Naturalist Notes February 2018

Naturalist Notes

February 2018


The temperatures have remained relatively stable, which means solid ice in the lagoon that is perfect for ice fishing. Waterfowl, however, do not share the same enthusiasm for ice cover. They are warmer and closer to their food source when they stay in open water areas during Wisconsin’s winters. The open water area under the bridge is a popular spot for waterfowl to congregate, especially since Lake Michigan is currently at 51% ice cover.

If you look closely at the waterfowl around the park, you will see 4 main species: Goldeneye, Mallard, Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup (the scaups are also known as Bluebills).

Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

Males: Black head with a white spot near the bill; black back with white sides

Female: Brown head with gray back and wings; black bill with yellow at the tip

Both: Bright yellow eyes; white patch on wings

 

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Males: Dark, iridescent green head with yellow bill; gray body with black tail

Females: Mottled brown body with orange and brown bill

Both: Blue patch on their wing with a white border

 

 

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)

Males: Black head with green iridescence; dark grey/black tail, grey/white body

Females: Dark brown head; brown body; white base on bill

Both: Rounded head; blue-grey bill with a black tip

 

Lesser Scaup (Aytha affinis)

Males: Black head with purple iridescence; dark grey/black tail; grey/white body slightly darker than Greater Scaup

Females: Dark brown head and body with slight mottling; white base on bill

Both: Small peak/tuft on top of head; smaller than Greater Scaups

 

We’d love to see your photos! Share your photos of the park, or of your catch, with us on our facebook page, or email them to Angela.Vickio@wisconsin.gov. We are getting close to spring, so make sure to check our website or our facebook page often for upcoming events!