Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Floating on Frederick

On Sunday I met Janice at Lake Frederick for a paddle. My lucky streak was still following me because I stopped at a 7/11, craving a caramel Magnum, and reached into the freezer with a big grin to grab the last one at the bottom. I was just polishing it off when I arrived at the lake. I was a little alarmed at first when I drove into a parking lot that was filled with trucks, assuming the lake to be crowded, but actually many folks were fishing from the shore near the dock and aside from a few small fishing boats that we came across, we often found ourselves almost alone on the water.
I photographed these unusual insects. I've seen them before, always near water, and they barely move. I can't identify them so any help would be great.
Getting some practice in for the abstract show next year!
I enjoyed kayaking with Janice as we're very like minded regarding our paddling. We both like keeping close to the shores so we can explore and investigate anything growing or moving along the water's edge, both of us snapping photos as we go. This lake has a lot of beautiful flora growing and it was wonderful to see everything looking so healthy, although I was spotting more trash hidden in grass or among tree roots than on my previous trip here.
We disturbed a blue heron in the rushes. I think he was hoping we would pass a little further out than we did as he left it to the last minute to suddenly make a very noisy exit and take off immediately in front of us. We were also amused to find at the end of nearly every inlet a pair of twitching ears above the foliage, which as we got closer, discovered that they belonged to deer who had made themselves comfortable in the cool mud.
We also upset some huge fishes, about 2ft long or bigger and possibly carp, in the shallower inlets. They were sunbathing but keeping a very watchful eye, and more than once they caused me to jump as they suddenly made their escape with a huge splash.
We saw a lot of these around the lake, clinging to underwater branches in huge globs. They look like frogspawn but Janice sent me a link explaining they're called Bryozoans, single cell animals that can get as big as 2 feet across and contain 2 million individual creatures. They feed on algae, bacteria, anything that they catch with tiny tentacles,and their presence actually indicates good water.
There were many skimmers and damsel flies skitting across the water, hovering over our boats and sitting on reeds. I couldn't photograph any, they were so flighty and my boat was never still. I was also amazed at how I didn't get any bites. I had remembered my sunscreen for my face but had completely forgotten bug spray, and so had resigned myself to scratching later on. But somehow I eluded them, not a single itchy bump emerged on arms or legs that evening.
I spotted this tree stump and immediately thought it looked like a kingfisher, resulting in a photoshopped image.
We finished our paddle with a greeting from a green heron. We'd been looking for him throughout the afternoon but he'd kept hidden until the end, even then refusing to sit on a branch long enough for me to snatch a quick photo. But just seeing him had satisfied us, he was a very handsome bird, a shame he didn't want to sit still and show off his plumage. Maybe next time.
We finished our paddle as the sun was starting to dip, it had been a lovely lazy and relaxing afternoon, enjoying the beauty of nature with good company. And my good fortune had persevered, no sunburn whatsoever, no sore nose or red hot forehead. A simply marvelous weekend all round!

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