Hello Clam Lake!
Spring? Are you really here??? It seems Mother Nature is, at least, giving it a thought. Even though Easter weekend saw us being harrassed by snowflakes by the following weekend we were sitting in the mid-60’s. But, just for a day. All the new snow melted away leaving the “permafrost” underneath where snow had been banked up by plows. A few days of rain seemed to help drive frost from roads as well. There’s hope!
CALF SEARCH – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: After a hiatus of a few years, the DNR is once again reaching out looking for volunteers to participate in the Elk Calf Search. The Calf Search has been reinstated for the years 2022, 2023 and 2024 to get new data on calf survival rates to compare with data compiled by former elk biologist Laine Stowell. The search will take place from May 21st thru June 22nd. How is this done? Via their GPS collars, Josh Spiegel (the current Elk Biologist) and his team will begin monitoring adult cow’s behavior. When they notice cows isolating from their respective groups they know their time is drawing near. A signal is given off every 13 hours indicating where a cow has located at any given time. If the isolated cow has not moved for a while this is indicating that she has probably given birth. This is the time when volunteers will be called in to assist. The volunteers will sweep the area where the cow and calf are thought to be in the hopes that they find it. Once found, a GPS collar will be put on the calf so monitoring can begin. WARNING: This activity can be rigorous depending on the location of the elk so, if thinking of volunteering, take this into account. As in years past the volunteers will meet in Clam Lake before heading out although searching will include the entire Clam Lake elk range. If interested or want more information you are encouraged to contact Josh’s assistant, Sarah Looman, whom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-634-7464 What a great opportunity to help with our elk research!
ON THAT NOTE – HERD GROWTH: According to an article in the Outdoor News our Wiscosnin elk herd is continuing to grow and spread out. As of this year there are about 366 elk in Wisconsin with 259 of them being part of the northern (Clam Lake) herd. This comprises 153 cows, 57 bulls and 49 calves. The DNR estimates about a 60% survival rate on calves based on findings from previous studies. The new three year research project (above) will look to identify the types of mortality and see if the 60% is still in the ball park. Josh Spiegel reported that, “The biggest loss is to bears on calves. They will target the cows and start hanging out in the area pre-birth.” The DNR will be monitoring survival, mortality and habitat use with a new GPS study in the northern zone. The target will be to collar 20 to 25 calves each of the years to confirm survival rates and mortality causes. The last data was collected between 2000-13.
EAGLE UPDATE: I spoke with Rich Hinchcliff who monitors the eagles on Camp Fire Island to see how they are progressing with their young family. He reported that he has observed feeding going on and has seen one eaglet for sure. It remains to be seen if there are two in the nest or just the one. We wish the Camp Fire Island family well as they go about the busy task of raising their young brood.
Time to wish all those celebrating birthdays in May a very Happy Day! They are:
May 10th – Len Heinlein
May 11th – Justin Gerhardt
May 12th – Tiffany Eickermann
May 13th – Meghan Keany
May 16th – Jenny Gapen
May 19th – Lacey Hollister and Jacob Miroslaw
May 21st – Pam Stowel and Nilu Eder
May 31st – Don Castro
The only couple celebrating a wedding anniversary in May are Ron and Colae Vecchie on May 28th. We wish them happiness on their special day.
Until next week…..
Pictured is a parent eagle sitting on the nest on Camp Fire Island. (Photo courtesy of Kate Brinkman.)