Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012

Meredith hosted the fishing derby this weekend, and there was plenty of activity out on Lake Wicwas for the big event.  Fisher-people were scattered all over the lake, including a well-equipped village on the north side of Bryant Island.  They had quite a group, with huts, vehicles, and high tech equipment, and they were having good luck, catching perch, pickerel and black crappie.

They even had air support!

The pilot flew in Barnstead to bring reinforcements.  He took off while I was there, soared up high, then veered back and gave us a low altitude flyover. 

I kind of like the low-tech style of ice fishing, bringing out the supplies via sled.  This bob house was my favorite, complete with American flag and a wood stove.

The ice was good enough for skating again, which made for quick travel around the lake.  How crazy is that, to be able to skate on the entire lake in the middle of February?  Here's a nice look at the newest house on the lake, which has been in progress for well over a year now. 
Back on the nature-side, we took a walk through the blue trails in the Hamlin area and explored some of the beaver ponds.  The paths are pretty icy from all the melt and freeze cycles. 
Beaver Pond near the Original Blue Loop Train

On one of the beaver ponds, the rising water from the beavers enlarging their dam is evident in recently killed hemlock trees along the shore line of the pond.  Most of the shoreline looks like this.
Hemlocks Killed by Rising Water Levels

As many know, one of the bridges has been washed out, but the stream crossing is easy with the low water.  It will be a different story come spring.
Bridge out on Blue Trail

From a different bridge, water swirling around the rocks had created an artistic ice pattern.

Back closer to home, the animals have taken away the half of the deer backbone with the skull, leaving only the rear half.
Ribs and Pelvis

This is all that's left of the original site - the crows eventually even went after the intestines, and now they hack violently at the few remaining bones, trying to get at the marrow.

After dark we had another visit from a flying squirrel.  This time I couldn't resist going out and scaring it off the railing to see if they really can fly, and I wasn't disappointed.  In fact, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it.  When it jumped off, it dropped straight down for a few feet to pick up air speed.  Then it spread its "wings" and soared in a perfect parabolic arc right across the yard toward the lake.  It flew straight towards a tree, and about ten feet away it pulled up, gaining maybe five feet of altitude to reduce its speed, and timed the physics perfectly so that it land gently right on the trunk of a tree.  It soon returned and we got to see an encore performance.  How did a mammal learn that skill and gain that capability?
Flying Squirrel

Preparing for Take-off

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