Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

There was a lot going on around Lake Wicwas this holiday weekend, both human and wild.  Of course, there were lots of boats on the water and fourth of July parties everywhere, but most exciting was that the loon chick has survived its first, critical week.  I have not seen it, but others have;  the parents have been giving it rides on their back (which also keeps it safe from ever-hungary predators, like large mouth bass and snapping turtles) and catching small fish to feed it.  I have no pictures, but here's one from a previous successful nesting on Wicwas.

The weather was pretty wild as hurricane Arthur passed to our east, bringing strong winds and whitecaps, but the family found safe harbor in one of the many protected coves around the lake.

On Sunday morning there was a loon parade, celebrating the fourth of July a little late, maybe postponed by the weather like the Meredith fireworks.  There was one leader - the drum major - way out in front, with five others following along.
Independence Day Parade on Lake Wicwas

I don't know what caused the parade behavior, but I again wonder if it has to do with distracting loons away from the new chick.  We are expecting to have a speaker from the Squam Lakes Science Center at the Lake Wicwas Association annual meeting on August 2nd - maybe we'll get some answers about all this interesting bird activity.

When one of the loons did a "foot-wag" it revealed an identification band put there to help track and understand loons.  I was not able to discern the colors well enough to identify the band - I could only see some green and perhaps some yellow - maybe we'll get another chance in the coming days.
A Fuzzy Leg Band
And speaking of bands, our proud new father received its own band just this week.  Late one night a group of biologists and local loon watchers carefully capture the male loon and placed a band on its leg.  This will let us see if the same pair has been returning to Lake Wicwas year after year.  They also made note of the bird's health and other key parameters.  He was set loose unharmed and was back with the family the next day.

Another diving bird has been living on Lake Wicwas:  a Cormorant.  You may see it perching high in a pine tree near the middle of the lake.  I found it resting on the end of a fallen tree one morning.

The warm weather has encouraged the mushrooms to grow.  These tiny Orange Mycenas had just emerged on a old rotting log.
Orange Mycena (Mycena leaiana)

These fungi start out their lives with this bright orange color, and then fade as they mature.  These were only half an inch in diameter, but can grow up to one and a half inches across.

They have some useful properties, including an orange pigment and a slight anti-bactierial property.  It is not considred edible, though I didn't find any evidence saying that it is poisonous.

Another mushroom growing now must not be poisonous, at least to chipmunks and squirrels!  This new sample didn't even to push its way clear of the forest debris before someone decided to feast on it.

A healthy meal for Chipmunk

And there was at least one other non-poisonous treat that got consumed immediately upon emerging:

There was nothing left of this by July 5th!

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