I can't remember a year when the snow left so quickly and the ground was bare so early. Well, not quite bare yet, especially where the snow was piled, but bare enough that I'm setting a record for the earliest date I've started picking up litter.
As soon as I finish this post, I'm heading out with grab stick, yellow bags, and safety vest to start cleaning up around Tern Lake.
Which brings me to the thawing ice around Tern Lake. Waterfowl are returning to the patches of open water. I suspect these are birds that stayed all winter rather than migrating. Mostly likely, they were on the Kenai River in Cooper Landing, which stays unfrozen.
While scouting for areas to start the clean up, I found pairs of common mergansers, the flashy Barrow's goldeneyes, and the ever colorful mallards.
So, here are the ph
|A drake goldeneye|
And the pretty mallards:
|A hen mallard|
|The hen and the drake|
And the common mergansers:
Right now, these look like females, but as juvenile males often look like females, it's hard for me to tell.