Monday, January 25, 2010

Black Dog Lake

Winter in Minnesota can be both frustrating and rewarding if you are into wildlife photography. It is frustrating because over all there is a lack of wildlife activity. Plant and insect life is nonexistent outside, a lot of animals hibernate or survive under the snow, and many birds fly south for the winter. However the wildlife that remains seems to concentrate in specific areas so if you can find some good spots chances are good that you will find something to photograph.
Black Dog Lake is one of these spots. Black Dog Lake is a small lake that is adjacent to the Minnesota River and part of the Minnesota Valley NWR. An Excel Energy plant located here pumps warm water out keeping part of the river and lake open during the winter.
Open water is usually a big key to finding suitable winter wildlife habitat. Most waterfowl have layers of down feathers that help insulate their bodies while they swim in the icy waters, like this common merganser in the photo above.
Many different types of ducks are found in the open water, such as mallards, common goldeneye, plus common and hooded mergansers. Larger birds like Canada geese and trumpeter swans can also be found dabbling in the frigid water looking for plants and roots to eat.
In the large trees lining the river you will often see bald eagles perched using their acute vision to see fish in the icy waters. During the winter the mortality rate of fish goes up. This helps the eagles survive at this difficult time of the year since it is much easier to catch a dead fish floating in the river.

15 comments:

sweet bay said...

Gorgeous photos.

pehpot said...

ducks are lovely!

Have you tried drinking Green Tea?

troutbirder said...

Nice pictures Eco. I can't believe I've never been there. My brother even lived nearby in Burnsville.

Vicky said...

Nice shot!!!

foto CHIP said...

Wow to catch an eagle - Your photos are wonderful!

Eve said...

What a great location - to be able to find such a variety of birds in the winter!

Carol said...

Isn't it something how the animals etc learn to live with us.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

ksdoolittle said...

What a lovely introduction to Black Dog Preserve. Winter time in Maine is much the same. Most birding is done along the frozen river banks in the cold wind, or in the farmers fields looking for snow buntings and the like. Brrrrrr. Ducks are BEAUTIFUL! I never reallized it until I started birding. Ducks just look like ducks to the naked eye. Nice photos. ~karen

Mama Zen said...

Amazing shot of the eagle!

LadyFi said...

Great shots - love the snow and the swans photo.

Incog & Nito said...

Wonderful photos. Enjoy your day.

Tabib said...

Beautiful shoots!
Perfect exposure of white subject

Riet said...

Beautiful birds and pictures

Randi said...

Gorgeous shots! I love the photo of the eagle!

Jenn Jilks said...

Wonderfully colourful shots. We're having a blizzard in My Muskoka , on top of a major melt yesterday.

Our lake is frozen, with a pond on top! Freeze-up tonight though. You are right about the open water source of shots...