Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scenes from a Sunday Paddle

 The Hudson River where it runs behind an island near Moreau
Sweet and light:  that's how to describe the air today, refreshingly cooler and clearer and dryer than it's been for what seems ages.   I hadn't been on the river for weeks, so that's where I headed this afternoon, after spending the morning with my friend Sue walking along the Feeder Canal in Hudson Falls (an outing that deserves a post of its own and which will have one soon).    I was a little afraid the river would be crowded with boaters and jet skis on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, but when I entered the river at my own secret launching place, there was not another soul in sight, and the water lay mirror-still below forested rocky banks.

Due to inclement weather and raging high water, I had missed catching many of my favorite riverside flowers in bloom this summer, but there was no missing these Cardinal Flowers today, blazing away with their blooms of super-saturated red.

 Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Neither were the Buttonbushes hiding their beauty beneath a bushel, but were bursting forth in explosive bloom.

 Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Patches of Pickerelweed were blooming en masse, lifting spikes of splendid purple.

 Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

I was lucky enough to catch the Marsh St. Johnswort during its few moments of afternoon bloom, its dainty pink flowers nesting within leaves that were outlined in deep rose.

 Marsh St. Johnswort (Hypericum virginicum)

Well now, finding this solitary Small Floating Bladderwort along this stretch of the Hudson was quite a surprise.  I have found many of these state-listed rare bladderworts in the Hudson below the Sherman Island Dam, which is downstream from where I was paddling today, but I have never found them here, above the Sherman Island Dam, or at any other site upstream.  How did this one -- and there was only one -- get here?  I suppose it could have been carried to this catchment between the Spier Falls and Sherman Island dams by boat trailers that had entered both catchments.  At any rate, it was quite a find!

 Small Floating Bladderwort (Utricularia radiata)

This poor male Calico Pennant dragonfly was lucky that I found him while he was still alive, although I didn't know he was still alive until I started to untangle him from the spider web.  Then he began to struggle anew and get even more sticky web on his beautifully patterned wings.

After I worked him free of the snare, I could see that his wings were still tethered to his abdomen by filaments of web.  He flapped about ineffectually in the bottom of my canoe, and it became obvious to me that he would never take flight unless I completely rid him of the remnants of web.  Of course, he would not sit still for this delicate operation, but I did manage to pull off the rest of the surprisingly strong pieces of sticky web.  Then he didn't stick around to thank me but was off in a flash.  O happy day!


The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds like a wonderful paddle, and nice plants to see. Thanks for rescuing the dragonfly!

suep said...

Glad to see you made it into the water that day !

Cathy said...

How lovely and tender.
As I just said at Northview . . . I love a happy ending.