Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011

Fall hasn't completely abandoned the Lakes Region, but it's getting closer every week.  There is still nice color in the trees, but it's mostly yellows on  the beech and oak.  This morning I took a ride at sunrise (it seems like it's getting later every week) down to the boat landing to get a look at Crockett's ledge, and it is still quite spectacular.
Sunrise from the Boat Landing

The sight of the ledge was so nice that I rode up to the yellow trail, left my bike, and hiked up to the top of the ledge.  The view was equally spectacular, but diametrically opposed.  Where from the east the sun reflected brightly off the trees, from the west, I was looking at the shaded side of everything, with the light reflecting off the water and the valley fog.  As I watched in the still morning (it was so quiet I could hear the geese arguing with each other way up at the opposite end of the lake) I reflected as well - on how perspective has such a great impact on how differently people can experience the exact same event.
Sunrise from Crockett's Ledge

Returning home, this bright white birch, which has lost all its leaves, stood out against the yellow beech trees. 
White Birch Amongst the Beech
Earlier, on the way out I had caught a beaver swimming in the cove along Chemung road, and also saw the mist rising up from the swamp in the Chemung Forest. 
Chemung State Forest

There has been a lot of beaver activity as they, like all the animals, prepare for winter.  Their lodges are growing with fresh wood, and there are many new tree-cuts all around the shore as they collect food for their winter.  They cut the small, tender trees and drag them under their lodge where they stick them in the mud, and will later eat their bark during their long winter season.
Beaver Lodge

One afternoon this week I had two avian encounters.  First I heard a wild flurry of birds squawking and calling - the tell-tale sign of bird-of-prey in the vicinity.  It didn't take long to find the source of the commotion, as red-tail hawk moved from one tall tree to another with only two flaps of its tremendous wings.  But its tormentors weren't satisfied, and soon the hawk flew off with an entourage of jays, crows, and myriad smaller birds following along like annoying paparazzi.

The second event was more startling.  While I heard the hawk scene from a good distance, the ruffled grouse made me jump when it took off just a few yards from the trail with its loud flurry of wings beating the air.  As kids we called them "helicopter birds" because that's what they sound like when they take wing.

We also stopped by Meredith Center to check out the progress there.  The new building is now roofed and sided, but there was no activity today.
Child's Park

On the way we stopped by the dam to check on the water flow - it is still a rushing torrent.  There was also a family there fishing, and a pretty maple visible from the road.
Lake Wicwas Dam

We haven't seen any unusual migratory birds yet, but there is a continuous flow of mallards going by.

And here's perhaps the last view of the bright side of Lake Wicwas for 2011.
Crockett's Ledge

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