Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 2014

The beavers have been very active lately - they have even been trying to stop the water flowing over the dam by piling up branches and packing reeds and mud on the dam.  Even though the town water control person has been removing the debris several times a week, they were able to raise the water level a couple of inches above the dam setting.  It appears they are building a second structure just a short way downstream from the dam.  I understand the town has hired a trapper to try to reduce the beaver population on the lake.

One morning I watched a beaver searching the shoreline for saplings to cut down and take away for winter food.  At one point it stopped to take a break and give itself a bath. 
Beaver on the Prowl

It climbed up on rock just below the waterline and spent several minutes scrubbing its fur all over, head to toe.  I took a couple of videos, but the resolution after uploading to the blog is so low you can't see what it is doing very well.

After its morning ablutions it swam around the shore again, reconnoitering for future logging trips.

Back on August 31 I posted pictures of hundreds of tiny double-decker spider webs;  this week I saw a spider in one of them and was able to identify it:  a Bowl and Doily Weaver Spider.
Bowl and Doily Weaver Spider

This spider is less than a quarter of an inch long.  In its two-layer web, the top web is the bowl, while the lower web is the doily. 

The spider hangs out on the doily waiting for a customer to come along and land in the upper web which is not sticky.  The spider then walks on threads strung above the doily and reaches up from below to grab the unsuspecting guest, and, lunch-time!  The two webs also provide protection from predators (and photographers).

The team of people working to continue to protect Lake Wicwas have been very busy this fall as well, including working with very generous land owners and the state to conserve three more tracks of land.  The Lake Wicwas Assocation, working with the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, applied for a grant from the state Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) fund to ensure there will be no cost to the landowners in the process.  On Monday the ARM committee toured on-land and from the water to assess the properties. 
Aquatic Resource Management Committee Assessing the Properties Planned for Conservation

I am optimistic they will see the value of these important wetland properties. 
One of the Properties to be Conserved

The leaves around Lake Wicwas are approaching their peak color;  they will probably reach it by Columbus day, so it will be a great week to do some leaf-peeping. 

Red Maple

Although not nearly as obvious, even the White Pine trees drop leaves this time of year.
Photo Credit:  Nick Molloy

And the forest-floor plants are producing fall bounty too.

Fruit on an Indian Cucumber-root

The rain and wind on Saturday brought down some of the early-turning leaves, which are now painting the trails and the lake with red and orange.

Beware:  If you have any pretty maples along your shore line, you may want to protect them from this guy!

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