Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In Sandy's Wake

Unlike last year's October snow storm, hurricane / tropical storm Sandy's impact on our neighborhood was minimal.  Since we didn't lose power our trees were intact, I decided I would check out the damage to Great Meadows.

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Entering the refuge the first signs of storm damage was apparent. Downed tree limbs block the gate to the railroad trail.  You could hardly see the road because it was covered with leaves.

Once onto the Cross Dike trail the signs of the storm were minimal. Along the river there were numerous small branches, but nothing major. The leaning fence at the southwest entrance to the refuge was another victim of Sandy's winds.


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A pile of feathers and a few bones was all that was left of this bird. I doubt that it was a Sandy victim.

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If I hadn't been busy kicking branches to the side of the trail, I probably would have seen his bittern hiding in the marsh near the Upper Impoundment spillway. I don't know who was more surprised when it hopped up from the reeds.

I could see a couple trees down on the Timber trail. By the time I completed my lap of the refuge, I encountered Ziggy who was busy cutting apart another tree that had been blocking the railroad bed. [On a later trip I found a section of trees on the backside of the Timber Trail which had fallen down. I looked like dominoes where one fell into another. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of his clearing.]


Other than the obvious wind damage and the slightly increased water levels the refuge was almost normal.
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With so many trees stripped of leaves this vine growing in the fork of a tree, the green was a rare touch of color in a grey world. 

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The harrier was busy cruising hunting.  (I wonder if it was easier in the wind bent cat tails.)

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He actually surprised me because he was cruising in the open area near the holt.

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This snake was enjoying the warm tropical air.  At least until I scared it.

The Bald Eagle was seen making an appearance at the refuge.  It is probably attracted by the many ducks and the recent arrival of coots (though still substantially less than last fall's coot population levels.)
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Mature Bald Eagle circling the impoundment

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Coots feeding among the reeds

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Eating among the lotus

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It's hard not to laugh watching a coot run on water