Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pocket Parks

This little park is just across the street from city hall, at the corner of Forrest and Pine. It's a city park.

I just discovered another little park, this one at Dogwood and Hemlock.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tree Eats House

This poor house on the corner of Laurel and Dahlia took heavy damage from a tree during one of last week's storms.

Strangely, I was unable to see any remnant of the tree-- even the stump!

These lines were down nearby:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Extra! Extra! Readallaboutit! Duck Mystery Solved!

As I walked out the front door this morning I saw two mallards waddling up Pine Drive. They were just passing my house.

Fortunately, I had the long lens attached to my camera. Unfortunately, I had the ISO speed set to 100, making the shutter speed slow and causing blurring.

But I did solve the mystery of the ducks.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ducks on the March

This evening around 7 pm I looked out my door to see seven mallards walking up the middle of Pine Drive, all in a row.

I grabbed my camera and followed, hoping for a photo opportunity. I was about fifty feet behind them when they turned left on Dogwood, taking a shortcut through Ralph McCluggage's yard.

I walked around on the street and they were... gone. Just gone.

I thought they might have gone to shelter in the shrubs in front of Ralph's house, but couldn't see them. I walked all the way to Clubhouse, but no ducks.

So no photo. :(

Friday, June 24, 2011


We're lucky in Pine Lake to have more than ten grocery stores within six miles. My absolute favorite is of course the Dekalb Farmer's Market, but the closest is Ingles, which is just a half-mile from the city.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pipe in the Lake

One wonders what this pipe is for and whether it's still in use.

Here's Claude Suttle's photo of the pipe when it was being laid some 50 years ago. The view is (I think) from the south side of the lake looking north, meaning the truck is parked on the berm. The diagonal line from upper left to lower right is a crease in the original photo.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Surveyor Sez

These rocks and little ravine have been a feature have been a feature of Pine Lake since forever. They're located near the gazebo.

Today there was orange runoff wrap behind the ravine. Here's hoping this pretty little area survives the lake restoration.

Click READ MORE, below, to see two of Claude Suttle's B&W photos from the mid-1960s.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good Night Ravine?

These rocks and little ravine have been a feature have been a feature of Pine Lake since forever. They're located near the gazebo.

Today there was orange runoff wrap behind the ravine. Here's hoping this pretty little area survives the lake restoration.

Click READ MORE, below, to see two of Claude Suttle's B&W photos from the mid-1960s.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Phil Is On The Job!

Yesterday morning Phil Howland went above and beyond the call of duty by wading through the mud in an attempt to remove dead fish from the lake. The mud was horrible, with no bottom and tremendous suction-- so much suction he lost his thigh-high wading boots. I tell the tale in a humorous fashion below, but Phil, thanks so much for trying!

On Hand at the Fish Rescue...

Police Chief Sarai Y'Hudah-Green and Councilwoman Melanie Hammet
There was quite a crowd at the lake Thursday morning as the remaining fish in the lake were rescued.

The morning was cool and power was still off at some homes due to last night's storms, so the crowd was larger than on previous rescue days.

Fish Rescue

My worries of yesterday were allayed first thing this morning when I walked down to the lake, where a dramatic fish rescue was underway. The giant pump was in operation, and the water level in the little pond that remained was falling quickly.

Herons on Deathwatch


On Wednesday afternoon three herons were on deathwatch at the lake. Due to their long narrow beaks they're not physically fit to eat the big fish, but they seem to be attracted nonetheless. I didn't see them hunting for prey, as they usually are. They were just standing there.

Fish Kill

At Monday's city council meeting, Melanie Hammett said the remaining fish in the lake would be captured on Wednesday the 15th. I stopped by what can not only be described as a watering hole to find at least a dozen big fish left alive and several dead, and no capture effort underway.

The water condition has to be horrible, and the remaining fish can't have long to live.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blue Heron Mobbed by Unknown Bird (A Crow?)

Usually predators are mobbed by prey species, but here is a blue heron being mobbed by what might be a crow. Can anyone identify the smaller bird from its silhouette? Photo taken over western wetlands on 11 June, 2011.

Pine Lake's New Look

These photos were taken Saturday, June 11 from the road on the west (downstream) side of the lake. Note the former stream bed of Snapfinger Creek, which can now be visually traced from one side of the lake to the other.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Herons Have a Heyday

 I had no idea blew herons fly like this...

