A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Photo Series: Wandering Along the Icy Creek

I took a walk around Freeville this past weekend to see what the creek looks like in other places when there's ice on it.  I went down to Mill Dam Park and found that I wasn't the first one - human or animal - to have been there.

The water was still running fairly high, right over the concrete remains of the old dam.

Looking back upstream toward my dock, I found that the creek looked very similar to the way it does near my backyard, with ice on the edges and flowing water in the center.  I found, though, that compared to by my dock, there was very little ice floating in the water.

As I approached the park, I heard the trickling sound of running water.  It turns out that it was this little waterfall where the dam used to be.  I've decided that the steel rail (with handrail) that runs across the creek is there to allow folks to walk over to the small island on the other side of the creek.

It looks like a curious dog had beaten me to the edge of the dam.

Just downstream of the waterfall was a large sheet of ice with cracks in it.  I'm guessing that the cracks were caused by the pressure of the onrushing water.

Here's a look at the water snaking around the other side of the island and merging into the main body of the creek.

I decided to use the zoom feature of my camera to look upstream in the direction of my dock.  See how much ice there is on the surface compared to what you saw in the vicinity of the dam?

While at the dam, I briefly became fascinated with the waves on the surface of the water, as the following few pictures will show.  Here, I was thinking about how the waves might inject air bubbles up into the ice, creating small white (airy) ripples on the surface of the ice near its boundary with the flowing surface water.
I stared at the frothing water at the base of the small waterfall at the foot of the dam.  Notice how the air bubbles make the water look white, much like the ripples on the ice surface.

And here's another look at the edge of the ice surface.  Notice also the waves and ripples on the water surface.

Small waves formed as the water's flow was restricted over a submerged part of the concrete dam.

Here, water was flowing into the main stem of the creek from the right.  Again, note the ripples and waves on the surface.  The ripples and waves remained almost stationary - preferred paths, if you will - while the water passed by.

Here's a better look at some of the fringe ice.

You can probably see what happens to the small ice floes as they float into this area.  They get absorbed onto the larger sheet of ice.

The creek's not frozen solid, though, as you can see by the surface water in the middle of the photo.

It's amazing how the small ice floes follow the same path along the creek, almost forming a train!

Here you can see that there's a narrow surface channel of water that winds along the edge of the creek.

My wildlife photography is not very good.  Here, I stopped to get a photo of a few birds enjoying some seed from a feeder.  I managed to capture one, at least (what looks to be a house sparrow) before I scared it off.

This photo, and the next few, were taken at Groton Avenue Park, upstream from my backyard.

Confirmation of something I had seen from my dock a couple of days earlier.  Where branches stick into the water, small ice patches form.  Interestingly, the small ice floes floating down the creek would pass right under it, making a gurgling noise that you can hear later in the post.

Here's a small, thin patch of ice approaching the larger, tree-branch-anchored patch of ice.

And here's that same ice floe, more or less intact, after passing right under the ice patch.
Here's a photo from a little farther upstream, by the Waterwheel Cafe, where the water was moving pretty swiftly.

Finally, the above video is my first experiment in taking video with the camera.  It's a 4-second clip in which you can hear what an ice floe passing under the thicker patch of ice sounds like.

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