Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3, 2015

The activity level is accelerating rapidly around the lake now that spring is finally arriving.  I found my first wildflower of 2015, a Mayflower (Trailing Arbutus) up on Crockett's Ledge.
Trailing Arbutus (Mayflower - Epigaea repens)

It was at the edge of the woods on the ledge where it enjoys lots of sun, which must explain why it was a few days early, arriving on April 28th!

The second wildflower I saw was a new one for me, a Coltsfoot. 
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

This member of the aster family is a pretty hardy plant, as there are dozens of them pushing up through the sand plowed up all winter long on the edge of Wicwood Shores Rd. 

At first I thought they were dandelions, but unlike dandelions, the coltsfoot displays its blossoms first; the leaves come later.

Higher up off the ground, the Red Maples are really showing their colors now. 
Red Maple Buds

And flitting around in the tops of those maples have been large flocks of an early spring arrival, the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

These hyperactive creatures are constantly hopping from branch to branch, darting out to catch a bug, and back again.  They barely sit in one spot long enough to snap a picture!

I'm thrilled to see so many of them, making an early dent in the bug population, and yes, they really do snatch those nasty buggers right of the air!
Locked on and going in for the kill

In the other direction, down at lake level, the beavers are going great-guns too. 
An evening swim in the rain

They are swimming in the lake every evening, and are already depositing branches along the top of the dam, trying to curtail outflow from the lake.  They are piling mud and debris all over the shore line, and bare sticks, left behind after being gnawed clean of every last bit of bark and cambium, adorn the lake bottom.

Ringed-neck duck and beaver enjoying a rainy evening together

One evening this beaver was sharing its cove with a solitary Ring-necked duck. 

When they detect me on the shore - which they always do - they let me know their displeasure with a loud smack of their tail on the water. 
Beaver Alert
Click the video:

Oh, and let's not miss one of the greatest sounds of spring and summer - the Spring Peepers!

(Yes, those are also raindrops you hear.)

One final note:  the Meredith sculpture walk is about to be updated.  If you haven't seen all these great works of art, including three by Meredith's own Steve Hayden (one of which is the iconic sailboat in scenic park) you should do so soon. 
"Black Sailboat" by David Little & Steven Hayden

Fred Huntress was in town this week starting to make spaces for new creations.  There's not much time left to get one more look!
Fred Huntress and "Railing Sleeper Bear Club" by artist Justin Gordon

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