13 February 2013

Birdly Details and Pictures From Clear Lake, Lakeland

As a bit of blue among the dunes of Lakeland, Clear Lake has a history of bird use which dates to centuries in the past. The prairie on the hills attracted many species, but the waters were a distinctive attraction.

Geese would gather, and perhaps each year there would be goslings. Ducks would dunk their bills after a tasteful tidbit or dive for a bit of tasty plant. There were swans, grebes and other sorts of aquatic fowl unknown by any known chronicles.

It was not until 1915, nearly a century in the past, that the Franklin's Gull and Forester's Tern were noted in mid-June by a regional survey by U.S. government officials. Then in the mid-1980s, Canada Geese, those obvious and ubiquitous fowl were noted by a state survey of geese.

In July 1996, following years of change that had been wrought upon the lake district of southern Brown county, about a dozen different sorts of summer birds were recorded, representing a typical occurrence of summer-time bird.. None of them were, however, waterfowl upon the lake's waters, and especially surprising was that there were no ducks observed during a quick visit. The known tally conveys the occurrence of about a dozen species mostly present at upland habitats.

An ongoing interest in birds prevails at Clear Lake, most recently by wonderfully evocative photographs. These are some indicative pictures of seasonal residents in recent years, and as taken by attentive observers at the lakeside.

Pictures courtesy of Bruce Beebout. Taken at Clear Lake and the local area.

Adult Bald Eagle.

Ring-necked Pheasant at AGA Marsh WMA.

Great Blue Herons.

Barn Swallows.

Trumpeter Swans.

Wild Turkeys.

Upland Sandpiper.

Pictures courtesy of Pat Connor, taken at Clear Lake.

Blue-winged Teal.

Mallard eggs.

A gathering of American White Pelican.

There are also written records of bird observations, which though current not known, might perhaps be further considered, and convey another unique indication of the avian legacy for this lake.

Especially significant now, is how various birds will respond to the improved situation at Clear Lake, following the removal of an unwanted, invasive fish species. There will be dramatic differences, based upon known responses associated with another "rough-fish" removal effort in Nebraska. If aquatic vegetation thrives, it will be a food source attractive to different sorts of many sorts of fowl, and there might be surprise occurrences.

At least 173 different species of birds are known to occur among the Lakeland District of southwest Brown county, predominantly west and northward from Clear Lake.

The pictures included in this post are Copyright protected material of the respective photographer.