The turtles are back

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I tried for the first time this year to slip up on the turtles lined like a row of helmets on the ledge along the bottom of our bank. I failed as usual to catch them off guard. It always happens the same way. At the first sign of my approach one starts and they all follow in a quick succession of turtle-like splashes. For a few seconds there’s nothing to see, then heads begin to bob up as individuals circle to see what caused the ruckus. I counted thirty-two before they submerged and I lost sight of them. I didn’t return later but I’m confident they were back on the ledge. It’s what the wary turtles of Goose Lake do when the day is bright and the sun is warm on the stones.

A ritual of spring

Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning through the kitchen window I noticed several dark forms just below the water’s surface of Goose Lake. Even with binoculars I couldn’t be sure what they were but leaned toward fish, maybe carp.

By afternoon the forms had multiplied several fold so I finally went out to the edge of the yard for a better look. They were clods of vegetation from the floor of the lake.

The lake turns twice a year, spring and fall, and this is, after all, spring. It’s a rather ugly reminder of spring but a reminder nevertheless and I’m grateful. When the water at the surface of the lake becomes warmer than at the bottom, whatever is down floats up for a while, long enough for the temperatures to equalize. We have few blossoms or buds yet but it won’t be much longer now. And with spring comes renewed hope.

Tidings from Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

The year begins with a beautiful day on Goose Lake. In the past few days we’ve been visited by a bald eagle and more than a dozen black vultures. Geese leave for the fields each morning and return at dusk to report the day’s events. Ducks fly here and there pretending to be on official business. Finches and sparrows are at the feeders. The sun scatters patches of diamonds across the water. I am at peace.

Some stay, some go

Hi everyone,

Over the past few days we’ve had bands of robins pause in our back yard long enough to fill up on water and rest a bit before moving on. I don’t know where they’ve come from or where they’re headed. Robins have been described as restless migrators. They don’t mind cold weather but when the ground temperature chills and drives earthworms too deep to catch, it’s time to move somewhere south until things get better.

The birds passing through here could be headed to Florida but they may not know themselves. It could be Texas or Mexico. Sometimes they fly in large numbers, but not always. Sometimes they may not make more than 40 miles in a day, but in good conditions they might fly 200 miles. Sometimes they sing as they fly along, sometimes they hold their songs until they reach their destination and start thinking about sex.

Robins tend to scatter out when they reach warmer temperatures. During their winter months they may take a worm now and then but mostly they prefer berries and other fruit. I can’t blame them for that. Who wants worm breath during mating season!

Meanwhile, other birds stay right here, hunker down when the cold wind blows, but otherwise carry on. Our bird feeders are busy social places. Some of our guests prefer to dine lakeside on brilliant mornings.