Sunday, September 12, 2010

Setpember 12, 2010

Summer is hanging on, but signs of fall are everywhere.  Saturday was a perfect September day, and I got in one more ski trip; the water is still as warm as in July.  I saw many ducks on the lake again this weekend, including a beautiful Wood Duck.  As I came around a point in the kayak, four or five ducks flew off, but one brightly colored male stayed behind, crouching down low against the shore.  But I as raised my camera, he took off also.  This is all I got:

The lake level is a little low, about minus two inches at the dam, but not bad considering how dry it's been.  The lake level has been managed very well lately.  The water level is about three inches below the top board in the dam.  The low water has revealed lots of mud flats in the marshes, and there were many turtles out sunning themselves on Saturday.  I found this Solitary Sandpiper digging on one of the mud flats.
Solitary Sandpiper

It's the season of red berries.  The wintergreen has ripened and its bright red berries are visible all around the shores of Lake Wicwas.  These will stay red into winter, and provide a good food source for many birds.

The Partridgeberries are also ripe, but much less ostentatious, hiding amongst the leaf litter on the forest floor.  Both are signs that fall is here.
Red isn't the only color though - I found these large clusters of blue berries at the dam on Meredith Center road.  They have a large woody stalk, with very strong stems holding the berries.  With Emily's assistance, I learned they are Smooth Carrion Flower.  Between the leaves and the berries, they are the food of Bear, Deer, Cottontail Rabbit, Turkey, Ruffled Grouse, and other animals - just another attraction for the diverse fauna around Lake Wicwas.
Smooth Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)
Linda found these delicate blue flowers right on the shoreline - I don't know what these are either - any ideas?
Linda also saw the three fawns last week, as well as a fourth fawn with them, but only saw one doe.  Other than the birds, including several wood peckers hammering in the forest, and lots of turtles sunning on the mud flat, I didn't see much wildlife this week.  But a large member of the weasel family came by the house, leaving a large twisted scat to mark his presence.  Being over a 12 inches long, and full of hair, I'm guessing it was a Fisher.
Fisher Cat Scat?

Alas, another clear sign of fall:  we took out the dock today.  But the boat and kayaks are still in for fall tours around the lake. 

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