Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17, 2016

Back on May first we had a late frost which coated the black cherry buds with a layer of ice.
May 1, 2016

At the time I wondered if it would have a detrimental affect on the Lake Wicwas cherry crop as it did on the New England peach crop.  But no, these hardy cherries came through it just fine.
Black Cherry survived the late frost

They are starting to change color from green to red to black, and soon the fox and bear will be here taking advantage of the bountiful crop.  Birds will eat their share too, but even before the fruit is ripe the insects start to dig in. 
Green Stink Bug (Acrosternum hilare)

This green stink bug has some amazing camouflage to help it hide from predators while it sucks juices out of the still-green fruit.

I did my mid-summer weed watch tour on a segment of Lake Wicwas this week, and I was happy to find nothing out of the ordinary.  Our Lake Host program continues to be successful in keeping milfoil and other invasive weeds out of the lake through education and boat inspections.  Far from being a chore, the process of weed watching is always an interesting event, as poking along the shores of a lake with a careful eye always reveals interesting sights.   Some of the more visible sights are signs of the beaver.  At one point I saw where a beaver had cut off some saplings to bring the tender wood back to their lodge.

I also saw their attempts to increase the size of their kingdom by stuffing all kinds of debris in the top of the dam to raise the lake level.
Beavers are genetically programmed to stop any flowing water

An unexpected sight was to see a beaver swimming along through the weeds in the middle of the day.
A beaver swims among the weeds

I also caught a glimpse of a muskrat along the shore, but it eluded the camera.

On an exposed point were the left over shells from some aquatic carnivore - probably muskrat, racoon, or mink - that enjoyed a meal of fresh water mussels at a table with a view.
Someone enjoyed a fresh seafood dinner

A weed watch tour is almost certain to reveal a red-winged blackbird chirping from the top of a reed or a branch hanging over the lake. 
Red-winged blackbird on an alder tree

Of course there are always pretty flowers growing along the shore as well as in the lake.
Yellow Pond Lilly

Unidentified wetland flower
Swamp Milkweed

I didn't see any osprey on this tour but I did see a large turkey vulture circling above me.
Turkey Vulture

If you're wondering why the weed watcher program is important to the health of our lakes and our economy, take a look at this news story that WMUR aired on Chronicle which shows the sad story of what happens when milfoil gets into a lake:  The Milfoil Battle

If you want to get in on the action and do some weed watching of your own, just let me know and we'll get you started.  Who knows, maybe you'll find your own secret blueberry bush loaded with berries along some hidden shoreline.  And even if you don't, you're sure to see something interesting and beautiful along the shores of a New Hampshire lake.
Goldfinch in its summer colors

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