Arlene Koziol was photographing the group of bikers who set out on field trip with Daniel Einstein at Willow Creek Bridge on Sept 18. Jeff, one of the bikers, noticed a Green heron fishing in the bay waters. Arlene got some good shots and then returned the next day equipped with her birding camera gear. This is what she reports:
"Lake Mendota, University Bay, UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Sept 19, 2016. I had a great time watching the acrobatics of a Juvenile Green Heron foraging. It was catching sunfish and large-mouthed bass (fish ID’d by John Magnuson). Patience is the Green Heron’s virtue and the key to his unique fishing technique. The Green Heron would remain motionless, like a statue, waiting for a fish to swim by. His strike was so fast, my eyes could not see it. Only my camera could capture the action." For the entire sequence of photos, see Arlene's Flicker site.
The elusive Green Heron is the symbol of the Friends of the Lakeshore Preserve. When the Friends organization was formed about 15 years ago, Roma Lenehan reports, they contacted Kandis Elliot, the then senior artist for the UW Zoology Department, to create a logo. Roma said “the Green Heron seemed to fit us best". The nature drawings on the membership renewal cards you receive in the mail, are also by Elliot (see more of her drawings and posters at the Zoology Museum site)
Volunteers open up dramatic view
The next time you walk the path to Picnic Point, you will where our volunteers did some heavy lobbing and sawing, lifting to clear a dramatic view for you. Remember, after passing the high sedges on the right of the path, your view is still blocked by heavy underbrush of buckthorn. But now, within a few yards, two dramatic view open up toward the lake and across the beautiful Bay. At the first, you will admire thousands of water lily leaves that carpet the water surface, gently swaying in the breeze. At the next opening, you can catch a glimpse of the American coots assembling for fall feeding. We can thank our hard working volunteers, Galen, Doris, Pat, Monica, Steve, and others led by Preserve volunteer coordinator Bryn Scriver. Photos Galen Hasler
Sandhill Crane colt growing up
.The Preserve’s resident Sandhill Crane family has been showing off their colt these last two weeks on the meadows west of the Class of 1918 Marsh. Papa crane would occasionally look around, checking for potential danger, while Mama crane was doting on their colt, now larger than herself and feed him choice tidbits found in the wet marshland. The three didn’t mind human joggers coming by, we noted. But when some playing dogs came closer, the they stalked slowly the other way.
And then, like magic, all three took off simultaneously and flew across the marsh to the other side, elegantly flapping their wings. We were witness to “Wildness Incarnate”, as Aldo Leopold wrote in his poetic Marshland Elegy.
We had watched the colt as a little chick, still covered with down feathers earlier in June. In Sandhill Cranes, these soft feathers are replaced about two months after hatching as their cinnamon-colored juvenile plumage grows out from the base of the same feather. In turn, the juvenile plumage will be molted and followed by the first gray winter plumage. Young colts are ready to take their first flight within 10 weeks, and we can assume that this healthy colt is about 3 months old.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors