This is for my friends who follow my Blog to read about The Lake and it's unique wildlife and my stories about them.
Apart from the Fish and the Mosquitoes, 90% of the visible species of wildlife on The Lake are Birds. Actually, come to think of it there aren't all that many mosquitoes. I wonder why that is? Everyone thinks that there are a lot of mosquitoes around lakes, but I think that may be a misnomer. Could it be because mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and with such a huge amount of water in The Lake they don't have to look for little pools, they just get lazy and lay them right there in The Lake where the layers and the layees become a tasty snack for the minnows that abound there. One supposes that mosquitoes lay their future issue in still, dank, stagnant water and maybe they do usually, but The Lake is often so still that it is like a mirror and it fools them into laying their precious cargo there - or maybe like us, they are just lazy. Anyway, I don't see a whole lot of mosquitoes around here.
As I said, most of the wildlife around The Lake is in the form of our wonderful and hugely varied bird population. Today's short stories are about two of those birds.
The first story is about a Cormorant that Julia saw last week, just one, on it's own and just once. It must have been lost or on its way somewhere else when it stopped in for a quick snack. Some of you will remember that earlier in the year when I first saw the Cormorant "Invasion", I had been concerned enough to call the Dept of Natural Resources. There were at times 50 or more of these fascinating diving birds here, all feasting on "My" fish! The DNR assured me that they were just passing through on their way north - to the Great Lakes, and sure enough in a few weeks they had disappeared. The DNR also told me that the Cormorants are making quite a comeback all over this area, having been almost extinct once in The Chesapeake Bay. In the Great Lakes they have rebounded from a few dozen pairs to a few thousand pairs today. Another success story - unless you are a fish!
The second story occurred today. Julia was doing her civic duty and carefully keeping watch on all of her charges, otherwise known as 'The Lake's Wildlife,' when she spotted one of her favorites, an Osprey, who dived into The Lake right in front of her and came up with a big fish. Now here is where we learned something, apparently the fish is often killed right away. We know this is not always the case because to our horror we have often watched the Osprey perched in a tree eating a still struggling fish. But don't worry about us, we are used to this now! Anyway we know this fish was dead because the Osprey dropped it into The Lake and it just floated. We watched for some time expecting the fish to be just stunned and to suddenly come to life and swim away. But it just bobbed along on the little wavelets. The Osprey did a couple of fly-bys right over the body and then flew away. We could not understand that, he had already caught it, now all he had to do was pick it up. Mind you, it was a very big fish, but I doubt if that was the problem, I guess they just don't eat dead things and maybe he wasn't smart enough to know that he had just caught and killed it himself!
After that we got to wondering what was going to happen to the fish body. You hadn't wondered about things like that? Too much other important stuff to think about? Well why don't you break out of that rut and just spend a couple of minutes thinking about what will happen to the dead fish. Julia's immediate thought was, "The Buzzards will get it." But the Buzzards don't go onto the water. My response was, "Yes, when it reaches the shore." So her reply was, "If the crabs don't get it first." Of course it will also have to run the gamut of the other fish, the minnows and any other bird that spots it. If it, or any of it's remains do somehow make the shore and it is nighttime, there is not much chance that it will escape the notice of the Raccoons or the Possum, not forgetting any hungry cats or dogs. There are doubtless other unseen night creatures that search the shore line at night. All these ensure that we rarely, if ever are subjected to nasty smells around our perfect piece of heaven. Night, night, sleep tight.