It is such a special and beautiful time of year here in the Catskills….the sweet scents, sights and sounds of nature fill the senses. Last Wednesday the hemlock trees released their pollen, and as the sun rose during my morning walk, the trail and surrounding surfaces were carpeted with gold - by afternoon the pollen had also coated our car, the deck, and most everything in its path. The songs of the birds who have returned north and are now nesting make cheerful awakenings each morning, and this week we’ve enjoyed the fragrance from the lavender lilacs and wild honeysuckle, (a favorite of John Burroughs) whose spiky cream-colored flowers light up our Catskill landscapes.
These colorful blossoms coincide with the appearance of the Grey Fox hatch. The Grey Fox is a mayfly that looks like a smaller (size #14) version of the March Brown, which is a large fly (sizes #8 and #10). Despite their name, Grey Foxes are more of a cream/light tan color, rather than grey, with light brown markings on their legs. The Grey Foxes should continue on through mid-July. Various sizes of caddis flies and Blue-Winged-Olives round out the hatches that are occurring this week.
The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 390 cubic feet per second on Tuesday morning, May 23. This is below the average flow of 551 cfs over 102 years of record-keeping. The East Branch Delaware River at Fishs Eddy was just at the average flow; registering 914 cubic feet per second in comparison to the 61-year average of 918 cfs. With the air temperature fluctuating from the low 40s over the past few mornings to a high of 90 degrees last Thursday and Friday, water temperatures have also been all over the chart - interestingly, both the Beaverkill and the East Branch Delaware at Fishs Eddy registered from a low of 48 degrees last Tuesday morning to a high of almost 67 degrees F on Friday afternoon.