Date: 3/11/17 7:55 pm From: Brandon Caswell <brandon.caswell83...> Subject: [ia-bird] Crystal Lake and surrounding area
I am up in Hancock County visiting family and decided to run a route that takes me to Crystal Lake. About 2.5 miles east of Crystal Lake are some gravel pits that held a nice amount of waterfowl. The best surprise was a lone Tundra Swan.
Crystal Hills WMA marsh habitat was completely frozen.
It appears that waterfowl could be bottlenecking in this area due to the recent cold snap. Crystal Lake had a lot of open water, hosting no less than 17 species of waterfowl (what I could detect) and some in impressive amounts. This included a large raft of Buffleheads, a good amount of all three mergansers, and small rafts of other divers. The west side/cove of the lake, which appears inaccessible to the public, seemed to be hosting a huge amount of waterfowl. I wasn't able to make out much besides swans and Mallards as distance, heat shimmer, and low lighting were working against me. There is an adjacent pond on the NE side of the lake that had a group of Cackling Geese mixed in with Canadas along with an impressive amount of Ring-necked Ducks. The ag. field east of that pond had overnighting Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese.
Tomorrow morning I am going to see if Myre Slough has open water. If that is a bust I'll go back to Crystal Lake to see how close I can actually get to the west side.