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.

Good birding,
Brandon Caswell

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