Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7, 2011

No activity observed around Lake Wicwas that can compare with the recent moose sighting, but there is plenty going on this week.  First, all the rain has brought the lake level back up to flood levels; as of today, the lake level at the dam is 12 inches above normal, with a mad rush of water going over the dam and on to Lake Winnesquam.  All of the streams are flowing rapidly, pouring more water into the lake, but it should hold steady if we don't get more rain tomorrow.  I ran up to the beaver dam on the blue trail in the Hamlin area, and the water is right at the top of their dam with a bit of water flowing over, but it is holding so far.

All the rain has created an absolute boom in the mushroom crop.  There are large fields of them everywhere, including some of the largest mushrooms I've seen here, in addition to some with brilliant colors.  I'm glad I don't like to eat mushrooms; otherwise I'd be tempted to pick some, which is dangerous because many edible mushrooms have very similar looking poisonous counterparts!

When it stops raining, the spiders come out to hunt - I just happened to be looking at the web of a black and yellow garden spider when a insect flew into it, and I got to see the home owner come down and eat the large bug alive.  It detects the arrival of its prey by sensing the motion of something struggling in its web, and it comes down to see what it caught. 
Black and Yellow Garden Spider
Lunch Time
It's not the variety of spider that wraps up its prey and saves it for later, but rather it just eats it when it's fresh and tasty! You can just make out the body and wings of the fly in the spider's mouth in the picture above.

An unusual sighting was finding an adult eastern newt on the forest floor - these are commonly seen in the water, with the less mature red variety usually seen in the woods.
Mature Eastern Newt
Immature Eastern Newt
I have heard the plieated wood pecker calling a lot recently, and found this evidence of its work, with the telltale large wood chips scattered about.

Also, our loon chick continues to grow and gain its independence.  We have seen it spending time by itself, with its parents nowhere to be seen.  But after a while, an adult comes by to check on it, and the chick swims quickly to join its parent.  It kind of looks like it is getting its first opportunity to take the car keys and go out for a cruise on the town by itself!

I recently heard from a fellow nature watcher who lives near the top of Arbutus Hill.  She reports that there is a two-year old bear cub in her vicinity!  She also has seen a fisher cat, and lots of coyote - something I have seen only once near the lake - perhaps they like the habitat farther up on the hill.  She has also observed lots of deer, particularly near the apple orchards.  Thank you so much for reporting on what's happening in your neck of the woods!  (No pun intended.)

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