Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 2012

It's certainly Wood Duck migration season in the northeast.  All weekend there were large flocks of wood ducks visiting Lake Wicwas on their way to their winter home in the southern part of the united states.  They started to congregate in the evenings just before sunset.  First a group of five or six would come into the cove, then another group would come along and join them, drifting around a bit while they decided where to put down anchor for the night. 
Wood Ducks
 A third, or even a fourth group would add to the flock.  One night there were 20, the next there were 27, more than I've ever seen, so their population seems to growing.

Less than a hundred years ago, wood ducks were just about absent from most of their range, due to over-hunting for their meat and their colorful feathers. 

But the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 started their path to recovery.  They also had help from beavers in their recovery.  Beavers, which themselves had been exterminated by trapping for their pelts, were reintroduced to central New England in 1921.  Their habitat-building creates ideal wetland environments for wood ducks and aided their recovery.  It's another example of how species are interrelated, and losing one species can have a ripple effect others.

On the topic of birds, yes, the loon chick is still  here, as is at least one of it parents.  The two were fishing together, and even though junior is almost as big as the adult, the parent is still catching fish for it.
Mother and Daughter?

Or Father and Son?

The geese are still on the lake as well;  perhaps they know it's hunting season, and are hiding in plain sight where they blend right in with the rocks.

As for human activity, it is declining along with the temperatures.  There are still a few boats left on the lake, but only three or four,

and most of the docks are out of the water.

Someone even is giving us an early warning about the coming season, though I think at this point it is pretty evident.

The lake level is a few inches below full, and draining rapidly, with all the boards out of the dam.  There should be enough time to give Lake Wicwas a nice reserve capacity for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.  Late October has been a stormy time the last couple of years - remember last October?

October 30, 2011
Let's hope we avoid a repeat of this scene with this storm!

1 comment:

  1. Scott,
    Love these photos! I haven't been up that way for an unexcusable amount of time. These photos are inspiration enough to make it a family destination spot. Thanks.

    Happy Holidays to you and the family!

    Best wishes,
    Rick, Lauren, and Olivia Willard