Kelly Poole observed that the lake had a much different personality this morning after the change in weather from our mild days to the very windy turn last night. White caps in the south lake churned from the northern winds over beautiful blue-green water. Later in the day Erv received a note from Wolf Oesterreich (which is part of Erv's field notes # 17 that I'll post tomorrow.)
Sunday, New Year's Day, January 1, 2012. Sunny, strong NW wind. Like a stubborn, crazy fool, I went out and rode (his bike) in this wind! Most of the geese (Cackling & Canada) were gone by the time I went to the Park. A raft of about 100 Mallards was all that remained. During the second lap, the female Bufflehead flew over the bridge and landed in the south lake's west bay. While on the Upland Trail, I did see the juvenile white Snow Goose with Canada Geese on Pond E. It was too far to see clearly and too windy to set up the scope to determine the presence of the other two Snow Geese. The most astounding sight was that of an Eastern Garter Snake, "sunning" on the trail (southwest corner of the south lake, where Pond N [south wetland complex] dumps into the south lake). I have never seen a snake in Winter in Iowa.
Best wishes for the New Year,