Day 6: February 1, 2012
Lakes: Great!
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Uncle Eldon's winter home is a trailer park at the edge of Lake Haines. Today Jim, a neighbor, treated us to a ride on the lake. Jim has lived here much longer than Eldon and the two have known each other for much longer than that. Water birds were fairly numerous although both Jim and Eldon reported often seeing a lot more than what we saw today. As we floated along the east edge of the lake, we saw (I think) blue herons, coots, anhingas, and egrets plus some birds I didn't get pictures of. We even saw a couple of eagles and I did get a picture of one but only after we had passed and could see it in the sunlight and that got me a backside view.

Lakes abound. Jim has calculated that the lakes and other wetlands comprise over 50% of the area's surface. Many of the lakes are connected by a series of shallow channels. We headed through one to Lake Rochelle. Here were whole flocks of coots which would flap themselves off a short distance if we approached too close. Then we would, as Jim said, watch the "coot scoot". Some coots hung out with some pretty tall friends. Sunlight from behind us made the neat old bridge show up better on the way back through the channel than it had coming out.

I got a decent shot of an eagle perched on a pier along Lake Haines' western edge and even a marginal shot of an anhinga with wings spread. Anhingas are diving birds and frequently spread their wings to dry. I'd tried snapping them with wings spread but seemed to always be a bit late. This one was behind us with the sun behind him for some odd lighting but it's the best I got. When we looked at the pictures, I thought the bird in the third picture might be an anhinga but Eldon didn't think so because of the way the legs trail behind it. I kind of liked the picture so I'm using it in spite of the unidentified subject. I'm guessing that Jim will see this and I'll get an emailed ID sometime. Also for Jim's benefit, I'm including one picture of a tree swallow. These small quick birds flitted across the front of the boat grabbing insects from near the surface. I did probably get as many pictures of empty water as I did of swallows but I also got quite a few not-very-crisply-focused pictures of the birds. It's a good thing digital pictures are free.

There was no problem identifying the swimmer in the last photo. As we got a little closer, he sank to a level where only the eyes were above water then, after just a few seconds, disappeared completely.

The sun was setting as we headed toward the dock and it looked quite nice behind my boat mates. At least it did to the human eye but not so much to the lens. But I still got a picture of the two with Eldon on the left and Jim on the right. These guys seem to have it pretty good.

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