Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reckless Juveniles on Bikes / Police Contacted

People on the path around Lake Kittamaqundi recently may have encountered a gang or gangs of youths on bicycles riding at high speed and doing dangerous moves (the "wheelie") close to them. I met four or five of these kids first on Sunday evening. I had to pass them a second time on Sunday as I returned along the path back to my street when two of them did the wheelies, one just inches from me. I decided it was just high spirits before the start of school, but yesterday around 5:30pm (Tuesday, August 30), I encountered about six of them coming down the path as I approached the lake. I was crouching on the verge beside the path to tie a shoe lace as they passed me, and I was hit in the face by a plastic cup of ice and water. No damage, and I wasn't too wet, as the cup glanced off me, but it was a nasty shock and could have been worse. They were gone before I could react, but I followed them toward Little Patuxent Parkway and its intersection with Vantage Point Road. A couple I met had seen them and noticed them crossing toward Wilde Lake in rowdy fashion (more wheelies).

I hung around on the path for a while, hoping to find the kids on their return trip and get photos. (I finished my walk to the lake and carried out my original intention of checking on the great egret for an entry in eBird.) When I got home around 6:00pm, I called the police non-emergency number and reported both yesterday evening's incident and Sunday's. I'm hoping the police bike patrols on the path system can put a stop to this behavior before something worse happens. Meanwhile, the police are interested in seeing any photos I (or anyone) manage to take of the miscreants.

There are safety concerns, and maybe some parents will find out about this conduct and take care of the situation.

Addendum: I also contacted Town Center Community Association, and they have been very responsive. They have coordinated with other authorities responsible for safety on the paths and at the lakefront.

Below: The egret yesterday evening, preening in the shallows and oblivious of these incidents. Perhaps, soon my camera will capture the idiots in action.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Heron and Egret Review

I let August slip by without mentioning one of the lake's most impressive summer visitors, the great egret. This year, the bird happened to arrive some time around the flooding on the July 30/31 weekend, and I first spotted it that Sunday morning. The photo above and other photos in this post were taken on Friday, August 26. I've only ever seen a single great egret on Lake Kittamaqundi. Go to Centennial Lake, and sometimes you can find a pair of these birds there.

The great egret is taxonomically a heron and is in the same genus Ardea with the great blue heron. I've been watching the progress of two or three great blues born this year.

View above shows the spillway stream at the south end of the lake. One of the great blue herons usually can be found here, and I've been seeing the green herons here sometimes. Two greens are visible, one less obvious at the right side. (And trash is often unavoidable in pictures of the lake.)

Green heron in the spillway stream.

The young great blue herons have become more competitive for fishing spots, and one frequently chases the other away.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cloudless Sulphur and Hummingbird on Cardinal Flowers

Cardinal flower can be found growing wild around Lake Kittamaqundi, but this year Columbia's Open Space program established a bed of the native plant near the path on the lake's east side. One of the butterfly species which prefers to nectar on cardinal flower is the cloudless sulphur. I photographed this one visiting the new flower bed earlier this week.

Also watch for hummingbirds around this bed and other cardinal flowers....