It really is November, past the middle of it, actually. The first part of the month had some very cold weather and some wind and the leaves are off the trees other than some left on the oaks and beeches. The lake temperature is dropping and small ponds and some swampy areas are now frozen. As you might imagine, there isn’t much boat traffic…….
Along the shores, the waves splash up on the surrounding shrubs and coat them with ice. Once the lake freezes, this doesn’t happen but at this time of year interesting ice formations occur along the shore.
The sand beaches often have records of who was there. At this spot, lots of little birdie feet are in evidence along with some oak leaves. This section of sand is frozen but the top 1/8th of an inch is loose and sugary so the footprints show very well.
As the water level drops to its winter level, the waves create little ridges and behind this ridge is some of the left over ice formed by the wind and waves. Lowering the lake prevents damage to the shores associated with the ice. The ice moves around, expands and contracts and can cause damage to docks and walls that have been built at the water’s edge. Taking the water level down prevents some of this damage but it also is a problem for animals that burrow into the mud to spend the winter.
There are still some ducks on the lake and a flock of Common Goldeneyes was recently seen. These three ducks are mallards (possibly black ducks). They are taking advantage of the lower lake levels for their feeding. They are “dabbling ducks” in that they tip upside down to get food off the bottom. They don’t dive so they are limited to the areas of the lake that they can reach when they are upside down. With the change in lake level, they have new places to eat.
And yes, they do have to come up for air.