Thursday, January 24, 2008

Icy Indiana

A cold sunny Monday holiday lured us to Patoka Lake in Indiana, purported to be the home of Bald Eagles. Where the wind blew across the middle, the lake was not frozen. All the sheltered coves were covered in ice however. A small flock of ducks paddled in the waves and a pair of Hooded Mergansers landed near them. The Canada Geese just gave up swimming and snoozed on top of the ice, joined by one lost Snow Goose. Ground water seeping out between layers of sandstone along the shore froze into silent white waterfalls. The surface ice was surprisingly clear and rocks on the bottom easily visible. Water erosion from millenia ago shaped the sandstone bluffs atop the ridges.

Since I don't care for winter sports that make your toes tingle and your nose run, I haven't been near any frozen lakes before, and was surprised at the sounds made by the ice. Creeaaakkk... I turned but saw nothing. Must have been the ice sheets shifting on top of the water. A quiet skittering noise was not figure skating mice after all, but only dry leaves blown along the surface by the wind. At the marina, one man turned a pontoon boat into an ice breaker to keep the harbor accessible to any boats braving the weather in January. Just imagine the noise the real ice breakers make on the Great Lakes!

Once again, the target bird eluded us, although we saw Red Tail Hawks, a Harrier, a flock of Bluebirds, Tufted Timice at a feeder, Killdeer and Kingfisher near the lake, a murder of Crows, and one soaring bird which dashed our hopes by turning out to be a Turkey Vulture rather than a Bald Eagle.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I know it's short notice, but there are 2 eagle/raptor events February 8-10, 2008. One is at Lake Monroe in Bloomington, IN (Eagle Watch Weekend) and the other at Turkey Run State Park (Eagles in Flight). My girlfriend and I have attended the one in Bloomington the last 3 years. For information on each visit www.eaglesatlakemonroe.com and www.interpretiveservices.in.gov/programs/schedule/ Good luck!