5 degrees F Clear CalmSunrise 7:13 am CST Sunset 4:42 pm CST
The Silent Season has arrived and settled in. The lake froze over yesterday morning. So now the huge flocks of seagulls with their raucous calls are gone. The several dozen swans with their musical calls are gone. The large flocks of Canada geese with their honking are gone. And of course, our beloved loons are now gone for sure if they had not left before.
Silence is here.
Last Monday we received 12-16 inches of snow! The blanket of snow silences things even more. What had been the colors of fall and the blue of the lake is now all white. Snow in pine trees paint the prettiest Christmas card. And the birds are active at the snow covered feeders.
This morning there were deer tracks in the snow within just a few feet of the house. Obviously the deer had made their way through during the night. It always surprises me that they often come that close to the house.
I was out in the western part of the state and Up North from Tuesday to Friday. ["Up North" is something that is typically Minnesotan. We always talk about going "Up North". In New York it is going 'up state'and other areas may have different expressions. But here in Minnesota it is going "Up North".]
Some of the small ponds had frozen out west and Up North but most of the lakes were still open. Including our 'loon lake' which was still open. But we got our first subzero reading on Friday night - minus 3 degrees. And the lake that had been almost totally open, except for a band of ice out from shore about 100 feet, was completely frozen over on Saturday morning.
Swans and geese and seagulls that had been there Friday night were gone in the morning.
I mentioned the USGS website to you where you can track the 17 juvenile loons that Kevin Kenow and his crew had implanted with satellite transmitters. http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html
You may want to check it out. I think you will find it very interesting. And your children's and grandchildren's teachers have a tremendous opportunity to use it as a great teaching tool.
Some of the loons are already down on the Gulf of Mexico. But surprisingly 6 were still on their northern lakes and 4 are 'enroute' when the site was last updated on Friday.
I would guess that will change dramatically the next time the locations are updated. Since most of the lakes are probably now frozen over, those juveniles will be on the move. At least hopefully they have left those lakes before they froze over. Otherwise they are doomed.
There are numerous cases of loons freezing into a lake and perishing. Whether it was because they could not fly or that they had other difficulties. But it is important that the loons are in the air before the lake freezes.
It will be very interesting to see how they move and where they go. Whereas the adults that we tracked last year all went directly over to Lake Michigan, most of the juveniles that have been migrating so far seem to be taking a more direct route to the Gulf. Once again, we have so much to learn.
Stay tuned and we will learn together.
Copyright 2014 Larry R Backlund