Minnicock nature notes
Jim Hubbard reports that our loons have not raised young for two years. We hope they are successful next year - watching the young loons brings pleasure to all of us.
Dan Denby has had confirmed sightings on Minnicock of double-crested black cormorants. The cormorant population on the Great Lakes is now moving to inland waters and has rebounded after the severe effects in the 1970s of furan, PCB and dioxin pollution. The cormorant is a slender-bodied, dark bird with a long neck and a hooked bill. Tufts on the crown are seldom visible. It stands upright when perched and the bill is usually tilted upward when swimming. Cormorants migrate in V-shaped flocks like geese but are silent in flight.
After the disastrous drought period from 1987-91 and massive insect infestations, trees appear to be healthier this year, helped by extensive rainfall and cooler temperatures. Leaves are starting to regain normal leaf size and the crowns of maple trees are beginning to rebuild. In a recent conversation with James Munn, forest specialist with the MNR, Munn indicated that we are at the low point in the 12-year cycle for tent and forest caterpillars. Gypsy moth populations have been attacked by some natural fungi and viruses. The extremely cold winter also helped to destroy many exposed egg masses.