.... and like this:

Goldie is No Longer in the Lake

Goldie. Photo by Greg Creech

I was down at the lake at seven Saturday morning in hopes of seeing the big orange goldfish-- Goldie, as she has lately been christened-- captured.

The water in the lake has been reduced to a foot or so in the extreme northwest corner, and there are at least 30 great big fish there. Most will be taken Monday morning, if they survive, but getting Goldie out was a priority for everyone. Just how to do that, however, was a problem, for the water is now too shallow to float a boat and the mud on the lake floor is deep.

This is about all the water remaining in Pine Lake

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fish Capture

I stayed up stupid late last night, but awoke around 8:30 am and was down at the lake by 9:00. I'm glad I went, because I got to see something remarkable.

Two men in a flat-bottomed boat were motoring sedately around what's left of the lake, netting fish.

Be SURE to click READ MORE, below!

Empty Lake

The big pump on the berm on the western side of the lake is silent. The lake is for all practical purposes empty.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pine Green

The eastern half of the lake has been dry for several months now and is fast turning into a meadow. Note the new growth of grass, moss, and weeds.

The Lake, She is A-Drainin'

The berm around the back side of the lake is closed due to a big wheeled pump that is emptying the lake.

The water level is falling rapidly, as can be seen from the photo at top.

Today (Wednesday) fishermen were taking advantage of the situation. I anticipate more fishermen will show as the water level drops. At some point it will be possible to just wade in and grab the fish.

It's sad the aquaponics pond didn't come to fruition. I feel sorry for the fish.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flowers, 3 June

Beastly Hot

Record and Average Highs, Atlanta, Georgia
Temperatures across the South and in the Midwest have been fifteen degrees above normal for the past few days and are expected to continue. We can expect highs in the 90s for at least the next ten days. The projected high for tomorrow (Sunday) is 96F. Ouchie!

Yep, it can get hot here in Pine Lake-- but it's hot all over the place just now. When it gets hot here, it's generally hotter almost everywhere else.

When I tell people I live in Pine Lake they immediately assume I live in a brick oven. Yes, I say, it can get hot. Yes, it can get muggy. When I tell them it's not all that bad they don't believe me.

Click MORE, below, for my analysis of Atlanta's summer weather.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Lake Level Falls

I braved the warm weather Friday morning to take a walk. I left the house at 8:15, thinking I would beat the heat.


As you can see, the lake level is down a bit since the city workers knocked that hole in the drainpipe. More dry ground is visible.

Phil Howland stopped as I was walking and told me a pump will be in place by Tuesday to empty the lake. It shouldn't take long.

That means the monies for the dredging/restoration project are actually in the city's bank account. Yay!

The cold air in Phil's truck felt so good I asked him to give me a ride home, and of course he did. Thanks, Phil!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Snapping Turtle Egg-Laying Season

Common Snapping Turtle in Pine Lake's Western Wetlands
A long time ago, when I was in grad school at the University of Tennessee, I walked out the door one June morning to find a huge snapping turtle dragging itself up the gravel road beside my house.

I observed it for a while and then went on to school. When I told Gordon Burghardt, my professor, about the turtle, he wanted to know why I hadn't followed it. Clearly, he said, it was on the way to lay eggs. I could have waited, he said, and after the turtle had finally finished its business and returned to the water, dug up the eggs and brought them to him for his reptile lab.

"Right," I said. "And Dallas, by the way, where were you all last week?" I think he saw my point. But I saw his. If it had been he who had seen that turtle, he would have followed it, no matter what his schedule looked like. That's why he's a world-famous herpetologist and I'm not.

It's now egg-laying season for snappers. Someone saw one doing its business last week near the lake, and I chanced across one today in the western wetlands. It was in the grass, no doubt engaged in the egg-laying business.

I could have annoyed that snapper until it turned its head and hissed at me, and I would no doubt have gotten a great picture. But I'm not a Wild Kingdom naturalist.

If you remember the show, in every episode Marlon Perkins' man Jim Fowler was directed to wrestle a crocodile, giant constrictor, hyena, or chimpanzee into submission "for its own good"-- while Marlon watched safely from a distance.

Well, to be fair, Marlon helped sometimes.

Even as a teen I hated the contrivance of that show, and so this morning I kept my distance, getting close only with my zoom lens, annoying Mama snapper only enough to snap a photo or two from a distance of five or six feet.

Click just below to learn more about snapping turtles.