Friday, October 22, 2010

Cold Day, Warm Colors

Brrr! It barely got above 40 today, with a brisk wind and reluctant sun. I was tempted to pile my lap with pussycats and curl up for a day on the couch. But I needed some exercise and a nature fix, so I headed to Moreau Lake State Park for a walk along Mud Pond, then through the woods to the lake. As these photos show, the air may have been cold, but the colors in the woods were so bright they seemed to give off heat.

Despite the chill, the Witch Hazel blooms were fully unfurled, shining like little suns against the dark shade of the woods.

Even though we've had lots of rain the last few weeks, Mud Pond is still so low I could walk all around it right down by the water. Normally, the water would come right up to the steeply rising banks. There were lots of beaver tracks in the soft mud and newly dug holes in the banks. I wonder if the pond is so low that the beaver lodge is unusable so the beavers are making their homes in the banks.

There's always a nice sandy beach along the north shore of Moreau Lake, and lucky for me, the sun came out to warm me nicely as I walked along this stretch.

Phragmites is a nasty invasive plant, but it does have its charms. This stand of its tassel-topped canes shows just how briskly the wind was blowing.

This lonely Canada Goose startled me as much as I startled it. I didn't even notice it resting on shore beside a beached log until I came abreast of it, when it awkwardly limped into the lake and swam crookedly away. It was obviously injured and probably not long for this world. Sadly, I was reminded of the dead Osprey I found along this same shore just a year ago that had died from injuries inflicted by another raptor.

There were lots of geese and other waterfowl on both Mud Pond and Moreau Lake. I should have brought my binoculars, for as this sign shows, the whole watershed here is considered a wonderful area for birding. (If you click twice on this photo, you might be able to read it.)

Except for the Pied-billed Grebe, I've actually seen or heard every one of these birds along these shores or within these woods. Plus many more not pictured here, including Bald Eagles and Hooded Mergansers. And I saw a Belted Kingfisher dive down toward the water today. I would have thought the kingfishers might have headed south by now. But then, why should they? The fish they eat are still here, and the water, though cold, is not frozen.

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