Sunday, November 15, 2009


My day started out a lot like it did yesterday. It was cold outside and there was no one waiting at the gate to come in to the park. No one came to the park for another hour or two. I started with paperwork and wished for a warming sun to rise quickly. When I finally ventured out again, I still needed a coat. I went to the cabin first and opened up. I realized that I had not posted any water level photos in a while, so below is the view from the cabin porch. Compare it to the same view a couple of weeks ago.
I walked down to the river next. The sun was shining through the bushy grasses and brightened every color in the otherwise brown mess. I am really impressed by the staying power of these late blooming, purple Asters. I don't remember them from previous years, but I also wasn't photographing every thing I saw then.
At the river's edge, I saw that there had been several critters here before me. The larger, three-toed print was probably a heron or an egret, a large shore bird. Above it, are tracks from a Raccoon. The bird was likely watching for minnows in the shallow water as it moved at a slow and steady pace along the shore. The Raccoon's tracks were not as steady, it wandered back and forth and made several trips to the water. The second photo looks a lot like the heron or egret print, but they were much smaller. They were also all in one area. The smaller shore bird probably flew to that spot, pecked around a little, and then flew off to another area.
I found a few pieces of garbage, but not much. I picked up all of it and stacked it together so that it was easy to hold. I saw part of a glass bottle poking out of the sand and water at the river's edge. I pulled it out and though it was a neat bottle. I didn't really recognize it, but the possibility of Barbecue Sauce popped into my head. Later, a volunteer saw it and guessed the same thing before we talked about it. A quick search online could not confirm or deny that idea. It was unique though.
I was ready to get warm and the sun was shining on the other side of the spring. I decided to get a start on the buoy project. I took the cable, a couple of cable clamps, and a socket wrench out to the buoy line. I was ready to take my coat off before I even got to my work area. The sun was really beating down on that side of the spring, it felt great! I even saw a Monarch Butterfly who was likely making a quick stop on its migration. I quickly tried to put everything down that I was carrying and pulled out my camera just in time to watch it fly away. It never came back, but I watched for it all day. I made a few trips between this project and the parking lot as a couple of dive groups finally arrived. I managed to get a good start on the project though. I attached one end of the cable, arranged the buoys for quick installation, and started feeding the cable through the bars under the buoys. Some of them were clogged with sand.
The divers did not require a lot of attention today. I only saw three groups all day. I decided to return to the fish tank maintenance that I started yesterday. I used a gravel vacuum and sucked up a lot of gross pieces of algae mats. Unfortunately, my fish tank is afflicted with the same nasty algae that grows in the spring. I wish I could gravel vac the spring. Some algae is vital, but some really voracious algae flourish with the raising nitrate levels that we are experiencing. It will be easier to keep under control with the aquarium than it is in the spring. Once the gravel was clean, I scrubbed the glass with a magnetic scrubber and cleaned out the filter. My poor little Catfish was not very happy with me. I made him move from his favorite hiding spot to vacuum underneath his rock. I think he will be happy once everything settles though. I will take a photo once I get new cotton sleeves in the filter and the water is clear.
I pretty much filled my day with my projects and talking with the few visitors that I saw. By the end of the day, it was warm and sunny. You couldn't ask for a better fall day. I talked my boyfriend into serving some volunteer time at the park to help me with the buoy line. Together, we strung the rest of the buoys onto the cable and stretched them across the spring run. We attached the other side and the project was complete. I didn't take my camera down by the water though, so I will have to get a photo tomorrow. We were already wet, and we were warm from the work, so we went for a quick swim. It felt great to be in the water again. I don't usually get into the cold water until its over 90 degrees outside. It was a nice change of pace... then it was nice to go straight home to warm, dry clothes and a blanket!

No comments: