Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

September is here, but it sure has felt like summer this past week.  It has been hot and humid with calm days interspersed with summer showers and thunderstorms.

Mist Rising from an Afternoon Thunderstorm
But signs of the shortening days are evident nonetheless, with a few early trees telling us that summer is getting long in the tooth.
Signs of Summer Ending
Docks, rafts, and boats are already starting to dissapear from the lake, though we were able to get the sailboat in for few sails before the end of the season.
Sailing on Lake Wicwas

After a lengthy hiatus this summer, a couple of osprey have returned to fish at Lake Wicwas.  I saw this pair circling over the lake one morning, and have heard their calls a couple of times since then.

A few hundred feet below the osprey, I found this little Wood Frog peeking out from under a rock.  It must have felt pretty safe there as it was happy to just sit there, and didn't leap away as I took some pictures.  Usually these little guys are very skittish and nearly impossible to catch.
Wood Frog

Wood Frogs are one the rare amphibians that can partially freeze during the winter months when hibernating.  Most amphibians find a spot well below the frost line, but the Wood Frog forms chemicals in its cells that allow it to partially freeze.  As winter approaches, it accumulates urea and glucose in its tissues which reduces the amount of ice that forms in its cells, protecting them from damage.

They may have evolved this property to allow them to hibernate just under the leaf litter in the forest rather than deep down, so they can emerge early in the spring and be the first to vernal pools to start breeding.  This ability may give them an advantage in avoiding predators during their mating period.

Someone sent me some amazing pictures a photographer had taken of rain drops on plants that were acting as lenses, refracting scenes behind them to form the most beautiful and unusual images.  It inspired me to try it, so after one of those morning showers while the raindrops were still on the plants I gave it a shot.  It will take quite a while to learn the technique, and probably a different camera to achieve the results they had achieved, but I got a couple of shots that captured the idea.  The curved surface of the water focuses the distant scene so it is reduced in size - as well as inverted - and imaged onto the camera's recording surface.

It was a real summer labor day weekend - here's hoping this isn't the last summer sunset!

1 comment: