Monday, April 11, 2011
Loons and Eagles and Herons- Oh My !!
On Saturday, April 9, I paddled out on Round Lake and down the outlet. There were four Common Loons swimming and diving in the middle of the lake. There were a couple of hundred Double-Crested Cormorants on the lake with Gulls and Common Mergansers. A juvenile Bald Eagle was skimming over the ducks and gulls. It was lunch time! Tree Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles were at the inlet, where I put in my kayak, as well as, down the outlet. I was most interested in what was going on down at the Great Blue Heron rookery. The outlet is flooded out and very wide. The beaver dam that I couldn't get my boat over back in the fall, is below the water level now. I saw a goose trying to make itself invisible on top of a beaver lodge. She must be nesting. As I got closer to the rookery I realized I had not seen any Herons yet. Looking ahead towards the nest site my heart sank as I could only see a couple of nests. When I finally got to the area there were two and a half nests. A Heron did fly over but didn't stop at the nests which were empty. I have been keeping track of Heron nest activity for the last several years. My notes indicate that there have been Herons at the nests by mid-March. They seem to repair the nests, steal sticks from other nests for their own, and occupy the nests by this date. The number of nests has steadily declined over the last several years. In 2007 there were 23 nests. In 2008 there were 15 active nests. Last year there were four nests with only one occupied by Herons. I was in the vicinity for about 45 minutes and no herons came to the nests. I paddled further down the outlet and saw what looked like a double beaver lodge- they're building condos! I got to see a beaver swimming with a stick. I paddled back to the lake, seeing two Herons flying around by the eastern shore. I spotted a mature Bald Eagle in a tree by the inlet. I was hoping for a great photo-op but it started flying right towards me. I put my paddle way up in the air and truly felt like a sitting duck. It veered to the left right in front of me and then flew back towards me. I continued to keep my paddle up and splashed water. No need for binos or a camera. I could see the Eagle very clearly. It then turned and flew off to the south. Maybe it never had seen a tie-dyed kayak before! Great day on the lake!