Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Nature Notes: Drought
When I first heard my city was in a drought, it surprised me until I started thinking about it. The evidence was certainly there when I walked on the trail leading up to Shelley Lake and saw the creek feeding into the lake was almost completely dry.
We had a relatively wet winter and spring but June has been abnormally hot. It's been gray for much of the month with very brief showers but no soaking rain like the spring ones.
The first two shots with the mostly dry rocks had a full creek with little waterfalls only a month or so ago.
The combination of cloudy days and at least a little rain as well as the soaking rains of winter and spring have meant that there is certainly a lot of greenery looking well and some flowers are also happy.
But there are also patches of dead grass and what looks like a mud puddle below was full of rushing deep waters not long ago.
The most dramatic example of the changes can be seen in the water coming out on the creek side of the Shelley Lake Dam. Below you can see the fairly slow stream of water coming out a few days ago.
Next is a shot I took in May where it's obvious there was more water coming out.
Then the shot I took in April gives the most dramatic example of how fast things change.
I thought I'd include one more April shot and this is of the water from the dam filling up the creek which is on the other side of the lake from the rocky one I started this post with.
Back to the present is a shot I took a few days ago of the same spot as the shot above, although my camera was angled differently so it didn't include the bridge.
The biggest factor is the unrelenting heat which has resulted in by far the hottest June I've ever seen.
It takes a lot of rain to keep up with this kind of heat and brief occasional showers don't get it. At least the brief showers have helped keep the wildflowers along the trail looking good.
For many summer flowers a little water seems to go a long way.
I think the bee feeding below looks like it's doing a split.
The geese seem to enjoy it when instead of the sandbars they have when there is plenty of water, they get a series of large islands to hang out on in the lake as shown below.
I kept watching for a turtle because something was fishing under the water and not coming up. You may be able to see the circles of water below which is one of the places where I was watching for a turtle.
I gave up on the turtle and continued on my walk, forgetting about it.
The ducks below were taking a break.
And one more shots of the ducks and geese enjoying their island estates.
When I had totally stopped looking for turtles and was ending my walk this enormous fellow appeared.