|Bat with white-nose syndrome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.|
Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
White-nose syndrome is a non-native fungus which most likely arrived from Europe. [Ref: American Society for Microbiology] The bat I saw was much larger than the ones we used to see by the dozen every night. We would toss a pebble in the air and two or three of them would swoop towards it as they picked up the object on their sonar. Most likely the bat I saw was a big brown bat which is less affected by white-nose syndrome and which may be increasing in population as the little brown bats have disappeared.
In a timely occurrence with Andrew Timmins' bear presentation at the Lake Wicwas Annual Meeting, there have been several bear sightings around the lake in the past two weeks, two of which were seen along Chemung Rd.
|A Black Bear I saw near the lake last year.|
There are still lots of blueberries on the bushes, and the black cherries and hobblebush viburnum are now ripening, all of which attract the bears.
The good berry season will help fatten these eating machines up for the winter.
A couple of Kayakers saw two bears on Sheep Island on Thursday partaking in the blueberry crop. We met them (the kayakers, not the bears) when we were collecting samples for water testing with two members of the NH Department of Environmental Services, Ari Libenson, DES intern, and Clark Freise, DES Assistant Commissioner.
|Dave Thorpe and Ari collect a water sample while Clark Freise (left) and I "assist". Photo by Marge Thorpe|
We collected water samples from several locations around the lake and from depths of 30 feet up to the surface. The testing provides data for many important water quality factors including dissolved oxygen, transparency, pH, E. coli, and phosphorus. Last year's testing indicated the water quality in Lake Wicwas remains good, with the only areas of concern being pH and phosphorus.
|Summary of 2018 water testing|
This years results will be posted soon - you can find all of last year's results as well as historical data going back 13 years on the Lake Wicwas website or by clicking here. Special thanks go to Dave and Marge Thorpe for once again providing aquatic transportation for the collection, and for their ongoing support of the Volunteer Lake Assessment Progam (VLAP) and their commitment to water quality in New Hampshire.
|Dave and Marge Thorpe with Ari on their boat "Wicwas"|
Finally, our loon parents continue to be very dedicated to protecting their two chicks, Harley and Davidson, from the many other loons on the lake. We regularly hear wild calls when they are defending them from some intruder. Bill Mackie was able to capture some amazing video of the effort these birds put into driving competitors away from the chicks. You can watch it here at this link.
Thank you Bill for sharing this unique experience! It's no wonder these birds eat so much considering the calories they must consume in these battles, including some pretty big fish.
|One of the parents swallows a good size sunfish.|
|Down it goes.|