The edge of the lake

In the University of Wisconsin’s Lakeshore Preserve, where Willow Creek runs into Lake Mendota, are some reed-covered mud-flats, a favourite abode of geese. It’s fall and that always seems to render the otherwise brassy honking of geese faintly mournful. I love fall, and enjoy winter, but signs of fall do remind me that in a short while there’ll be several months with no insects, and no herps; unless I go to the Vilas Zoo and peer through plexiglass at the Galapagos tortoises and hissing cockroaches.

Lakeshore Preserve

A peculiar combination of circumstances renders these mud-flats admirably fitted to receive and retain any markings which may happen to be made on their surface.
-Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology, 1854

Lakeshore Preserve

The flats have several shallow pools, which teem – that’s definitely the word – with invertebrates. Tiny flies hover just above the water, little worms and various water-striders skitter over the surface:
Lakeshore Preserve
Small fish zip around underneath the surface, and snails move across the bottom at a considerable clip:
Lakeshore Preserve

It was a fine autumn day to be out. The air was cool and the trails lined with aster, goldenrod, and white snakeroot.


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