Monday, August 9, 2010

swimmin' again

Today the high temp (according to my thermometer) was 88 and the humidity level was around 70% most of the day, and if that isn't a perfect day to go jump in the lake, I don't know what is. This time I didn't want to make the trek to a specific "swimming beach" so I just found some little cove in the hillside where the shoreline is rocky and the rocks are kind of slimy once you're more than a few feet in, but the water is cool and clear. I floated around for a while, then after I went back on the rocks to dry off, a flock of mergansers paddled in, diving for fish right where I'd been swimming. Further down the beach there was a sandpiper of some variety, I never got close enough to see any details. Later, a cormorant arrived; he'd swoop underwater and disappear for a long, long time, and then would invariably come up with a glittering fish clasped in his mouth.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

thimbleberries and more in Chester

The thimbleberries in Chester are ripe now, and while they are not as abundant as they have been in years past, there is enough ripe fruit just off of the trail for a sizable snack without quite gorging myself. (Although it is also somewhat early in the season, and there might be more substantial yields in a week or two.) Wild raspberries are ripe now, too, but in Chester they are much less common. Chokecherries are also just starting to ripen, super super early this year.

Joe Pye is in full, glorious bloom by the ponds, and is a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds. Fireweed and jewelweed also blooming, although not in as extravagant of numbers. My friend C. and I laid on the rocks just below Skyline for a while, and she pointed out to me the tiny (1/8 of an inch long or smaller) mud-colored, mud-covered snails in the still shallows of the creek slowly creeping though the algae and muck. Above us, dragonflies hawked after mosquitoes.