Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Out and About: Round Lake Nature Notes January 2013

        Happy New Year everyone!  New for 2013 is SNOW and lots of it.  Remember last year, our first major snowstorm held off until February twenty-ninth.  This past Christmas morning a light dusting of snow made the holiday a white one and didn't interfere with travel plans.  Two days later, we were digging out after a generous snowfall.  Perfect timing!  The sled riding hill was in full swing, new sleds, snowboards, and winter clothing all could be tried out.  Cookie calories were burned off by snow shoveling.  Two days later, more snow again.  Winter was here.
        On Christmas morning the first present I received was a beautiful glass bird ornament I found hanging from my bird feeder pole.  It was a wonderful surprise.  A few days later I found out it was the Sweets who were playing Santa.  The second gift was from Mother Nature.  After finding the ornament, I walked down by the lake with my dog and saw two Bald Eagles flying and swooping above the water.  Awesome!  On Christmas Eve day, Jeff Finkle took a kayak paddle on the lake and saw the pair.  Judy Selig saw the eagles doing  aerial acrobatics on the thirtieth of December above the Village.  Stew and Julie- keep looking up!
        Woodpeckers have been drawn to people's suet feeders, including the large Pileated Woodpeckers.  Carol Luse has been excited to have a juvenile Pileated at her feeder while I have had the adults.  I was lucky enough to have them visit on the day I was doing a bird count.  I submitted my observations to E-bird, an on-line checklist program that collects observations and tracks bird abundance and distribution.  If you are out for a walk, a spot with a lot of bird activity is towards  the end of Andrews and Peck Avenues.  Woodpeckers, White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, House and American Tree Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Cardinals flit between the woods, shrubs and yard feeders.  Go take a look!
        I have been keeping my eyes open for another Barred Owl sighting on the Zim Smith trail south of the Village.  On an early morning walk at the end of November, I looked into the woods just before the 3.0 miler marker and saw a beautiful Barred Owl staring at me.  It was sitting on top of a small dead tree, fifteen feet off the ground and about ten feet from the trail.  I kept my distance and watched it for a few minutes.  It eventually broke the staring contest, turned its head and looked in the opposite direction.  I told the three-four year old participants in my Green Hour about the sighting.  I explained that people describe the sound these owls make as "Who cooks for you"?  Zachary immediately piped up, "Daddy"!  When I asked them if owls are up during the day, Kate, who is three, replied, "No they're nocturnal like Mommy."  The adults were all impressed with Kate's accurate use of the word nocturnal. (Kate's dad had explained to her that her mom, who works nights at the hospital, is nocturnal).  Good job Kate!  In the fall, the children made a small brush pile at the edge of Schoolhouse Park.  Brush piles are used by wildlife to take shelter on really cold days and nights, as well as a retreat from predators.  We will be using our track booklets to see if we have had any visitors at the pile.  My blog, Roundlakenaturenotes.blogspot.com has a few pictures of our snow covered brush pile.
        Hope to see you out and about.  Don't forget to look up- you never know what you might see!

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