Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cacapon State Park in January

We drove down form the Blue Ridge Mts., over Sleepy Creek Mt. and stopped at the base of Sideling Ridge. We crossed through three watersheds; first the Shenandoah, then the Opequon and finally into Sleepy Creek Watershed. All three eventually run to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Trillium is discovering her ecological address and how the watershed is an important factor, so it was especially interesting and made the journey more personal. Cacapon State Park has two lakes – one for fishing and one for swimming. Our trail took us up to this fishing lake that was almost frozen over.

You can see the Oriskany sand mixed in with the grass. It looks like left over snow but it is really the sand deposits from the common sandstone in the area. It reminds me a little of the white sand in the Gulf of Mexico I used to play in when we vacationed in Panama City, Fla. But this sand is coarser.



We speculated how that branch came to rest on the ice.


And wondered how these interesting ice shapes were made. Our conclusion was that they were pretty to look at and they reminded us of all sorts of things.

I stopped for a moment to scoop up a small water sample with algae to examine later under my microscope.

I was having trouble getting the right white balance on my camera so the color is not quite right in some of these.




Two kinds of algae were present and some interesting diatoms.

When we left the lake side Trillium noticed the partially eaten pine cones. Our conclusion was deer browse since they were on the lower limbs and there was deer scat nearby.







She also noticed pine cones on the ground that had been eaten like fresh Eastern Shore sweet corn. Nothing but the cobs were left. There were several on the ground and it looked like the beginnings of a red or flying squirrel midden. Gray squirrels don’t eat that far down to the core.


Our other interesting sighting was Fall Cankerworm Moths (Alsophila pometeria) flying around the oak trees. They are part of the Inchworm Family (Geometridae).



Visit other interesting blogs featuring water at Watery Wednesday.

15 comments:

Rinkly Rimes said...

The mixture of sand and ice is very unusual.

J Bar said...

Very interesting mix.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Woodswalker said...

What a fun adventure! And those microscopic organisms are lovely, like something you'd wear for jewelry.

nice A said...

I love the perfect view of the beach, sea, mountain and blue sky.

Gaelyn said...

You two sure had fun making discoveries. Very cool to see the algae.

nuts said...

interesting, your photos match with lots of info in your post!

luna miranda said...

fascinating!

Ellen Rathbone said...

The microscopic bits are interesting. Is the chain of squares how whatever it is is supposed to look, or did it break into those little square bits? Fascinating.

chesapeake bay fishing said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

squirrel said...

Ellen,
I didn't do anything to the chain of squares. I do believe that is the way they grow. Here is an interesting site:
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/wimsmall/diadr.html

You will probably need a compound microscope to see them or a very powerful disecting scope. Sorry I didn't take the time to figure out what they are.

Tes said...

oh wow, interesting and fun! Cool discoveries!

Carletta said...

The ice shapes remind me of sponges. :)
Such interesting info you always have.

Thanks for the wonderful comment you left on my squirrel photo. I was quite pleased with how it came out. :)

Lindz said...

awesome, fun discoveries too.

Anonymous said...

Love the first algea photo. Would make a nice print. The dimpled ice looks like a bad case of cellulite.

noel said...

i loved your tour of distant and then close up and then really close up studies...that was pretty cool and the story was great!