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A Photo Diary from the backwaters of eastern Lake Ontario.

The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Birds, blooms, bugs & more - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
September 2012
We recently purchased an acre of wooded land behind our little cottage on the dunes next to Southwick Beach State Park NY on Lake Ontario. While doing the property research I discovered the town tax assessor referred to this land as "wasteland". That may be true for anyone who never left their office, who never ventured into the area, who never explored during any of the seasons, who never put on boots during a flooded spring, who never got bugged in summer, or who never wrote a Daily Bucket about any of it.

The rest of us know it as wetland, maybe not legally since it's only an acre but when viewed in context with the adjoining pond and backwater lakes, sure, it's a wetland.

First off for all you bug lovers - a pretty red dragonfly, probably a Meadowhawk (Sympetrum)

Standing water makes a wetland

Not a lot of water in the fall, especially after a summer drought but here is a little puddle. I noted a couple frogs splashing as I approached but not close enough to ID. The south end of the acre is wetter since it runs into a pond that the state maintains. By maintain I mean they keep the beavers out so it doesn't totally flood back up to us, as well as the campground on the other side.

Trees adapt to periods of water

Birch and maple predominate. It appears that a storm had gone thru last year or so and blew down a few bigger birch trees. I spent a bunch of time cutting my way around the property lines; never have gotten thru the bottom end by the park.

Of course dead and dying trees means mushrooms, like a very big Shelf Mushroom (Polypores)

Hornbeam is one of the understory trees. Here's one with blooms still hanging on from spring.

This small glade is a peaceful spot with enough shade to crowd out the goldenrod and blackberry.

Lots of boulders scattered around, left over from last glacial transit.

Ferns love it wet
Right below the sandbank where it's typically wet, if not standing water, the ferns start. It's a jungle in summer.

Royal Fern

Marsh Fern

and this may be a Spleenwort or Christmas fern. I need to go back and check further and note spores and stalks and branching and such.

One more wetland plant - this is a rush I have not yet identified.

Jack In The Pulpit
I was aware that the area was covered in JITP but was surprised to find so many with seed berries. Mayapples are also spread around and thankfully only one small bit of poison ivy I ripped up. Lots of grasses and bog plants like arrow root for me to investigate later.

a grouping of 3 nestled between fallen trunks


In some ways tho the place is a wasteland. The neighbor long ago bulldozed sand down to level out his bank and then made longlasting deposits.

Rust Pile - but it's pretty in a neglected way

Home De-improvements - something I will haul off next year.

And the neighbor on the other side is also looking to grow their yard by pushing sand over the 12-15' bank. Too bad it washed out and covered some ferns in 6" of sand. You can see the wood I backfilled with. These neighbors really don't understand all this nature stuff.

Lastly, front view of our little cottage with golden windows as the sun sets on the lake.

Jump on in with your observations, your local wetlands or wastelands and as always, your time and place. Thanks for visiting mine.

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