Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013

Late July already - the summer is flying by as usual.  We found a quintessential New England summer scene from the waters of Lake Wicwas yesterday:  Harvesting the field.

The water temperature has cooled down from last week, but it is still pretty warm.  Last week during the warm spell it reach 86 degrees near the surface.  I have not seen any cyano-bacteria blooms, but there have been reports of them.  Right now in the lake there are many small green globules floating everywhere in the lake that may be clumps of algae.
Possible Algae Flocculation

Perhaps the water quality experts can identify these for me at next week's Lake Wicwas Association annual meeting.  We'll get a full report on the lake water quality at the meeting.

I noticed another aquatic flower floating in the lake this week - a tiny yellow flower.

It is kept afloat by a seven-pointed star pattern of its leaves, and suspended in the water below is a soft network of roots (the weeds trailing to the lower left in the picture below).

It appears that the mother plant releases these when it is ready to send off its seeds to propagate itself, as they are free floating and not attached to the lake bottom.

Back on shore, I have seen many times the cones of the Alder tree after they have matured, but for the first time I noticed green cones just emerging.

The alder is interesting in that it is a deciduous tree, yet it has cones like an evergreen.  The cones are the female flower containing the seed, and they remain on the tree long after releasing their seeds, which is why they are so noticable in the fall and winter when all the leaves are gone.  This mature cone is on the same tree, left over from 2012.

Reading about the Alder tree, I learned some interesting facts.  The Native Americans used Alder bark for medicinal purposes;  we now know the bark contains salicin, which the body turns into salicylic acid -  or asprin.  Also the wood is a favorite of electric guitars manufacturers.  According to Wikipedia,  Fender has used Alder wood for their bodies of their Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars since the 1950s!
Fender Stratocaster

Let's not tell them we have Adler trees in New Hampshire.   ; )    Long live beautiful summer days at Lake Wicwas!

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