|Friday, March 18 - The last of this short winter's ice|
It's quite a change from last year - remember what the lake looked like in March 2015?
|March 21, 2015 - A much different look three days later than this year's ice-out|
|Male Wood Duck|
|Male Hooded Merganser|
They didn't hang around long, but their departure showed their distinctive markings on their wings and bodies.
Finally, a threesome of Common Mergansers came by, two males and one female. The female had chosen her mate, but the jilted male continued to pursue the pair, with the female occasionally chasing it away - I would have guessed the male would have done that. Following behind her chosen one, the female swam for a long distance in very strange position - perhaps showing her submission?
The trails are all cleared of snow now so we should have several weeks of great hiking before the bugs make their appearance. It's a great time to be out in the woods with the visibility so much greater than when the leaves are on the trees blocking the sight lines. In one large melt puddle that collected in a depression I saw large masses of debris floating on the surface.
Closer inspection revealed there was actually some kind of life flourishing there.
|Countless numbers of emerging creatures|
And even closer inspection told us they were snow fleas! (Linda guessed it!)
We saw these on the snow a few weeks ago and now I know where and how they develop. It appears that they hatch out as a pink color, then change rapidly to orange, then on to their mature black color.
|Transitioning from larvae to adults|
Based on their inefficient mode of transportation (see February 28 post) I wonder how they manage to get from their hatching puddles to become so well distributed throughout the forest.
Even after a short winter it is a beautiful sight to behold the sun reflecting off liquid water rather than ice. I can't wait to discover what wonders the lake will reveal to us this year.