As always, things change at the Lake as Winter progresses. Last week had amazing ice to skate on and then there was an inch or so of snow that fell and then rain. It made for an icy crust that was good for skating. Then, there was more rain and the lake is now back to great skating although a few snowflakes fell. They should not affect the skating!
After the snow fell and then it rained, there was a slippery surface and interesting tracks were seen on the lake. It is thought that these are otters crossing the lake but wanted to have fun. The would run and then slide, run and then slide. Seems like they were a pair having fun together.
Below are these “tracks” headed toward Mink Island, why otters would go there, I don’t know.
The snow was fast and not deep and there were skate skiers out on the lake. They glide across the snow as if they were ice skating but it seems that they take longer strides, perhaps because they are also poling that gives them an extra glide.
After the skate skiers had fun, there was a time when it was hoped that the skaters would then have fun. It rained about .8 inches and was also in the 50s. This left the surface of the lake covered with ponds which were, of course, less than an inch deep. Some holes developed, especially along old cracks or around buoys, and the water on the surface drained through them leaving “holes” in the ice. Looking at these holes, the ice was 6 or 8 inches deep around the hole but there initially was open water.
As the winds picked up to make everything freeze back up, a bald eagle was headed into the wind and spent a bit of time riding the rising air as the winds rose up over the ridge of pines along the shore. The eagle then headed for Stamp Act Island. This appears to be a female because of the large beak but that is, perhaps, questionable.
We are now back to great skating. 30% of the lake is back to ice like what you would expect on an ice rink and the rest is a bit bumpy but not really a problem. The group of skaters, below, were obviously in the holiday spirit with two Santa Claus hats. They had been playing pond hockey and then skated from Red Brook Circle to Stamp Act.
The ice is quite amazing and may stay that way for awhile. The few snowflakes that have fallen won’t affect the skating but may make it harder to see cracks which are a problem if your skate goes into it. Merry Christmas to all and if you are around, get out and enjoy the lake. There are places where there is open water but they are “generally” obvious. If you go out on the lake, be smart.
This is a picture looking from the Sister Island past Stamp Act at the center of the picture. You might note some open water on the right next to Joe Island.