Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Field Naturalists go exploring

Today, under the parting of heavy clouds that revealed a few hints of blue sky, the Adirondack Field Naturalists group met for a perfectly sublime paddling trip along Hoel Pond and on to the connecting ponds known as Turtle and Slang. From a near placid Hoel Pond we observed a common loon with young. As we entered into Turtle Pond the echoing of another pair of common loon calling out a warning seemed to bounce off the towering white pines. We regrouped and began a "botany paddle" along the pond's shoreline. Species such as Pitcher pant, sundew, marsh skullcap, pipewort, a couple species of bur-reed(Sparganium), Northern bugleweed(Lycopus uniflorus), and several other aquatic plants grab our attention as we lazily paddled along.

This Purple bladderwort (Utricularia purpurea) caught my eye just before we entered into the the shallow channel that connects us into Slang Pond:

After a quick nibble of food one of the crew spots a Double-crested cormorant(immature) hanging out on the shore...watching the canoe traffic go by.
With a cooling breeze blowing down from the north and darkening skies we reverse our course and head back to the cars. But right, you guessed it...the rain caught us in mid-paddle. Fortunately we could rest and find shelter inside the concrete "tunnel" spillway that connects Hoel Pond to Turtle Pond. After a few minutes wait we venture back out and the gods shine down on us and temporarily clear the skies.
8 participants...still drying out...all are now recounting the few great hours we spent together birding, botanizing, dodging the rain, and learning more about what's out in these Adirondack wilds.

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