Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Unexpected Pleasure

Wow! What an unexpected gift of warmth this late in the season. Today was as balmy as yesterday was frigid, and I'll bet you can guess how I spent the afternoon. I had meant to put my canoe in the basement, but I sure am glad it was still tied to my car. So off I went to the river. Not a cloud in the sky and only a wisp of wind now and then, perfect for just ambling along under the banks, where the sunlight danced in reflected ripples on the rocks and the trunks of trees.

I noticed a lot of saplings had been gnawed right off, and soon I came to a pile of fresh-cut limbs arranged against the bank. Must be a beaver family is starting to build a new home.

Remember that tiny fluffy fly I showed a few posts back? Well, here is a clump of Wooly Alder Aphids at another stage of development. At first, I wondered if this was a lichenous growth, until I looked close and saw that the clump was made up of tiny writhing creatures.

Here's a closer shot of some of the individual aphids.

How quickly the sun heads down these late fall afternoons! It seems I had hardly been on the river an hour before the surrounding mountains began to shadow the opposite bank. But today, because it was so warm, even the shadows seemed lovely. I saw another paddler out there, taking in this exquisite scene.


suep said...

Only another paddler understands the positive yearning one feels upon looking out at beautiful smooth water, like the river was today -!
After seeing the river late this afternoon in SGF, I went directly home and loaded up the kayak!
and your blog just inspires me to get out there too.

Lindsey said...

Wow, the incredibly deep orange of that once young tree!

I have only recently been acquainted with wooly alder aphids, and they have to be one of the weirdest things I've seen in nature by far. I had one land on my finger not too long ago and was afraid to even breath slightly near it, they seem as if one breath from a human could kill them dead.

Carolyn H said...

Weather here in southern PA was great yesterday too--a real bonus day to the season. I was out rambling about in shirt sleeves. I love your shadow shot. That's a really good one!

Carolyn h.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Sue, I hope you had a great paddle. There's no sensation like that of gliding across smooth water through a landscape like the ones we have around us.

Lindsey, thanks for your comment. Those aphids are indeed fragile. I tried to separate a clump to isolate an individual, and all that fluffy stuff collapsed into a mess of waxy gunk. Sorry, little bug!

Hello, Carolyn, enjoy the balmy weather while we may. I loved that shadow shot, too. Thanks.