Monday, January 9, 2012.
Bright sunshine, temperature 48-50 degrees F. Slight wind from the west.
Deer in west wetland, 1/2/12 - k.kkane
The lakes are still mostly frozen except for a large hole of open water on the south lake. Yesterday, there was little open water but temperatures are climbing. I estimated about 1000 geese (mostly Giant Canada with a few dozen Cackling Geese) and Mallards mixed in. The geese were congregated on the ice around the open water, most of them were sleeping or preening their feathers. I spotted a blue neckband with white letters on a Giant Canada fairly close to the walking path on the south shore. I edged closer to try and read the four digit code with my binoculars. Eventually I was able to read the first and last digits, 5__A.
Suddenly, the all geese on the south edge of the open water flew in response to a man and two women yelling at me from the path. They were pointing at something floundering in broken ice some distance off shore on the west arm of the lake. I trained my binoculars in that direction and saw that it was four deer. The man told me that he saw the deer running across the ice and they suddenly broke through one by one. One of the women called 911 and was connected with the Ames Animal Shelter. As I watched, the deer were lunging towards the south shore line, a distance of about 150 feet. Their lunging reminded me of a human swimmer doing a butterfly stroke. Their head and shoulders would rise up out of the water and they seemed to try to climb up on the ice. With each lunge, more ice would break in front of them. They stayed very close together, and two or three minutes later they all made it to shore. The lady with the phone called the Animal Shelter back and told them the emergency was over. I wondered how they would have rescued the deer?
I have been noticing that someone is throwing rocks on to the ice in several places around the lake. This is not a good practice because the rock was put there to control bank erosion from wave action. If it continues, the rocks will eventually disappear. If you see this happening, please ask the people doing it to stop.