What to do if you lose your compass

I sometimes go for a week or more without getting into the woods, then I go there and remember why I was feeling so badly about not.

I was able to visit my dry vernal pool Monday. Sure enough, a few of the recent rain clouds passed over and made it a pool with water in it. I shot a few minutes of underwater video and there clearly were multiple somethings, looking like translucent polliwogs, swimming around in there. Really tiny, but a few got to the correct focal distance and I could see their bulbous heads and skinny tails trailing behind like pieces of thread in need of a pair of scissors.

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Tell the tadpoles

Tuesday morning there was a serious rain event in my neighborhood, too late for the tadpoles I had been watching in a pool up in Michaux State Forest.

I started photographing them at the end of March, when they were newly hatched.

The First of June marked nine weeks I had been visiting and photographing them. It’d been about a week since I’d last seen them and they did not have legs. They should have grown legs soon, but the lack of rain has transformed the vernal pool into a vernal bed of rapidly drying leaves.

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Waddya mean, “Water shortage”

There is plenty of water for one duck. for the rest of us, not so much.I saw a Black and White Warbler in the tree outside my window. My first ever. A tiny thing, about the size of a goldfinch, but all longitudinal patterns of black and white stripes.

What I am pretty certain was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak lit momentarily within sight, then departed before I could take the camera in hand.

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Water, water …

Rain needed, and lots of it!A blanket of golden leaves lies around the Silver maple trunk like the flannel skirt wrapped around the base of a Christmas spruce. The past few days have been excellent for photography. Clear or slightly cloudy skies and a solar studio light turning single trees into huge sparkling lights scattered through the forest.

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The edge of the sea

The Atlantic Ocean incessantly wears away the U.S. coast.There’s something really nice, almost sensual, about wading in 57-degree waves washing great masses of seaweed like mermaids’ tresses, in and out among the rocks and around my feet. I imagine the image was not lost on sailors of long past tales.

Anyway, it was not lost to me last week when I visited Rachel Carson at her Salt Pond Preserve, on the upper reach of Muscongus Sound. She spent much of her time on the Down East coast, wading in the water, searching for signs of marine life about which she wrote in “The Edge of the Sea.”

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What if Marsh Creek was in Flint or Uniontown

Marsh Creek, a short distance from my home, is bloated like a certain writer who has partaken overmuch of turkey and ice cream at a family dinner. Rain pours down on the tableau, filling the myriad tributaries that flow into the creek like an array of gravy and soup bowls, each adding ingredients they have collected from minor hills and valleys in the larger creek’s watershed.

Just over a week ago, a snowstorm laid a biodegradable covering across the scene. Now the rain melds it into the water that is its main ingredient, expanding the creek to a degree the spring and summer feeder streams will not.

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Coast to coast, water supplies severely stressed

The nightly television news tells seemingly disconnected stories.

California is suffering a historic drought in the middle of its winter “rainy” season.

Power plants have been forced to reduce output in the summer as the Great Lakes, several rivers and an ocean used to cool the machinery become too shallow or too warm —or both.

Earlier this month, a Freedom Industries storage tank leaked 7,500 gallons of coal-processing chemical into the Elk River near Charleston, W.Va., to be sucked into a West Virginia American Water treatment facility about a mile downriver.

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Coal, nukes, fracking and 16.9-ounce plastic bottles

A reservoir outflow is dry and rocky with water in the impound more than two feet below normal.Throughout this nation’s history, we have counted on a plentiful supply of water.

With 75 percent of the Earth’s surface covered by water, goes the old adage, clearly man was meant to spend 75 percent of his time fishing.

Unfortunately, with 75 percent of the planet covered by water, the majority of the Earth’s surface, once warmed, will stay that way – or get warmer.

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Demand for electricity straining water supplies

Rivers streams and lakes are jeopardized by our insatiable thirst for electricityThe Chicago Tribune reported last week nuclear and coal-fired power plants along the Great Lakes have been granted waivers to release hotter-than-normal water into the lakes, causing fish to die or migrate to deeper, cooler locales. Plant operators say they need the waivers because shutting down the plants will cost them profits and make them unable to supply electricity for their elderly customers.

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Nuke power plants in hot water

Three Mile Island was the site of a near melt-down in 1979Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency put the brakes on renewing licenses for existing nuclear-powered electricity generating plants. The agency also announced it will not be approving any additional plants – at least in the near future.

And a nuke plant in Connecticut was shut down Sunday because the ocean water on which it depends has become too warm to use for cooling the plant’s processes.

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