Today was a beautiful fall day after the chill and damp of the past week, so this afternoon I went for a wander and ended up on the shore of one of our lakes. I was fascinated by this spot, where old logs in the water had turned into tiny islands – on the right hand side of the photo above you can see one, where a fallen log in the shallow water at the lake’s edge supports a whole community of moss, grasses, bracken fern, pitcher plants, leatherleaf, and maple seedlings.
I picked my way down to the water’s edge and I must have sat there for at least half an hour. It’s amazing what you can see when you just sit still and watch. Several frogs plopped into the water as I approached, but I managed to spot a couple more who’d stayed put and identified them as green frogs. A drab-looking dragonfly buzzed past a couple times – which surprised me, since we’ve already had a couple hard freezes, but then dragonflies are pretty good thermoregulators for insects – and it looked like it may have been laying eggs on the surface of the wet logs, but I don’t know enough about dragonflies to be sure. A pair of painted turtles appeared under the surface of the clear water, and I realized after watching them for a minute that they were courting, the smaller one (the male) wiggling his claws in the face of the bigger one (the female). I’d never seen wild turtles doing that before, only our captive ones back in Georgia. A kingfisher rattled around. A chipmunk ran down the length of one of the logs, tail held straight up. Fish jumped. Nuthatches yanked.
Back to the grad school grind tomorrow morning… but this was a nice break.