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Field Notes No. 10 (Dec 4, 2011)

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, noon
Cloudy, 25 degrees F., west wind. Started at shelter and walked around both lakes. Dusting of snow on ground. Paved trail was mostly dry but wet in places with some ice. City has posted signs that say "Warning. Winter Maintenance of trails, use at your own risk." I had no problems.

Met up with Wolf Oesterreich and we shared bird lists. Several hundred Canada Geese were on the south lake. Wolf says the flock varies from 100 to 500, depending on the time of day. I saw a flock of about 50 fly in the from the east, probably have been out feeding in corn fields. As they passed over the Skunk River, they set their wings against the west wind and glided towards the lake. When they were over the lake, they began dipping their wings to lose altitude quickly. I call it "maple leafing" because from a distance they look like maple leaves falling in the wind.

Wolf reported 80 Mallards, two Gadwals, and six Shovellers. A dozen or ! so American Coots have been hanging around the main outlet at the southwest corner of the lake for several days and today there was a pair of Mallards with them. It seems as though someone has been scattering food near the shore.

One of the better sightings was a Double-crested Cormorant perched on a stump near the base of the high bluff. Wolf says its been on the lake for about a month. Other birds seen today were: Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, and American Crow.

Erv Klaas