Thursday, September 17, 2009

Alder Roots with Clam Shells


6 x 6 inch watercolour

16 September 2009

Waltham Bridge Boat Launch 

17:01 This is the site of great Unionid diversity that Fred and Isabelle and JF discovered in 2001, when the river was much lower than it is now.

Just across the river from Pembroke, there is a nice picnic area that comes down by the Ottawa River. The river is 300m wide here.  Where I sit there is a picturesque  overhanging Maple.  We followed a path through poison Ivy to a point, and then doubled back a little way along the sandy, rocky shore.  Fred showed me a sandy alcove where the roots of an Alder are exposed. There is a drift of shells partially embedded in the sand - more Unionids than I have seen in one place in a long time! 

Adam has been finding Crayfish among the rocks and is having a hard time catching them, as the water is deep and the stones are large. Fred is back at the vehicle fixing his other net.  A slight breeze ruffles the reflection of the young Maples along the opposite shore, blushing soft gren, yellow, rose all mixed. A Great Horned Owl is calling, somewhere across the river, and another answers it from farther up, with a slightly higher pitched voice.  After a few minutes I can faintly hear another, in yet a different tone from downriver.

The trunk, branches and roots of the Alder take a lot of concentration to draw and I leave the clams until last. It is getting dark and I will take it back to tint in watercolour from my photo.  My preference is to complete each of my daily paintings  onsite, and I look forward to having time to do that on the main Expedition that begins in March of 2010, but this "pilot trip"is driven by the 10 day 1000 kilometre itinerary of the Orconectes immunis survey and it's a challenge for daily paintings!

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