Took the canoe up to a small lake quite a way to the north on a beautiful late summer day. This is a lake that is relatively shallow for much of its expanse and so spadderdock, the one of the yellow-flowered “waterlilies” covers much of the area. This late in the season there were no flowers; the plants normally flower in June and July.
In places, the easiest way to travel was to keep to the open channels through the dense mat of leaves –
The canoe carried me on a circuit of the lake, past a great blue heron hunting frogs, fish or anything else edible –
There were a few flowers in bloom in wet spots along the shore, turtlehead –
And Joe Pye weed –
In other places, boneset was in bloom –
Boneset was commonly used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans and European colonists. Among its many medicinal uses, it was thought that wrapping the leaves around a broken bone would hasten healing.
There were other herons along the lake’s shore, they were green herons also hunting frogs, small fish and large insects. Some green herons won’t allow a close approach, while others seem almost tame –
There were more birds on the lake: several female mallard ducks –
And a mallard/black duck hybrid that looked much like its black duck ancestors –
Black ducks were the duck of the beaver ponds and wetlands in the northeast before farming and logging made much of the northeast look like the midwest and wildlife agencies began releasing farm-raised mallards. Those mallards rapidly interbred with the black ducks and the hybrids overwhelmed the native ducks. Now it’s unusual to see a black duck in northcentral Pennsylvania. Unanticipated consequences of what were probably good intentions that went awry.