This morning I took 8-year old Z-bub, 6-year old Dinkum Devo, and 4-year old Mizelle up to the lake, which is really a flood diversion reservoir managed by the Corp of Engineers. It is a great place to walk and to bird watch.
Unfortunately, it is currently being drained. Or as they call it, "the draw down." I'm not sure if it s done for repairs on the earthen dam or if it is just an annual event. Each time there is a "draw down" the beaver dam collapses and the ducks and other water fowl head for other wetlands. But lots of walkers, bikers, dogs, and horses take advantage of the trails. And hunters, too.
I forgot my binoculars but was able to see Red-tailed Hawk, Kestrel, Northern harrier, and a Bald Eagle soar overhead. Using my cheap cell phone, I snapped this photo of the kids being rock-climbers on the dam slope. The camera was safe and warm at home, snuggled in the cupboard with the binoculars.
The inversion that is currently above the valley keeps us cold, foggy, and under an air advisement.
The above picture is facing south/southeast where you can see the canal carrying water away from the lake. The next picture was a simple turn around and snap in the opposite direction. The pumping station is usually partially submerged. Eighteen years ago, when my eldest grandson was a baby, we had winter flooding which diverted an unusual amount of water to the lake. The water rose well above the pump and the trees along the shoreline. Many of the trees died and toppled resulting in the loss of habitat for the summer-nesting tree swallow.
The local Audubon prepared tree swallow boxes and The Corp cooperated by putting some up on poles. By now, of course, trees have regrown and the swallows have reestablished their presence. (There are also five other species of swallow that can be seen around the valley in the springtime.)
Had the kids and I stayed up in the rocks we might have made it home clean and dry. But we didn't. After wet and muddy we climbed through bushes and brambles which loaded up our socks and mittens with cockle-burs. All in all, a very successful day.