April full of changes
The month of April has been one of major transitions. The most dramatic change was the one when the surface of Loon Lake changed from ice to water – and that happened on April 20. The ice off was a bit earlier than last year but right around the usual time.
The other transitions are more gradual. Residents are returning for the summer months and doing the spring cleaning and raking. The busy work at the resorts is well underway, painting, setting out furniture and getting ready for the summer season. Then there is the change in colour of the landscape; shifting gradually from beige and grey to a predominant green, even the spruce and fir seem greener these days.
Also the birds have changed. Swallows have been seen over the open waters of the lake. Now the song of the robin can be heard in the late evening and early morning alongside the less harmonious cries of the eagles. The redpolls and chickadees have been replaced by hordes of white crowned sparrows eagerly pecking at every new green shoot coming up in the garden. They are accompanied by the small bird hawks, particularly the merlin. The loons are back with their early morning fly over at 7 am.
Passing water birds have also added colour and beauty to view. Widgeons, hooded mergansers, common mergansers, goldeneye and scaup have joined the loons, mallards and Canada Geese on the creek and the lake on their way to wherever they spend the summer. The hooded mergansers are fascinating in the way they can spend a long time turned tail-up, with their head underwater feeding, then when they turn upright that wonderful hooded “hairdo” is still all in place – every feather of it.
Spring is for optimists
Overall everything looks good and full of promise, as it does most spring seasons. There are high hopes for a busy resort season and that everyone will be fully booked. We hope also that fishing will be good and that the weather will be good so that people can enjoy the many attractions of the Loon Lake valley.
What I love about spring is that it is the optimist’s season. New Year’s may be the time for many resolutions to do better and make optimistic plans but for me spring is the time when the hopes for a better year really come into play.
I have been watching a family of mature and immature eagles fishing in Loon Creek. Three of the immature ones tend to occupy the same cottonwood tree and communicate through some very loud screeches their needs, perhaps it is hunger or perhaps questions about other issues. Watching them try to land and stay in place on the very top of a spruce tree is really quite entertaining. Yesterday one of them more or less succeeded finally and when it was just settled in, along came another young one and knocked it out of the tree top with both flying off and yelling some sort of story. Balancing such a body weight on top of a spruce tree is quite a feat and one does not need a sibling to come along and push you off. Their behaviour leaves me with a lot of questions. It also leaves the spruce trees with broken and misshapen tops.
A short drive up one of the forestry service roads off of Loon Lake Road revealed an illegal dumping ground for those who won’t dispose of their waste responsibly. On the side of the road were high piles of wood bark and yard waste, while scattered around were remnants of five or so deer pelts and other animal waste.
Some argue that this stuff is all “natural” and it is okay to put it back in nature. In my view, stuff in piles and scattered at the side of a forestry service road is not “back in nature.” Bark from firewood can be left in the forest where the tree fell and it will eventually decompose – but the high concentration in stacks and piles along the road do not return to nature – they are a fire hazard. The deer pelts and other animal parts attract predators – and as the road runs through a grazing lease, attracting predators is most undesirable.
It is time that people acted more responsibly and take correct and appropriate measures to deal with their waste. If you don’t know what to do with it call or email the staff at Environmental Services at the TNRD – they are there to help you.
To Market with seedlings
Spring time is gardening time for those of us who have the interest. Gardening at Loon Lake does have its challenges such as a short growing season, soil types and rocks, watering requirements and of course the four-legged challenges – the deer and marmots. Those plants that do thrive tend to need dividing to continue to look their best while others send up new seedlings everywhere. As a gardener, these things can’t just be thrown out, they must be passed on.
This year members of the Loon Lake Garden and Creative club will be participating in the Cache Creek Market on May 5 with hundreds of plants, seeds, crafts and flea market items. Come along and get some hardy and well grown plants that will thrive in your gardens as well.