Ducks and Otters at Lake Colby
Nov
21
2013

            On my regular walks along Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, I’ve been finding a variety of ducks and other water birds.  The other day was no different as I found five Bufflehead – all males – almost immediately as I started walking along the railroad bed.  There were also two Common Loons on the main body of the lake – both quite close to shore.  The wind was whipping across the tracks and I hadn’t seen anything else so I quickened my pace to reach the protection of the trees when I noticed a male Hooded Merganser swimming away from us near the shore. 

            I walked through the woods up to the next arm of the lake and spooked four female Bufflehead which flew to the far side of the bay where they joined eight other Bufflehead – only one of which was a male.  Perhaps this male had something the other five males without females somehow lacked.  From my vantage point on the tracks I also found three female Common Goldeneye – each sitting individually on the water and not closely associating with the other ducks or with each other. Common Goldeneye - Larry

            It was a nice tally for the day, but just when I was about to turn around I noticed a lot of disturbance and bubbling in the water down slope from where I was standing.  Thinking it to be a mammal swimming under the water, I waited to see if it popped its head above the surface.  Perhaps thirty seconds later up came the periscope head of a North American River Otter looking curiously over at me and Wren on the tracks.  It was quickly joined by two more heads and the three otters ducked and dived up and down, pausing to crane their necks out of the water to smell and observe us. 

            The one otter kept making snorting noises as it swam along the water surface, catching Wren’s attention and she stood with me watching them intently.  The otters appeared to be simultaneously curious and frightened by our presence, and while they kept their distance, they came in a bit closer – smelling the air and watching us – dived and then reemerged again to check us out.  I tried a few photos in the deepening gloom of the end of the day, but they didn’t really come out. Larry - otters

            The otters repeated this behavior again and again, following an arc across the bay, eventually disappearing against the shoreline.  They had taken better than 10 minutes to cover the short distance as they worked their way around us.  I stood and waited a couple more minutes to see if they’d reappear and they soon did, once again inspecting our presence.  Finally they turned and appeared to follow the shoreline out of view, cueing Wren and me to begin walking back.  Further down the tracks I caught one more glance of the otters as they swam along the shoreline. 

            After the excitement of observing the otters I found a small group of American Tree Sparrows calling softly along the edge of the woods.  I again noted the five male Bufflehead sitting together on the water, and the walk was capped off by a Muskrat swimming along the surface of the lake in the evening shadows. 

Saranac Lake Art Attraction Nov 22 - Dec 28, 2013
Camera Obscura: The Renaissance Camera

E-Newsletter Signup Form

 
1 Start 2 Complete

About The Author

Blog Topics...

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Registration Now Open for Kids’ Afterschool Art Classes at BluSeed Studios BluSeed Studios announces open registration for children’s after school art classes as of October 12. Classes...
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
The upcoming date less then 1 day.
Our Wednesday Tasting Series will begin again on September 26th! Join us in Great Hall Bar every Wednesday for special beverage tastings alongside complimentary food pairings by Campfire Adirondack...

Recent Blog Posts...

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Submitted by guest writer, Elisabeth Marchbanks I must admit, fall is my favorite season in the Adirondacks. As the air becomes crisper and the leaves start to change their color, I can’t help but...
Thursday, October 4th, 2018
A great time of year for a hike Fall is made for hiking. It possesses the perfect mix of pleasantries — leaf color, pleasant temperatures, and no bugs — that appeals to time outside. So when...
Win a fantastic getaway! It's free! Enter now.
Fly to Saranac Lake via Cape Air The Adirondack Regional Airport, your "Gateway to the Adirondacks," provides quick and convenient access to and from Logan International in Boston, MA. Daily flights are provided...
Woods and Water Defined by nature, recreation, heritage, learning, creativity, and cuisine, we invite you to explore our historic routes and waterway connections.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Interested In
Sign Me Up!