Saturday, August 22, 2009

Morey's Pond: A Natural History Adventure

In the middle of July we hiked around Morey Pond in Andover (elevation 1329 ft (405 m)) and saw many things that taught Wingnut about natural history. I thought this post would be an opportunity for you to see how we three explore nature together. All links are either to articles that you can use for more information, to other posts on my blogs, or to photos on Flickr. If you click on a photo, you will open a new page to the Morey's Pond Set I created on Flickr for this hike. From that new page you may choose to view a larger image. Our greatest source of information is John, the most learned naturalist I have ever met. When none of us know a thing, or when we want to learn more, we search the Internet. Often, we find details in my photographs that we need to investigate more, also. Each hike, bike ride or kayaking trip is full of wonder, beauty and learning.


The first three photographs are scenic views of Mount Kearsarge as seen from the pond trail. Kearsarge has a fascinating history and geology. Kearsarge is classified as a monadnock mountain and can therefore be seen from numerous places in this area.

Morey Pond (or Morey's Pond) is listed in extremely brief mentions on the web as a reservoir for Andover, NH. There is a dam at the opposite end of the remote parking area. When we were at the dam, I turned around and photographed this outlet of the pond that runs to the dam (below). Beavers are re-engineering the human dam to better serve their own needs.

PLANTS: The plant life is typical for this area.

Above: Blue fruit of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis).

These blueberries are the reason we went to Morey Pond: to see how the crop was this summer. In Vermont the blueberry farm was smaller than the acreage of wild blueberry bushes here! There are both low and high bush berries on the pond. They had just begun to ripen and we planned to return for picking. But because of construction in the house, two heat waves, grief from the cats, and other things, we never did.

Above: Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) is one of my favorite wildflowers.

Above: I haven't yet identified this mushroom (I could simply holler across the room and ask John but I haven't!).

Above: Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Animal Life

Above: John and I saw this bird scat on a shoulder high branch with dead branches above it. Some carnivorous bird (but not an owl), such as a hawk or eagle, left this here while perched above waiting for prey.

Above and below: evidence of beaver (Castor canadensis). Above you see John standing while waiting for Wingnut to tie his shoe. We are near a tree that was not quite felled by beaver last winter. How do we know that they chewed it in the winter? The cut is high above the ground at just the height that the snow pack would be. A beaver can not climb a tree to cut it down and are not big enough to chew it at this height. The weathering of the cuts on the wood also tell us it was a few months ago that it was chewed. Below you see a closer shot of the tooth marks on the tree.

Above: the human dam as the beavers re-design it. I choose this shot because of the water effects that I got (after two years of trying) in the camera.

Above: halfway between the parking area and the dam is this underground beaver lodge on an outlet (or beaver canal) of the pond. I don't see too many lodges built under the bank of a stream, so this was a treat. I wanted to poke around inside it but was too nervous to try. Who knows who lived there still?

Above: a woodpecker tree. Used for food and nesting but I don't know by what species. Nobody was in residence this season. This was probably made by a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).

Above: a Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) that I almost stepped on.

Morey's Pond Set

Finally, below you will find links to the blogs, photos and links of other people on Delicious, Technorati, Furl (now Diigo) and Flickr. These are excellent resources for any person interested in natural history. Often an amateur naturalist will have a clearer description or a better photo than a professionally created guide book.. Compulsive bloggers, like myself, will take the time to research what we post and to correctly tag every single post and photograph with the scientific and common names of plants and animals. I have organized my Flickr sets into collections of wildflowers, birds, insects, and more to make it easier for people to browse and perhaps identify a creature or plant from outdoors. Click here to see my collections.

Take advantage of our efforts for you and use us as a resource. We've learned a phenomenal amount about genus, species, origins of names and common misidentifications. On your next outing, take a close look around to see what you can find!

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