Captain’s Life: Leaves Falling, Raptors Flying and Pontoons Docking

Late October and early November is always bittersweet at Burr Oak Lake. While cooler temps and less sunshine cause the Maple, Oaks and Poplar trees to visually ignite into bright yellows and reds while shedding leaves, sadly the lake also must lose many boats to the dry-dock.

Fortunately, this time of the year also allows me a bit more time on the water as I help friends and neighbors pull out their pontoons. On this day, my friend Clyde asked that I pilot his 20-ft pontoon to Dock #1.

It was a crisp, breezy day and the wind pushes the starboard side of the boat as I motor over from Dock #2. As I approached the halfway mark into the journey, I heard the unmistakable screech of a raptor near shore. Apparently the boat wasn’t the only thing the wind was pushing.

Looking to the north-west shore, I spot a very large Red-Tailed Hawk spiraling up into the sky and beginning to circle overhead. I immediately put the transmission in neutral to and watched in awe, waiting for the predator to swoop and snag a fish. No such thing happened, however, as the bird kept circling upward to meet up with second similar bird that must have been another 600-feet above the water.

As I was recording video, my phone starts ringing. It was Clyde reminding me he was at Dock #1 with the truck and trailer. I was lost in the moment but shifted forward headed to the dock and idle past the last of the pontoon boats waiting to be pulled soon.

It’s moments like these that make this place so special. Within the span of 30-minutes, I hiked from Fisherman’s Cottage through paint-colored forest to the docks, slow-cruised a boat on the lake and watched some awesome feathered predators glide effortlessly overhead.

I love this place. I love this job.

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