as we were pushing off from shore. It was overcast, but pleasant as we cruised past the short row of homes. A lone common loon bobbed on the water, alternating between sitting with its head raised and tucking its head to sleep, and two fishermen cast from canoes along the shoreline. The lack of motors also makes Jones Pond a quiet paddle.
We moved clockwise around the pond and Wren initially dozed, resting from her earlier walk. Soon however, a few of what I call “ankle biter” flies came aboard uninvited and she became fixated on chasing them off her legs. Our contingent of flies grew to at least a level of minor nuisance as we paddled around the edge of the pond, and I had to keep one eye on Wren so that she wouldn’t get too worried about them and rock the boat in her efforts to fend them off.
In spite of this I still put down my paddle occasionally to take photos, and we watched a great blue heron fish in the shallows. Not long after that a bald eagle passed overhead, but it didn’t stick around. We paddled to the outlet of the pond which leads to Osgood Pond - which allows for an extension to the paddle. The outlet is a marshy waterway that offers an interesting shoreline and nice bird habitat. There is also a nice beaver lodge there and we poked around the marsh which surrounded it, I looking for birds and Wren still feuding with the flies. I had a little more success than she did as a merlin flew above the pines which lined the shoreline. I sat for a minute and waited. Soon it called again and sat on a low tamarack on the boggy edge of the pond. I tried to move in to see if I could snap a photo, but the bird was on the move again.
So I spished in the marsh and a chorus of swamp sparrows chipped in response. I didn’t find anything else with them. So I began to complete my loop and headed back toward the car. Wren was just starting to show the end of her patience for sitting still (particularly with the flies) anyway and it was time to reward her with a swim – after we got back of course.