Tuesday, December 19, 2006


C and I enjoy our meals looking out on Lake Knickerbocker here in Gainesville, Georgia. We have a small gate-legged table right beside two of the sliding glass doors that open out onto our patio, our yard and then the water. We love watching the waterfowl, and particularly those that migrate during the winter. As we set the table for breakfast this morning we noticed that the Herring Gulls had returned from the ocean to feed on the red finned shad that are now plentiful in our lake. How do these gulls know to come here....particularly since this is a manmade lake that has only been in existence since the 1950s? They arrive every December or January, often camping out in the parking lot of the now gone KMart! If you look carefully, you can see them all huddled in a rather large white mob across the lake.

The closest beaches are a six hour drive for us - both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic - so those red finned shad must be awfully tastey in order to lure the gulls all that way!!!

Below you can see about 14 of one of my very favorite diving ducks, the Buffleheads.

These guys and gals are rather small and have distinctive black and white markings. Of course, the male is much more distinguished looking than his fairer friend, but that's life in the bird kingdom, isn't it? The Buffleheads scoot along the lake's surface as if on motorized little legs, and then they suddenly disappear for a minute or two. They are great fun to watch.

Here they are again quite close to our shoreline. Last year we had only a few Buffleheads, and not for long, but this year we have a good group. I hope they will stay all winter to entertain us.There's another view of the gulls, camped out across the lake. Moments before I took this shot, they were all flying around and diving madly for the shad. Apparently they had tired themselves out and were busy digesting their breakfasts by the time I got my camera out.

We also have several resident Great Blue Herons, 3-4 pairs of Wood Ducks (be still my heart, they are so gorgeous!), many Mallards, several migrating Hooded Mergansers, one grebe, and occasionaly some Ring Necks and a few other random species. There's always something to see and enjoy outside our windows.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful setting you have for your breakfast! Nothing is more entertaining than Nature. Better than TV any day.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely view. The lake is like a mirror. Looks so peaceful and quiet.