Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013

This is what we need - the first spring wildflower at Lake Wicwas!
Trailing Arbutus (Mayflower)


I saw the first one, a Trailing Arbutus, on April 26 - right on its usual schedule even with the cold spring.

The lake is still seeing some cold mornings with frost forming,

April Frost

but even with the cold nights the lake is warming up - the temperature is nearing 50 degrees in shallow water near shore.  The water was extremely clear for my first kayak trip, though I didn't see much activity in the water, only a few fish and painted turtle.  I did see a single Sandpiper on a rocky shoreline;  perhaps it is a Spotted Sandpiper.

Sandpiper
This bird has some amazing camouflage.

We took a long walk up through the Hamlin/Eames/Smyth conservation area on Saturday, as I wanted to get one more hike in when one can walk slowly and enjoy the world before the attack of the insects.  Plus, this time of year, with the leaves off the trees, the visibility into the forest is so much better.  We saw deer and a red fox on our trip, and even found some ice left in the pools below the white mountain ledge.  It was a peaceful, serene walk, accompanied only by nature without a single human encounter.  The wealth and diversity of nature and beauty in this protected forest is truly a gift to be treasured.
The last Ice - on the Lower Ridge Red Trail

Around the lake, the birds are very active in their mating and territorial behavior.  The geese are the most noticeable, aggressively protecting "their" property.
Protecting its Property
video

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The loons are much more proper and composed, but no less effective or determined in their mission, as this pair was firmly escorting an interloper out of a cove it had claimed as its own.
Loons Escorting an Interluder from their Cove
Today there was a solitary loon floating all afternoon and evening in our cove.  Perhaps it was the same one, looking for a mate to come along and find Lake Wicwas.  Could it be our new loon that hatched on the lake last summer?

There was a pair of pileated Woodpeckers performing a mating dance around an oak tree.
Pileated Woodpeckers
 

Last year there were two males portraying similar behavior, but this time it is one male and one female - the female indicated the lack of a red "mustache".

One calm, sunny morning just after sunrise there were several Song Sparrows out serenading their mates from the branches hanging over the lake.
Song Sparrow Singing in the Morning Sun


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So as the last vestiges of winter dissipate from Lake Wicwas, new life is evident everywhere, bringing with it renewal and hope, even as we grieve what we have lost. I wasn't quite up to putting it in words last week, but when I saw the Osprey - also knows as a Fishhawk because it is one of nature's most proficient fishers - soaring over Bev and Chuck's house, presenting a fish in its talons, I couldn't help but think it was showing its respect to Lake Wicwas' greatest fisherman.

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