|Liquid water - a welcome sight after the winter of 2015|
It really was a long winter. As much as I love winter and its incredible beauty, it is always reassuring and uplifting for the spirit to see the ice melt away and the fluidity of summer return. Not that it's really time for summer just yet, of course. This week was pretty cool and November-like, and there are still pockets of ice clinging on until the bitter end in the most secluded corners of the lake.
|One of the last remaining icebergs on Lake Wicwas|
|A cold and gloomy "spring" day|
With the ice retreating ever farther north from New England's lakes, most of the migratory birds have moved on - there were few to be seen this week. (Lake Winnipesaukee freed itself of ice on April 24.) But more of the Lakes Region's resident birds are returning. This morning I watched a male Wood Duck make two reconnaissance passes over the lake before skimming down onto the lake in the same cove it has nested with its mate for the past two years. It took up its decoy position out in the lake, attracting attention from its mate which should be building a well-hidden nest in the woods.
|A male Wood Duck takes up its station near the nesting site|
|Red Maples preparing for summer|
Also this week, I saw a pair of loons on the lake; I can only assume they are our nesting pair, returning to reclaim their territory for another summer in the peaceful, bountiful waters of New Hampshire.
Perhaps they will have another successful nesting in 2015.
The trails in the area are starting to dry out enough to hike on - it's a great time to be out before the biting insects arrive to detract from the experience. On a run through a hemlock/oak thicket I spooked a turkey that was scratching in the leaf debris for seeds and acorns. It was startled enough to not just walk into the woods and disappear as is usual; it was spooked sufficiently to take flight! It is quite a sight to see a bird that large - a male can weigh 18 to 24 pounds - lift off and fly up a good 30 feet into a tree, with leaves flying in every direction from the force of the air pushed down by its wings. No picture of this sudden event, but here's a photo from a few years ago that shows just how large these birds are.
|Just another small bird enjoying the feeders|
It's hard to believe something that large can get airborne so quickly.
Here's where it was digging in the trail; if you see signs like this in the woods, you'll know turkey are near by.
|Turkey scratching in the leaf debris|
I want to give a special thank you to Dave Kutcher and DAK Financial for sponsoring and organizing Clean Up Meredith 2015. A dedicated group of volunteers fanned out over Meredith to pick up trash from our roadsides. The team I was on cleaned up Meredith Center Rd from route 104 to Collins Brook Rd, Chemung Rd from Meredith Center to Swain Road, and Dow Rd. (Thank you JG, TM, DM, and LP!)
|Just part of the trash picked up from Meredith's roadsides|
The lakes region is a special place that deserves to be well cared for.
|A quiet spring morning in New Hampshire|
(Scroll down if you missed my post last Monday on ice-out in Wicwas.)