Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011

Loon Patrol

The loons are still on their nest, taking good care of their eggs, with one mate regularly out on patrol.  They seem fairly comfortable with boats passing by in the distance, but get very agitated when they approach too closely.  We have heard lots of loud complaining at various times of day.  There is now a flock of at least four comorants on the lake, but according to loon expert Ralph Kirshner, cormorants aren't usually a problem for loons. 

I saw my first sign of deer this week.  I didn't actually see it, but heard it snorting and stomping as it walked deeper into the woods.  The deer have been noticeably absent compared to year when they were so prevalent, with two families and four new fawns.  The fireflies also came out one warm evening this week, with their sparkles of light adding a touch of brightness to the summer night sky.

Red Maple

Other trees are putting out new growth now - in addition to the hemlock of last week - the maples are forming new leaves, which as in the spring, disclose their true color before they start to photosynthesize.

Sheep Laurel

There are several shrubs blooming around the shores of Lake Wicwas at the moment, one of prettiest is the Sheep Laurel.

And down low on the ground I found this bright yellow fungus - complete with a slug coming to dine on it.
Fungus and Slug
There were also some beautiful cloud formations as the sun set behind the rising cloud banks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011

It's the time of year for new creatures to be hatching around Lake Wicwas.  The first out were the canada geese;  these goslings were seen back on May 30. 
Canada Geese Family

On Thursday I saw this mother painted turtle laying her eggs in the dirt about 150 yards from the lake.
Painted Turtle Laying Eggs

The loons are making progress, as they are still on their nest - I hope they're keeping their eggs warm during this unusual cold snap.  They won't hatch for a couple of more weeks yet.  After a few warm days, the latest cold snap came in with a bang on Thursday afternoon as a cold front passed through.  In two hours the temperature dropped 23 degrees - from 89 degrees at 2:00 to 66 degrees at 4:00 as recorded at the Laconia Airport. 

Bald Eagle
On Friday there was a bald eagle soaring over the lake.  These pictures aren't very clear, but they are good enough to clearly see it's an eagle, with the white head and tail.  It was being chased by a small bird, which drove the eagle higher and higher above the lake.  It's interesting how the mighty eagle can be driven away by a much less powerful creature - kind of reminds me of Syria right about now. 

Wood Tic Waiting for a Ride

After a long stretch without seeing any tics, they have made a comeback this past week.  If you've ever wondered how they are so good at latching onto to you as you walk in the woods, this will show you how they do it.  They have evolved over the years to know to hang out on the tips of grasses with their legs outstretched, ready for anyone who's goes by and offers them a ride.


A few new wildflowers have bloomed this week, including the creeping buttercup, and yarrow, this one with an insect enjoying the sugars in the blossom..

Creeping Buttercup

New White Pine Cones

The evergreens are also putting out new growth, with the white pines growing new green pine cones like bananas, and the hemlock pushing out new, pale green tips past their prior year, dark green needles.
Hemlock New Growth

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011

Things were a little cool around Lake Wicwas this week, and I’m convinced the lake cooled back down since the warm temperatures over Memorial Day weekend.  The air temperature was in the low forties several mornings, with mist coming off the water.  The cooler weather is prolonging the flowers, with lady slippers still blooming, and the bunchberries looking very healthy and fresh.

Cinnamon Fern

I also noticed these ferns - Cinnamon Ferns - that have spires shooting up from the middle of them.  I had not seen this type of flower before.

The most exciting news is that the loons have taken up a nest!  This picture is a little blurry because I took it a long ways off, and then blew it up quite a bit.  But you can clearly the see the loon sitting comfortably on its nest, as shown by it sitting with its head up high.  When a loon on a nest is concerned, it ducks its head down low against the water, probably trying to less conspicuous, as well as preparing to dive into the water if needed. 
Loon Nest
The water level has stabilized nicely, with an additional board put back in the dam.  In fact the water rose a couple of inches, and is right at full level.  One can see how a loon nest is so sensitive to water level and waves, being so close to the water line.  Loons can barely walk on land, so they  always make their nest right at the shore's edge.  So it will be important to be careful with boat wakes to keep the waves out of the nest!  About all we can do to help a successful nesting is keep away, boat carefully, and hope for the best.