Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9, 2012

I didn't get out much this week, as it is a busy time with fall chores kicking in, but I did see the loon chick on one trip around the lake.  No pictures, but it is starting to lose its baby fuzz and develop more mature markings, particularly on its head and beak.  It was also quite distant from its parents, the first time I've seen them apart. 

I took a run up to Crocket's Ledge on Saturday.  Though I didn't see any wildlife, I did find a plethora of mushrooms springing up everywhere.  Large clumps of them, and some of pretty good size.  Maybe next week I'll take some pictures.  For now, there was one new variety I found that was interesting enough that I had to look it up.  It is called a Crown-tipped Coral.

Crown-tipped Coral  (Artomyces pyxidatus)

This fungus is reportedly edible (though I'll pass) and the name is appropriately descriptive;  up close you can see where they got the crow-tipped part.

On the way back from Crocket's Ledge I saw a baby-blue car driving down Chemung Road, and I knew right away what it was up to.  So I stopped at the boat landing and sure enough, it turned onto the ramp.  It stopped for minute to prepare its metamorphosis,

 and then, it drove right into Lake Wicwas!

It took a moment to get it's mode of propulsion rearranged,

and it was off!

I've seen this amphibious vehicle before, but never got this close a look at it.  It has twin props, a high exhaust pipe, and another probe on the right side that I don't recognize - perhaps it's the bilge pump. 

This is an "Amphicar", built in Germany from 1961 through 1965.  It's a pretty cool machine, but I don't think I'd like to encounter much of a rough sea in it.  Plus, it has a British power-plant - an engine made by Triumph.  British cars were notorious for their electrical systems - I can't imagine how reliable it is when surrounded by water!

Quite a sight cruising the waters of Lake Wicwas!

Closer to the house, doing the end-of-summer errands, I found a couple of nice spider webs collecting their fall harvest.  The spider who made this web was an overachiever, as it had captured two dragon-flies.

It must make a pretty darn strong web to keep these large insects captive, and it certainly will eat well for the next few days.  I didn't see the homeowner though.

A second web didn't have any big customers, but it did have a beautiful web.

And this one was definitely at home, right in the middle of its web waiting for its meal.

There are plenty of other signs that autumn is coming, beyond the fabulous blue sky and water that graced the lake today.  Acorns are falling now, and it's looking like a good year for them, which will be appreciated by many animals, including the deer and turkey. 

I think these two objects are also the product of oak trees. 

I haven't found a reliable source of information yet, but the best I can discern is that they are called "galls", and are caused by insects laying eggs on an oak bud.  The oak grows a barrier around it, and the larvae develops inside.  That would explain why they always have a hole in them.

Of course, the most visible sign of the coming season is also becoming evident.

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