The ice is gone and boaters can return! A few brave boaters were out before the ice was declared “out” because the ice in the the bays were not blocking their destinations. Be safe if you go out on the lake, the water is just warmer than freezing, so hypothermia is a real threat. If you are going to venture out in a boat that could tip, even if it is a low probability, please be sure to wear a life preserver at all times and travel close to shore when possible.
If you aren’t at the lake yet, but are dreaming of being here, I will share some of my recent observations. Cate Island on the left and Mink in the middle were reflected perfectly on a glassy and still morning. The day was a bit chilly but the sun and no wind made it a nice time to be on the lake.
Loons are back and at least six have been seen or heard on the lake. You see a pair in one part of the lake and then another pair in a very different part of the lake and they you hear another pair call way far away. That makes six loons. This is not a problem for nesting territories so it may be a good sign. The water is also very high at the moment. The lake will be brought down to the “Summer level” so instead of having it below that level and then having the level rise when the loons nest and then flood their nests, the loons should be able to lay eggs above the water line and be successful. Yes, we hope that raccoons and other animals, including dogs, don’t cause problems but there is hope.
The common mergansers are back. At least a dozen pairs have been seen and the coloration of the pair is wonderful. The female is the more bland of the two, with a reddish head and gray body. We will see the females through out the summer while they take care of their ducklings. The male is the more brilliant of the pair sporting his breeding plumage with a bright green head. He will spend the summer over on the coast, leaving his mate behind to raise their young.
Tree swallows are in migration and have been seen around the lake. They have sparkling blue backs and white fronts and are seen chasing bugs over the lake. They sometimes take bugs off the water but often fly and flit around near the lake surface.
A little cousin of the Common Merganser is the Hooded Merganser. The male has a dramatic white crest while the female is demure so she can nest without drawing attention.
Migrating birds often show up on the lake and surrounding ponds. Here are two different kinds of teal. The left is a blue winged and the right is a green winged teal. The female are basically brown as they sit on the nest and try not to be seen. They look like female mallards, but a bit smaller. This is not true of the males who want to be seen and appreciated by the females.