Monday, May 28, 2012

Two Days in Eden

If it weren't for the fact that I worked so hard I nearly dropped, I might have thought I'd been transported back to Eden this weekend.  Pyramid Lake always has that effect on me.

A pristine wilderness lake where the call of the loon echoes from encircling mountains and every breeze carries the fragrance of pine, this beautiful piece of Adirondack heaven is home to Pyramid Life Center, a place of spiritual retreat that is open to all.  But first we have to sweep up the mouse dirt and fix leaking pipes and put out the swimming dock and repair Adirondack chairs and carry the kayaks down to the shore and a thousand other tasks to ready the center for summer.

 I've been helping out every opening weekend for over 20 years, and this weekend we were blessed with perfect weather.  Yes, I worked many hours each day, but I still found time to slip out for a paddle around the lake, rising at dawn to do so.  This is the most beautiful time of day, before the wind rises to riffle that serene expanse.  I took a few photos.

 Saturday morning's few puffy clouds lent a marbled appearance to lake and sky.

 Bunchberry and ferns decorated the base of a tree at the water's edge.

 In the marshy end of the lake, dewy webs were arrayed among the Sweet Gale and blueberry shrubs.

 This orb-weaver's web captured the light of the early morning sun.

 The bright-green mouth, yellow throat, and oversize tympanum suggest that this is a Mink Frog.
Update:  Ah, but the stripes, rather than splotches, encircling the legs 
indicate that this is a Green Frog.  Very hard to tell these two frogs apart.

 Since I found no droplets on any other surrounding plants, I'm guessing these 
Marsh Cinquefoil leaves are undergoing the process of "guttation,"  whereby 
internal root pressure forces fluid out of the pores at the edges of the leaves. 

 Perhaps a similar process is what causes Round-leaved Sundew to exude 
sticky fluid from the tips of its fine hairs, attracting insects who mistake 
that fluid for nectar and are caught and devoured by the plant.
Update:  Nope, no guttation going on here.  Those
drops are produced by glands at the tips of the hairs.

 Sunday morning dawned bright and clear, with not a breath of wind to stir that mirroring surface.

 What looks like mist on the water is actually a fine coating of pine pollen.

 While I sat to gaze at this peaceful scene,  a loon swam across the little island's dark reflection.

 Each morning, from the tallest tree in the swampy end of the lake, this bird sent his clear whistled
call, "Pee Pe-e-e-w," over and over again.  I couldn't get a clear enough photo to attempt an ID.
Any guesses?

I am grateful that this Yellow Swallowtail was so busy among the Dame's 
Rocket that I could get close enough to take a clear photo.  Lovely!


catharus said...

Lovely, sacred moments in the early morning stillness of the lake!
Based on your written description of the call of the flycatcher, I'd guess it's an Eastern Wood Peewee.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your good guess, catharus, but I know the Peewee's call with its uprising "w-e-e,"and this wasn't it. My bird's second syllable rhymed with "you" instead of "we." Maybe "wit-chew" would be a better alliteration. Plus, this bird was robin-sized if not larger.

suep said...

The biggest flycatcher is the Great Crested Flycatcher. Besides its harsh vocalizations, it also has a "dawn song" which sounds like,
"we'-you, weh"...?

Ellen Rathbone said...

Yep - pewee. Eastern Wood.

Lovely pics - as always. I remember all the dew-covered spider webs when you took me out there - a good place for webs.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Okay...maybe not the pewee, then! (As I read thru your comments.) :)

catharus said...

I'm not what else to make of it, without hearing or seeing it. While GC Flycatcher certainly is robin-sized, the color doesn't match with that of the picture. Maybe Sue will have to stop by.... let us know when you figure it out! :-)

Raining Iguanas said...

My sons were fortunate to have experienced the beauty of Pyramid many years ago. Your spectacular photographs refreshed the memory and wonder that lake provided.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Dear readers, thanks for weighing in on the bird in question. Great Crested Flycatcher probably comes closest, although none of its recorded dawn songs sound exactly like the ones I heard from this bird.

Raining Iguanas, how wonderful that your sons had the chance to experience Pyramid Lake. I count my love affair with all things Adirondack to my attending a retreat there over 20 years ago.

hikeagiant2 said...

Crystal drops on the leaves of the cinquefoil and blooms of the sundew are quite wonderful - what a soul refreshing weekend! :-)