Lake levels recede, focus back on the wildlife

I ignored the water fowl sightings in my last two columns because I was ranting about the lake water level. If the water management folks had reacted with common sense, they wouldn't have missed the opportunity to have the lake level two feet lower than it was at the time of the recent storms. The lake was high all fall and we had continuing rainfall, yet the draw-down was kept at a minimum. Then boom, we got a 70 inch snowfall in the month of December and we had the perfect storm situation: full groundwater, lake too full, and a big pile of snow guaranteed to melt sometime before May 1. Most docks were under water when the big wind blew, creating 18 hours of havoc.

The waterfowl seem to be at a minimum, but if you keep looking, some interesting critters are bound to go by. A handsome, lonely loon was paddling along, not diving and not crying. We saw a group of eight female mergansers swimming north. Perhaps it is the same group that was born early in the spring of 2010 and the ducks were about three-quarters grown last October. Interestingly enough, there were no male mergansers, which is strange as this is the season, shall we say.

The same mammal has been seen going north to south three times, about 50 feet offshore. There seems to be some sort of purpose to his trip, as he comes into view, passes by, and moves on south without a pausing or swinging his head around at all.

The pair of buffleheads seems to have moved on. However, there was a group of six to eight females just north of the perch activity. I have talked with the fisher-folk in their boats and they say that the fishing has been very good.

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