Flora & Fauna on the Lake

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What animals live around the lake?

Kirk lake is home to ground hogs, muskrats, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and bats, among others. Muskrat have been cited as recently as July 2008. Despite the name, they are not to be feared. Muskrats are semi-aquatic and can swim underwater, propelled by their long flat tails and semi-webbed feet for up to 15 minutes on a single breath! They tend to live in burrows under the lake's shoreline, though they may borrow beaver lodges or even build their own in marshy wetlands.

What birds can be seen on Kirk Lake?

There is an incredible variety of birds to be seen. Aside from year round "residents," many species migrate through the area, and lakes such as ours are prime feeding spots en route to summer or winter breeding grounds.

Great Blue Herons are perhaps the most dramatic species to be seen. These stork-like birds are very shy, and best seen through binoculars -- if you can spot them. They like to stand in shallow water and fish with a quick spearing action of their long beaks and very long necks! It's quite a treat to see one make a catch!

Black Crowned Night Herons are a smaller relative; like their bigger cousins, they like to fish, and as their name suggests, they tend to come out at dusk. Members Richard and Pamela Stanley have seen three of these Night Herons over the past several years.

Another dramatic local includes the Pileated Woodpecker. A pair of Pileateds was seen on the lake in July 2008.

In the winter of 2006-2007, a bald eagle was sited by several residents on Lakeside Road, feasting on a deer carcass that was frozen into the ice! Other recent sitings include ospreys, a type of hawk that fishes by diving into the water, "feet" first and grabbing fish with its sharp talons. Ospreys have been seen for a day or two each year as they migrate through the area.

These are some other photos, take by Judy Ravnitzky, of some visitors to her yard (thanks, Judy!). They are: a crow and a turkey vulture; three mallards (amongst birds, the males are usually the more colorful); and a pileated woodpecker.

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