On this first wintery day at the lake, water fowl congregated in large flocks on Lake Mendota. What an awesome sight. Arlene Koziol records it for us with her camera. Please see more on her Flicker site at:
Hundreds of American coots are gathering on the lake, moving back and forth in large rafts along the shoreline to find the best feeding spots. Watch them in the movie, as they noisily propel themselves forward with their strong legs and big feet with lobed toes. To become airborne, they patter across the water, while flapping their wings furiously, Two loons, further out in the lake, are calling. Buffleheads and other waterfowl are also taking advantage of good feeding grounds. Arlene Koziol has been watching these birds for days in the bay just west of Eagle Heights Woods.
Movie by Arlene Koziol
The warm, dry fall weather this week offered a good opportunity to conduct controlled burns in the Preserve. On your next walk through Eagle Heights Woods, you will notice the ashes of leaves and detritus, as well as the burned remains of young buckthorn sprouts in the central area of the Heights. As the photos show, the boundaries between cleared areas and buckthorn infested areas, still showing green leaves, are now very distinct. The expansive views add to the feeling of being on top of a height. The ancient dolomite rock outcrops on the central plateau are now in plain view on the wood's floor and add to the pleasure of the scenery. Oak leaves on the ground still have considerable moisture content and on this calm day the set fires did not quite achieve the “aggressiveness” desired, but project manager Adam Gundlach called the burning a success. Today, Adam and Amy Jo Dusick of Good Oak contractors were surveying the area. Workers were removing large segments of fallen trees in the vicinity of the mounds.
Other prescribed burns this week were especially successful in the Heritage Oak area, combating buckthorn regrowth and young maple tree sprouts. Also burned were the weedy berms which form the boundary of the restored Heritage Oak area toward the university’s Grounds department storage area. Burns were also conducted at Raymer’s Cove prairie and other areas. Photos Gisela Kutzbach
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors