May 22, 2008

Bird Watching on Savage Lake

This has been a specially good May for bird watching on Savage lake. Early in the month, when the temperatures were barely above freezing, I walked down to my dock and surprised three large loons. I've heard that Minnesota's "greater loons" were large birds, but I was surprised at how large they really are. When the three startled birds rose from the water and flew to the middle of the lake, at first I thought the were geese. Really large geese. Immediately, I realized they were different birds because of their coloring and shape, but I didn't identify them as loons until they settled back into (I mean into) the water. I watched them patrol the lake for more than an hour before going to work that morning.

Our yard has been decorated with a variety of yellow winged and breasted birds. If I were more of a birder, I'd know what they are, but I know they are unusual for our yard entertainment. We have two sets of wood ducks nesting in our duck houses, also. Red wing blackbirds are back. Robins, too. At least three different types of woodpeckers. And the usual finches, sparrows, and bug eaters. For a week in late April, we had a lot of seagulls and even a severely lost pelican.

The black birds are keeping the hawks and eagles from getting too comfortable, but we did loose one early baby goose to a bald eagle in the first week of May. Snatched it right off of our beach. I've never seen that before.

On the mammal front, a pair of muskrats are making a home under one of our beech trees. I hope they survive this year. We've lost every family of muskrats who have come to our lake in the last five years.

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