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Nature’s Best By Elma Chapman - Foggy Morning


I write a lot about walking and hiking, but anytime you’re outdoors there’s the possibility of new discoveries. Monday when it was so foggy it seemed like a good time to explore the lake. No waves, no wind, just calm and quiet.

The first little fellow out to greet me was a green heron. He flew up into a tree and posed for me – until I got close enough for a picture and then just before I snapped the shutter he flew away. My goal for the morning was to explore South Twin Lake, and the heron distracted me before I even got my kayak turned toward the channel that connects the two lakes.

Paddling past the houses is nice, but I’m more curious to see the few spots that are still wooded. Traveling near the shore is the most interesting because where two habitats meet, i.e., the lake and the woody swamp, is where you’ll find the most diversity. As I was paddling past Twin Mills Campground I heard the loon. I couldn’t see it, but I definitely heard it. A few minutes later I found not one but two loons and they were talking to each other. It was almost like being in Minnesota! They were in the middle of the lake and I stayed near the shoreline so as not to bother them, but I certainly enjoyed their calling. And I did get a picture of them.

Lots of skunk cabbage was starting to leaf out, and a pretty willow was flowering with tiny yellow blossoms. Stalking along the shoreline amidst the skunk cabbage was another green heron. I was only about 12 feet from him, but he was obscured by logs and leaves and although I could see him clearly, my camera wasn’t so fortunate, so I took a picture of a red-winged blackbird that was calling from a perch nearby. I also found another patch of hepatica right on the edge of the lake.

The lake is full of turtles! Every log I passed had a turtle, and sometimes as many as 10. Most were about five inches from nose to tail, but a couple of them were much larger. I think they were mostly painted turtles. When you sneak up on them in a kayak you can get quite close before they get suspicious and dive.

Marsh marigolds are blooming now. They are very pretty yellow flowers that grow in shallow, still water.

A sandhill crane soared overhead. Sandhill cranes always look like they are on a mission – they’re going somewhere. Not this one. It was behaving like a vulture, flying in lazy loops high above the shore line. Maybe it was just enjoying the morning like I was. It eventually flew off over the treetops heading south, but not before doing about 10 leisurely circles in the air above me. I did also see a blue heron fly over and several vultures soaring.





As the fog lifted and the sun peeked out, the lake sparkled like diamonds. I heard some splashes near the kayak, but I’m not sure what it was. I think the fish were starting to jump. Maybe they were being chased deep underwater by the loons. All I saw were spreading circles on the surface.

Quite a pleasant morning!