Spring is in the air and on the ground here at Elk Lake Resort. It is with joy and excitement we welcome the greening grass, the warming temperatures, and the returning wildlife. In fact, the wildlife have taken center stage on all of our walks and trips about the valley.
Whenever we get into a vehicle I know it is going to be at least 45 minutes until we get to our destination. Most trips are substantially longer. To wile away the time, if I'm not driving, I bring along a project or two - a craft project, a book to read, information on topics I'm researching, or my laptop to get in a bit of bookwork or to write an article.
But, best intentions aside, I cannot seem to keep my eyes off the scenery as we travel the stretch from Elk Lake to Henry's Lake. There is ALWAYS something to see! And, quite frankly, I'm loathe to miss a moment. So, just for fun, I've kept track of exactly what we've seen on our walks and drives the last six days (11th - 16th) At the time of this writing (just after noon on the 16th) we've sighted:
In and around Elk Lake and the eastern Centennial Valley
3 elk (1 dead since last fall)
4 river otters
11 moose (1 dead calf, recently died - the rest, were probably sightings of some of the same animals more than once)
3 eagles (2 golden / 1 bald)
3 Trumpeter Swans (we've actually sighted more but I'm sure they're the same birds we've seen several times)
11 sandhill cranes (the neatest sighting were the 4 which were in the middle of Elk Lake Road - apparently a family as two were grey colored and two were in their adult plumage. The adults moved out of the road, the young flew several yards away. The adults called loudly and profusingly to their young. We got out of their way so they could reunite.)
1 bobcat (at least we think it was a bobcat. It was definitely a cat - and it looked about the right size and color for a bobcat - but it was on its way to the next county!)
Numerous other birds including Mallard Ducks, Goldeneys, various other ducks, Bluebirds, Tree Swallows (I saw them the first time today), robins, chickadees, a couple of Meadowlarks (I was surprised to see them so soon), Magpies, a Kingfisher, and a woodpecker of unknown vintage (it didn't stay still long enough for me to get a good look).
In addition, the refuge manager and his wife dropped by for a visit on Saturday after a trip to the north side of the valley. The mentioned seeing numerous antelope and a variety of waders - in addition to many of the same species I've already mentioned.
Henry's Lake Area
The west shore of Henry's Lake is absolutely teaming with bird life! A brief drive along the west side road today yielded the following:
9 eagles (on the edge of the ice - apparently the fishing isn't half bad)
6 pelicans (I was surprised to see them so soon)
several Canadian geese
6 sandhill cranes
a flock of seagulls
a variety of smaller birds
Obviously life is returning in full force to the area. I feel extrememly blessed to be able to experience its return!
Lady of the Lake