Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, 2016

It sure is dry all around the Lakes Region right now.  The drought isn't as severe here as farther south but still, everything is brown and parched, and the small streams feeding the lake have gone dry.
Dry stream beds are the norm

Lake Winnipesaukee is a foot and a half below full pool, and a fisherman told me Lake Massabesic in Manchester is four feet low and the boat ramps are closed.  Lake Wicwas has been very fortunate that - between good management of the dam and the assistance of the beavers - the lake has been high all summer, and as of yesterday is just one inch below full level.
The level at the dam is barely below full pool

The beaver have helped us in two ways.  First, all summer long they have been stuffing every manner of debris in the dam.  (Note all the vegetation they've added in the picture above.)

In addition to raising the water level until the town comes and removes the mess, they also plug up all the leaks that every dam has, further reducing the outflow from the lake (beavers are genetically programed to impede any running water they find).  The other contribution they've provided is a dam they created where Blake Brook enters Lake Wicwas (see August 21 post).  This has raised the water level behind the dam two or three feet, impounding a good reservoir of water that continues to feed the lake.  I expect we are also blessed with many springs that supply the lake as well, as it's hard to believe the small trickle of visible inflow would keep the lake full without other sources.

I was on duty for a morning session of Lake Hosting on Saturday and I went early to watch the sun rise from Crockett's Ledge.  It had the makings of a beautiful morning, with a full moon shining through a thin layer of fog to light the trail on the way up.  When I arrived the fog was low and the mountains were rising above.
Ladd and Leavitt Mountains rising above the fog

The double hump of Gunstock and Belknap mountains

But within minutes the fog thickened and rose

and soon obscured any view.
Lakes and mountains are out there somewhere

Still, it was calm and serene, with birds starting to sing, and there was a little early foliage to enjoy.

Back at the boat ramp the lake remained pretty much fog-bound.
Looking back up at Crockett's Ledge

But the sun to the east was working its magic.
Fog burning off over the Chemung Forest

By 7:30 it had cleared and unveiled a perfect, warm, sunny September day.
Fog lifts off the lake

In the afternoon the goldenrod was radiant in the rich autumn sun, calling to a wide array of pollen-collecting insects to amass their reserves of pollen.
Goldenrod in full bloom


And Bumblebees
Nice to see them all sharing the bounty of the fall flowers.

Finally, on a late-afternoon walk I spotted the elusive Hermit Thrush deep in the forest, and very skittish.

A Hermit Thrush in a rare stationary moment
This is a bird I hear often but rarely see, in keeping with it's name.  It is one of the last birds to migrate, but nonetheless, it will soon be off on its travels south, as autumn hints at its impending arrival to the lakes.
Red Maples are the first to change color, hinting at what's to come

No comments:

Post a Comment