Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7, 2013

It's still looking pretty wintery around Lake Wicwas as we start the second week of April.
10+ Inches of Ice Still Cover Lake Wicwas
Snow Hangs on in Well Shaded Areas

There are only narrow open areas along the south and west facing shorelines, and even those froze over in many places last night as the temperature dipped into the mid-twenties.

Where the shore is shaded from the sun the ice is still firm right to the shore.  I didn't venture out too far, but cutting holes as I went I found 10-12 inches of ice with the greater depths farther out from shore.

Although we did see a pair of Wood Ducks today in the skinny slice of wetness.
The First Wood Ducks of 2013

They weren't looking too happy with the situation.

They hopped up onto shore a couple of times looking for possible nesting sites, which are usually in hollow trees and can be as much as a mile from the lake - a good reason to leave dead trees standing rather than cutting them down. 

Woods Ducks have many predators, including raccoons, squirrels, and minks among others, that will go after eggs in the nest as well as the mother.  For this reason the mother calls her chicks out of the nest cavity (which may be dozens of feet above the ground) at a very early stage, sometimes even before they have all hatched.  Any not strong enough to make the leap and the crash landing will perish.  Next, the journey on foot from nest to lake provides another prime opportunity for predation, so the closer to the lake the better - another reason to leave standing snags close to the lake.  Once in the water, the chicks are still vulnerable to snapping turtles, snakes, and large mouth bass.  It's a tough childhood!

I went out searching for signs of spring, and I'm sorry to say they were in short supply.  The blueberry buds, though growing, are still tightly wrapped.

And the laurel leaves are still curled and droopy.

About the best I could find were buds on the Red Maple which are swelling and turning red.

With warmer weather forecast for the next few days, perhaps we see some progress next week....

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