Friday, November 11, 2011

October notes

Some interesting things are going on this month in nature around Fairfield Glade. Here is some information on three short October subjects.

If you haven't visited Lake Sherwood lately, it is a sight to see. As you have probably read, Lake Sherwood has been drained to fix a leak. I have gone by the lake several times and my friend Gary lives on that lake, and he has been keeping me informed of the daily progress.

It has been an interesting process. First two very long flexible pipes were run from the bottom of the lake, over the spillway (the road) and down along the spillway creek. The water was siphoned from the lake just like you used to siphon gas from a car. It took several weeks for the lake to drain, but now the exposed bottom of the lake is clearly visible. It is much smoother than I would have imagined. If you ever wondered what the bottom of a lake looks like, now is the time to find out.

Unfortunately, the fish couldn't be saved because the mud was impossible to walk through to get to them. There are some giant dead carp, smelling pretty badly, at the bottom of the deepest hole near the breast of the dam. The dead fish have attracted vultures, both turkey vultures and black vultures. Gary counted 79 vultures at one time this week. A few were eating fish, but most were just watching…probably trying to get up the nerve to eat something that smelled that badly.

The bass club has planted some wooden pallets for the fish to hide in once the lake is refilled and restocked. Plus, they have planted wheat on the dry lake bottom to improve the lake for the fish. Luckily, a lot of the wheat seed has fallen into the dry cracks and sprouted from there, because the geese thought that the exposed wheat seed was scattered just for them.

In walking around the edge of the empty lake a couple of weeks ago we saw lots of raccoon tracks and geese tracks in the mud. We also saw 2 places where beavers once had dens up under the bank. We also found 2 boat anchors…anyone missing one?

I think you will find it interesting to go by and take a look at the empty lake. It is probably not safe to walk in the dry lake, but at least check out the scene.

A second October subject is autumn leaves. The prime leaf peeping season is winding down. When the leaves change color it is a good time to identify trees. Hickories, white oak, chestnut oak and yellow popular usually have the best yellow colors. The red or orange trees are usually maples, sassafras, blackgum and dogwood.

And lastly, October is a good time to watch for migrating birds. This is a time when we can see birds that don't live here. There was a female rose-breasted grosbeak in my backyard last week. These birds normally spend the summers north of us and the winters south of us. Our opportunity to see these, and lots of other birds, is only when they migrate in the spring or fall.



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