Will Vuyk, student Board member of the Friends, regularly visits the Preserve to observe changes of the seasons and lets himself be surprised by the beauty of nature. The heavy snowfall over the weekend drew the tundra swans from further north to the Madison Lakes. If you venture to the boat landing at University Bay, you will hear them chatter and carry on their disputes, displaying their beautiful wings and standing up tall in the water. Otherwise, they are intent on foraging, their heads under water and reaching almost a yard down with their long necks to find the choicest morsels of water plants in the University Bay.
Will writes: "The tundra swans have arrived with the snow! Lit from the west by the mid-afternoon sun, the postures and pursuits of these sociable birds are enchanting. If you are able to peel your eyes away from the swans, the Preserve itself, (while picturesque in all seasons) has been stunningly highlighted by the snow. Walk your favorite trail, enjoy your favorite spot, take in your favorite view, all accentuated in white." Enjoy Will's photos below. With the temperatures staying below freezing and no strong winds, the winter wonderland is till very much intact.
On December 13, a wondrous snowfall brought brilliant beauty of the purest white to the Preserve. Every tree, every path, every grass blade had changed. Soft tufts of snow were clinging to every twig and branch. At the Picnic Point Marsh, tree trunks have snow packed on their north sides, which were exposed to driving northerly winds all night. Arlene Koziol is sharing her photos of freshly fallen snow on her Flicker site.
On my weekly Tuesday morning stop at the bay, I was hoping to see some new arrivals on this crisp and sunny 1 December morning. And yes. The Tundra Swans have returned to the bay, showing off their brilliant white plumage. You can observe them from the boat landing at University Bay and close to shore along the path toward Picnic Point. Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, and masses of American Coots are close by. The first ice has formed along the shore rocks. Notice the strong mirage, the vertically elongated buildings on the opposite shore, resulting from cold air lying on top of still warm lake water. Gisela Kutzbach
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors