Mergansers migrating through

Although the lake had some ice forming a few weeks ago, the unseasonably warm stretch with temps in the 60s and 70s has kept the lake open.  And with that there’s been a steady “parade” of waterfowl on the lake.  The grebes, or helldivers, have been plentiful and there has even been a passing pair of loons.  The Canada geese are honking loudly as they fly past and then skid on the lake surface to land; their flocks seem to be getting larger as they’re preparing to migrate south in their signature V formation.

And there have been an unusually large number of hooded mergansers swimming in the lake.  I have counted up to 50 in one area, taking their turns at diving down for small fish and other food.  This evening as the sun was setting, the pink color of the sky reflected onto the lake surface as the last gasp of sunlight hit the distant shore.  Soon our lakes will freeze over and all the waterfowl will have left the northern areas and gone south in search of open water.

On the wing

The days are shorter.  The nights are colder.  The first snow of the season has fallen.  And our lakes are starting to ice over as we begin to slide into winter.  Along with all these changes there is an increase in the activity of the ducks and geese.  One of my favorites sights and sounds is a flock of Canada geese flying overhead — the beat of their wings and their honking is music to my ears.  Since I live between Lake Como and the agricultural fields of the University of Minnesota I am on the path of the geese flying from the water at the lake to the food at the agricultural crops at the U.  So many times I am stopped in my tracks to look up and appreciate their flight overhead.  I know that soon enough the majority of geese and ducks will have migrated south to warmer climes and we will return to the hush and quiet of the snow and the cold of winter.  In this week of Thanksgiving, the geese and their winged flight are one of the many things I appreciate and am thankful for.