Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015

Oh, the first hot summer nights of the year!  Those nights when the windows stay open and the music of the night fills the house.  Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Sarah Brightman portray it well:

Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender 
(Click to listen)    

Add the scent of summer rain wafting in the open windows from an evening thunderstorm and the light of a half-moon shining through open blinds, and it is enchanting.

The performance begins well before sunset when the Tree Frog sings the prelude;  one soloist starts, and within seconds, dozens (maybe hundreds) of frog calls are resonating across the lake.

By the time darkness sets in the full complement of voices has joined the fray.  The long, loud call of the American Toad is distinctive as it carries over great distances.  Later at night the Bull Frog adds its resounding bass line.  (Hint - each of the above are links to their respective call - if you click them all at once you'll get an idea of what it sounds like on a hot summer night!)

On top of all this amphibious racket, the hollow call of the loon can be heard lofting from unknown stations on the lake.  I wonder if they have established a nest at this point.  Sometimes the Barred Owl joins into the chorus, but it was absent this week;  perhaps is it on tour, serenading another audience around the lake.

When the sun rose the next morning and sent the nocturnal animals to bed, plenty of daytime life became apparent around the lake, including a couple of large birds.  A female merganser has been on the lake much later than usual;  one day it decided our dock was the perfect resting place.

 After a nap and a yawn,

it was on its way.

On a warm summer afternoon, looking for a cooler spot, I took a run along the Red Trail that passes behind Crockett's Ledge west of Lake Wicwas, and saw that the Meredith Conservation Committee has been working to ensure the trails are kept in good condition, and that soil erosion will be controlled - they had installed several water-bars along the trail.
Erosion control on the Red Trail

These were made on-site using Cedar trees harvested right in the area;  they help prevent water from rushing straight down the trail, washing the path out and sending soil and silt into the lake.  A great thank-you to all those who work so hard so that we can enjoy the wonderful natural areas they protect, resplendent with natural beauty:

Lady Slippers along the trail approaching the White Mountain Ledge

As of today, the summer weather has taken a vacation, but it will return soon enough, bringing more nocturnal entertainment.  Maybe next time I'll hear the howl of coyotes in the night.
The coyotes are losing their warm winter coats

Listen to the music of the night

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