The level of the Charles River where Millennium Park in West Roxbury meets Cutler Park in Dedham and Needham is now so low that somebody who doesn't mind getting their calves wet - and maybe sinking into some mud - could easily wade across at its narrowest points.
The river, never very deep in this stretch anyway, has receded so much in the current drought that wide swaths of former river bottom are now covered with new land plants, water lilies struggle to survive in mud - some are still managing to put out flowers - and everything from mussels and snails to old tires that now lie exposed to the bleaching effects of the sun. With so little water flowing through this section of the river, all it takes is a stiff breeze to seemingly reverse the river's course.
Water lily now more of a mud lily:
The shrunken river, and the ability to walk on dryish land that would normally be underwater, is good for bird watchers: Herons, egrets, ducks, geese and other birds all made appearances this afternoon:
An egret walks across the river:
Heron next to what would normally be an underwater rock:
Shore bird in the middle of where the river used to be:
The receding waters have left fresh-water bivalves and snails to dry up in the sun:
Sawmill Brook, which normally flows around one side of Millennium Park into the Charles, is now just a series of shrinking little pools:
The Charles normally reaches to at least the last step at the boat launch:
Some kind of structure, likely left over from Millennium Park's days as the Boston landfill, now juts above the water that normally covers it:
A bit further upstream, at the dam that lets Charles River water flow into the Neponset, a water-level gauge shows the dropping river, in shades of rust and river deposits:
And further upstream from that, at Wellesley, a USGS graph shows the drop in the amount of water flowing in the Charles:
The top of Millennium Park is also showing the effects of the lack of rain: