I can’t help but be hypnotized by these graceful flyers.
Autumn is definitely here as temperatures continue to cool off. This morning the sky cast a wintry pall over all. Even so, activity on the pond continues to increase every day now and there’s quite a cacophony going on. The geese pictured here have decided to fly over Red Mill Pond and head over to Standish, or Globe Mill. All this in spite of the loud calls from their brethren to come and join them.
I took a little artistic license by pushing up the contrast in this picture. Even though there are seven geese, it’s almost like a time-lapse photo of the same bird in flight. In order to get the full effect, I recommend clicking on the picture to see the full-size version…
The evening before last, a large front came through. It rained and stormed through the night – not violently but steadily and evenly with purpose. And the next morning the rain stopped, and the wind blew. A majestic grey sky dominated the heavens. Massive clouds, these tall ships with all sail set, forced their way from the south, scraping far above them, threatening all below – but, for naught! For all their bluster, by noon all was calm.
A neat line of puffy cumulus clouds rowed by as if nothing ever happened. By mid-afternoon – nothing but clear blue sky. And by evening, the purity of the lone setting sunset, with the tiniest spec of a cloud in the sky as a long distant reminder of things…
Sadly, I have been watching this all summer long. There has been no respite from algae bloom after algae bloom after algae bloom. The pond is just choking in the stuff! I haven’t posted any pictures in awhile because it’s so bad. Take a look at this one:
It is absolutely disgusting. It sticks to your canoe or kayak. It smells horrible. It covers everything and it’s everywhere except for the very center of the pond where the river runs its fastest.
The other day, I observed some of this goop being formed. I always assumed that algae starts its life on top of the water. So it came as a complete surprise when I saw a large dollop of the stuff suddenly “bloop” up to the surface. I saw the whole thing happen. I could see a heavy dark mossy clump adhering to some pebbles on the bottom of the pond. Apparently buoyancy must have taken over because it suddenly detached itself and bobbed up to the surface. Once on top of the water, its sides drooped down and I could see long tendrils or roots extending from its underbelly. It reminded me of a jellyfish! I witnessed this process repeat itself several times.
I am now of the opinion that most of this stuff grows on the bottom of the pond in the shallow areas where excess nutrients from runoff and fertilizer coalesce. Once these clumps start floating, more algae grows on top of them. They can even join together to make a large “skin.” Furthermore, these rafts can get so big and thick that they support leaves, twigs, feathers and all kinds of debris – truly disturbing.
I just wish there was something we could do about it.
Although some people might not care for geese I actually like them. This is a picture taken against the west bank of the pond just north of the masonic temple. The bank is steep and there’s plenty of shade from low-hanging branches. Here the geese are wondering whether they ought to be concerned about a bright red kayak drifting towards them. Notice they are actual standing in the water there.
I paddled up to the north end of the pond where the water fowl really love to hang out. I could see a half-dozen or so cranes wading about by the reeds. It is extremely shallow here and my kayak got stuck in the silt several times. The cranes are quite skittish but not nearly as touchy as the herons. I took some pictures of the herons but, they didn’t come out.
I am fairly pleased with my pictures however, if you look at them, you’ll notice an eerie hue about the birds – especially around the color white. I believe this has to do with “chromatic aberration” from my camera lens. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about that for right now. Maybe I can try and save up for a better lens one day?