Saturday, January 06, 2007

An Inconvenient Day of Birding

I had the day to myself to go birding, so I headed out to East Fork Lake, where I had done my first "real" bird guide walk and also met Katdoc. (Who really needs her own blog..ahem)
Okay, Pam. What is this? When I first saw it, I thought it was deer poop. I have never seen black fungus. Looks like an alien life form.

I love gnarly trees.
A diving Bonaparte's Gull...I think. They didn't get very close to me and I don't have a scope.

A Little House on the Prairie.

Okay, here's the creme of my post tonight. I investigated the tailwater of the dam at the lake. This huge apparatus controls the water level in the lake, and also the water levels farther upstream. If the levels get too high, the spillway lets out more water. When the level is okay, the spillway closes up and just lets out a trickle.
Today it was awe-inspiring. And frightening.
I remember one of Pam's posts about how man-made bodies of water gave her the willies. She would have fainted dead away if she had seen this.

Above photo: The water is rushing over concrete baffles built in the spillway, to slow down the speed of the water to prevent erosion at the pools below the spillway.
Below photo: Here you can see the baffles. If these baffles were not in place, the water would rush unimpeded into the pools and erode the land at the bottom of a very large hillside.
This sign greeted me as I got out of my car. My knees already felt weird as I saw how high the dam was above me. But hearing that siren would have made me wet my pants.

Here's the link to video I took atop the tailwater spillway. I was physically sick taking this video. As a youngster, I hung over the railing at Niagara Falls, uncaring and unknowing of the power of all that water. Today, my imagination didn't even need to speak to me. I knew what could happen. I briefly thought how the girls would think this place was. Then I thought of how panicked I would be and this ended the thought of a family outing.

tailwater vidoe.wmv
As I was typing this, I was also watching "An Inconvenient Truth" on OnDemand TV, and I will say this only once: If you havent' seen it, you will. You must.


Anonymous said...

Where's the snow?

Susan Gets Native said...

Snow? I think I remember seeing that on a Christmas card once.
You mean that stuff actually falls from the sky sometimes?

LauraHinNJ said...

I finally watched *An inconvenient truth* over Christmas break. Scary stuff.

I also wondered when Al Gore became so well-spoken. Too bad he wasn't that way during the election.

Susan Gets Native said...

The world would be a different place if he had found himself a bit sooner, huh?
But instead...sigh...we have a wooden chimp running the free world.

Ruth said...

Rushing water leaves me weak-kneed too. I don't like standing at the brink of waterfalls either, especially Niagara. Did you ever go on a ride called a Zumba Flume at an amusement park?..think small boat, rushing water, waterfall...soaking wet! Now that I am older, I prefer to stay on the trails and leave a wide berth for white water.

NatureWoman said...

Alrighty then! It sucks to be an adult, doesn't it? My parents used to take us to places that I thought were really cool and now they would scare the scat out of me. And I've watched too many documentaries about the overwhelming power of water to know that anything manmade cannot hold water forever - even the largest dams in the country.
I love your scat fungus (ha! I don't know my fungus' by name, I just love them). I've seen fungus' in every color.
Gnarly trees are so cool! Of course, any trees are cool!
Hee hee - Little House on the Prairie - I love your sense of humor girlfriend!
Off to watch your video now. . .

Mary said...

Susan, the power of water rushing has always intimidated me ever since I got caught in a riptide in Ocean City, MD. That video you show is great, but scary, too. Nice lesson on dams. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Scary water, girl! Yikes! Family story in my husband's family that when they went to the Hoover Dam when he was about 6, he hiked himself up on the edge to look over. My mother-in-law says she never saw her husband move so fast before or since. He just wanted to see over. Talk about the willies. That is one high dam!

Anonymous said...

That kind of powerful water scares the you know what out of me!

katdoc said...

A snowflake. A raindrop. A breeze. By themselves, nothing, but when they add up, the awesome power of snowstorms, floods, or winds always amazes me. The only vestige of Nature's power that mankind cannot control.

Scary stuff, but pretty cool, too.