There is winter and then there is spring, the transition from extreme cold, snow and ice to springlike weather is almost instantaneous. As soon as the ice in Colonel By Lake starts to melT along the shore rapid changes take place.
This year we were treated to unusual visitors: Mute Swans, the largest water birds in this part of the country, an invasive species and quite aggressive, but graceful. We had fifteen of these majestic birds in our bay at the north west end of Colonel By Lake. I put them in the header of our website and show you a few more photos for your enjoyment.
We witnessed their courtship which is noisy and spectacular. The male, I presume, approaches the female who is not at all willing to participate, she flies away a short distance, maybe 50-100 meters, barely lifting off the water. The male pursues her in close pursuit. Because lift off is so slow and seemingly difficult, there are lots of splashing and sloshing sounds, when they are almost out of the water one can hear the rush of the wings that are up to 2.5 meters in span. Landing shortly after kicks up lots of water and causes waves. This goes on all day for two or three days in a row.
A sail past of Mute Swans in Draper Bay at the south-west end of Colonel By Lake, April 11, 2015. Note there is still ice floating in the water and there is snow on the ground.
Only a few days later that will all be gone.
A few days later most of the swans are gone further up the Rideau. We know there is a breeding pair in the creek and marsh of the River Styx in the large north-west bay of the river, just beyond the Keirstead farm.
Enjoy this swan in flight, it is a photo from the Internet, all other photos are taken by Henk Wevers.
Let’s not forget the ospreys: they are back. First the male and then the female. The males repair the nest that has suffered from the snow, wind and other ravages of the winter, and then the female comes a week later; courtship starts.
Mark Fleming, a neighbour on the road, has already been on the lake in his kayak and observed ospreys on their nest at Keirstead. on Caseys Island at the eastern edge of the peninsula that is the federal conservation area, and on the pole nest east of the Dickinson’s house also in the conservation area. There are several more nests around the lake and the River Styx and it is safe to assume that most have returning ospreys setting up a household each yielding two to three offspring later in the spring.
A Great Blue Heron flew gracefully in to our bay landing near the shore to pick off the first fish of the season. Then there are lots of ducks and Canada geese on the water making a racket. On land the robins, red winged blackbirds, and other songbirds are building their nests wherever they can find a safe ledge, or other shelter, Turkey Vultures and birds of prey are soaring in a deep blue arctic sky.
It is SPRING
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