A bird stares intently, seemingly focused on an errant feather stuck to his beak.
But that’s not what this juvenile Bald Eagle is watching. Perched on the high bluff behind our Lake Allegan home, the raptor has a sweeping view of the water below. That view includes Eagle Island.
You can probably guess how that island got its name.
Continue reading From Shallows to Swamp?
Image Credits: Carol Doeringer.
I counted seven swans-a-swimming.
The beautiful birds were not a precious gift from my true love, as the holiday song suggests. Instead, Mute Swans are quite common on Lake Allegan, which our home overlooks. Their graceful movement and luminous white plumage always command my attention. While not totally silent as their name implies, Mute Swans are blissfully quiet compared to the loudmouth Canada Geese that also frequent our lake.
And then there’s the ugly part: These lovely birds are invasive thugs.
Continue reading A Surplus of Swans
Image Credits: Carol Doeringer, E. Spicer.
Mites and lice and fleas: Oh my!
Have you ever watched a scratching squirrel? Those little paws move incredibly fast, and I swear, their under-the-armpit maneuvers mimic taking a shower. I wrote a blog post about itchy squirrels a year ago, surmising that their den was infested with fleas. This past week, quite a few creatures’ itchy behavior caught my eye: the squirrels, a juvenile bald eagle, adult and juvenile swans, and two kinds of ducks—goldeneyes and mergansers.
So, what’s with all the picking, poking, biting, and scratching?
Continue reading Scratch that Itch!
There’s nothing more graceful than a swan swimming on perfectly still water.
We see swans quite often on Lake Allegan. They’re drawn to the weedy, shallow water surrounding Eagle Island, a few hundred yards from our home. Swans mate for life, and they’re social creatures. So usually, they feed in pairs—or herds or banks or bevies—of six or eight (who comes up with these collective nouns?).
So, when a solo swan floated nearby for days, I wondered if something was amiss.
Continue reading Solitary Swan