Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Altered Landscapes

Having just returned from Midwest Birding Symposium, it will take a day or two to process all the photos, unpack the bags and deal with life's pressing issues that were going on without me.  Work, speaking engagements and family life are demanding my attentions today.  However, I would like to offer two photos from my whirlwind week on the "North Coast."

Oddly enough, my two favorite photos speak of the man-made changes and the impacts of industry along our Great Lake.

The loading dock at Marblehead is bathed with moonlight. 
Upon returning to my dear friend, Dottie's lakeshore cottage after Saturday evening's program, we enjoyed the moonscape on Lake Erie.  The LaFarge-Standard Slag loading dock was bathed in moon light. Lake Erie freighters have been hauling stone out of Marblehead for a long as I can remember, but the lights on the loading dock seem much brighter than before. It is probably due to ramped-up gravel production and shipping, as well as modern day safety requirements.

Although it speaks of an industrial and altered lake shore, aesthetically it was pleasing.  True Marbleheaders (residents of Marblehead) are inured to noon-time blast "aftershocks" that rumble through the community each day, as well as the gigantic wheeled loaders' backing lights warning "beep-beep-beep" as work continues all night long.  

Davis Bessie nuclear power plant as seen from the Port Clinton Water Works Park.
This second photo was taken from the parking lot at Water Works Park in downtown Port Clinton, Ohio. We were gull watching and photographing water and shorebirds along the city beach when I snapped off a few random shots of fly-by gulls.  I can not say what atmospheric conditions occasionally make the islands or far off shore line look so close, but the views were exceptional on Sunday evening.  The surreal effect of the fly-by gulls struck me as a page from the Crossley ID Guide.

Crossley created a new sensation in guides when he photo-shopped various poses of birds, in varied ages and plumages, against a "typical" background. This would be the page on Ring-billed and Bonaparte's Gulls.

Unfortunately, this typical back ground includes the nuclear power plant that is considered a blessing or a curse, depending on the local to whom you speak.  The federal fines levied for an incredibly scary lack of maintenance and its cover-up allowed First Energy to pay for our new visitor's center at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.  It is a sad way to get good accomplished for nature, but at least sometime nice happened after the lives of hundreds of thousands were put in jeopardy.  Click on the link for an amazing news article from the Toledo Blade which tells the whole story.

Meanwhile, enjoy these altered landscapes as best you can.

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