Sunday, June 26, 2011

Basil Brook, Shelton

This is the story of a little brook, so small it didn't even have a name until a few weeks ago. It babbled through some back woods, forming swampy ponds when it rained, and drying up when it didn't. Eventually the City bought most of the woods and started building the Shelton Lake Recreation Path through the woods, often right alongside the brook. But no one knew what to call the little stream. The picture above shows the Far Mill River with the little brook coming in on the left. I had to bushwhack from Sycamore Drive to get to this spot, which is located north of Buddington Road.

There is a magnificent stand of Stinging Nettles where the two streams meet, located exactly where I wanted to stand to get a photo. The hairs on the stem are the little stingers. Yes, I did get stung.

Here's some Royal Fern .... much safer to walk past. I found Royal Fern in several places along the entire length of this brook and a huge stand of it in the headwaters.

Let's follow the little brook upstream. The only place you can see the brook from a road is right here, at the intersection of Wesley and Sycamore Drives (see map).

If you walk up Wesley Drive a few hundred yards and go right on the newly constructed Rec Path, you may hear the brook babbling. Very shortly, you'll see it, too.

A few weeks ago, the Board of Aldermen voted to name the brook "Basil Brook" in honor of Basil Dikovsky, who owns the land to the right of the Rec Path in the photo above. Mr. Dikovsky donated some of his land here a few years ago so that the handicapped-accessible Path wouldn't have to climb up that steep slope to the left.

The Rec Path climbs gradually to this scenic overlook of the Basil Brook Valley. Although the Rec Path is located on City property, the brook and valley -- everything in the photo above -- are owned by Mr. Dikovsky.

If it's been raining, you can hear the sound of a waterfall off in the distance before the path crosses Wesley Drive again. A side trail leads to the waterfall, although recent construction of the Path obliterated the trail entrance. I'm sure the side trail will be restored at some point.

After the upper Wesley Drive crossing, the Rec Path first passes an associated vernal pool (the tadpoles were jumping) then comes alongside Basil Brook for a spell. This section of the Path is still under construction.

The haybales placed alongside the Rec Path for sediment and erosion control are sprouting quite the bumper crop of mushrooms.

And there it is, our little "Crab Apple Bridge," so named because the nearest street is Crab Apple Circle. It crosses the brook, so maybe we'll start calling it the Basil Brook Bridge.

The brook is flowing pretty strong for this time of year. Most of this water is draining out of a big wooded swamp immediately upstream from the bridge, just around the bend in the photo above.

Here's the source of Basil Brook, a big swamp. Last summer it dried up completely.

Very soon a new section of Rec Path will be constructed from the Crab Apple Bridge, along the banks of the swamp, and out to the powerlines. Survey flagging is all there is for now.

Not quite finished. Coming out onto the powerlines, the old Rec Path route (and White Trail) crosses this little streamlet that feeds into the swamp. So maybe this should really be called the beginning of Basil Brook. Such humble beginnings!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Polyphemus Moth

This huge female Polyphemus Moth was hanging out in front of the house.

Check out those fake eyes!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dust Devil, Shelton

This video was taken from my Droid at the new Community Garden location. Machinery had been working over the soil to remove rocks, so it was really dry and dusty.