Ice out at Crane Lake!

The ice has completely left Crane Lake as of Wednesday, May 7th. It is pretty close to a record late date.

I went for a hike at the Vermilion River Gorge yesterday and the Gorge is spectacular. I have never seen the water in the Vermilion River so high – the rapids in the Gorge are really rolling.

On the trail I ran into an immature GRAY JAY! Wow!  I have read that Gray Jay nest early. They start nesting when it is winter – in March. They line their nests with deer hair because they need to keep the nestlings warm. Well, these Gray Jays must have some really great parenting skills because they kept this young baby bird well insulated through the horrible late season snowstorms that we experienced this spring.

The young bird was totally gray with the pink gape of a young bird. He was making lots of begging calls and at one point he sat on a branch with his mouth open. Just like young birds will do when the parent bird flys in with some food.

Yesterday morning it was a quiet calm morning and there were several species of waterfowl moving around on the partially open water on the lake. We’ve experienced a concentration of waterfowl here on Crane Lake as the lakes up north are still ice covered.

Scaup

Lesser or Greater Scaup? Or bluebills as some people call them.

Horned Grebes

Horned Grebes

Horned Grebes taking off

These Horned Grebes took off – I like how you can see their footprints on the water.

 

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