Friday, October 22, 2010 11:43pm CDT

45 degrees  Full Moon [Harvest Moon]   Absolutely calm
We have been sitting out enjoying the brilliant full moon, the Harvest Moon, and the absolutely clear sky.
There is a nip in the air.  But with it being perfectly calm, it is quite comfortable.  The lake is like a sheet of glass with not a ripple.  The far shore is reflected perfectly in the mirror surface of the lake.  The outline of the trees.  The lights from homes where people are still awake.
There are a couple bonfires on the far shore and the sound of voices of people enjoying the night as well.
What a beautiful night after an equally beautiful day with warm sunshine and stunning blue sky.
I have not seen any signs of loons on the lake for almost 2 months now.  Oh, it would be so interesting to know where our loons went and where they are now.
I hope that you have been following the loons with the implanted satellite transmitters on the USGS website.
As you probably know by now, both Minnesota loons that had transmitters implanted have made their way to Lake Michigan.  The first one left unusually early and was subsequently found dead on the shores of Green Bay.  He had died from aspergillosis, commonly just called asper.
The second loon left Lake Sagatagan, his home lake, last weekend and made his way to Lake Michigan near Racine, Wisconsin.  His last location was off the far northern suburbs of Chicago.
Four of the other Wisconsin loons have also made their way to Lake Michigan.
Now it gets really exciting as we watch to see which routes they take and where they end up for their wintering grounds.  So check the website often.  The USGS personnel are going to try to update the website a couple times a week.
We have had an unusually mild fall so far.  The last few weeks have been warm and dry and with bright blue skies.  There have been a couple light frosts but no freeze here so far and many of the flowers are still blooming.  About half of the trees have lost their leaves and the red oaks are brilliant reds and burgundies and maroons.  It has been just spectacular.
But we savor each day because it will not be long before the temperatures drop and the first snow flurries fly.  In fact, the latest forecast is for the temperature to begin to drop next week with the first possibility of snow flurries.  We can get some heavy snow this time of year but that is unusual.  We usually do not get our first snow that stays on the ground until Thanksgiving.  That is also the same time that the lake usually freezes.
So if the young loons from this year have not left by then, they are in trouble.
Last week I was taking the dock in when I saw an eagle circling over the lake.  I just sat on the end of the dock that remained and watch.  At first I wasn't positive that it was an eagle.  He was high in the sky and it was hard to tell for sure.  But then as he made a turn, the bright sunlight illuminated his dazzling white head and tail against the azure blue sky and there was no doubt.  It was a mature bald eagle.
He circled round and round.  And he dove toward the surface of the lake a couple times.  But I did not see him catch any fish.
Then I heard the high pitched squeak of another eagle.  I looked but I could not see him.  Then he came over the trees behind me and the two eagles circled each other over the lake.  After about 5 minutes, a third eagle join them in their aerial dance.  I felt so lucky to be able to sit and watch this on such a beautiful warm fall day with blue sky and blue water and bright sunshine.  The things memories are made of.
I have never been able to come to terms with the call of an eagle.  Such a majestic large bird needs a call more in keeping with its look.  Some majestic beautiful call.  Not the high pitched flimsy screech that is the call of a  bald eagle.
Soon the three of them gradually flew off to the east and out of sight beyond the trees.  But they were mine for those magical moments.
i keep waiting for the seagulls to arrive but they haven't yet.  I am not sure if it is because of the mild weather and they are still coming, or if they just flew over us this fall.
Every spring and fall thousands of seagulls arrive and stay on the lake for a couple weeks as they migrate.
And what a racket they make!
All night long, the sound is almost deafening.
And then one day they are just gone.  They have moved on.  North in the spring and south in the fall.  But so far this fall they have not arrived.  Oh, there have been the usual couple dozen seagulls that normally hang around the lake.  But not the flocks of thousands that arrive almost like clock work.
But for now these beautiful mild days are wonderful for all the fall chores and preparations.  The last produce from the garden.  The delicious fall raspberries.  All stored away for enjoyment in the middle of winter.  And the enjoyment of the flowers that await that night when frost will end their season with a unchangeable finality.
May your life be filled with wonder and an appreciation of all that is around you.  And may you enjoy not only this time of year, may you enjoy friends and family like you never have before.
And as we watch the loons, may we once again be reminded of the richness of the circle of life.