Fly Patrol Now On Duty!

Fly Patrol Now On Duty!

The cold and rainy weather has kept the complaints down from hikers encountering the annual invasion of lake flies around Devil’s Lake. Oh, the flies are still there of course, but the hikers by and large, are not. It’s just too cold and wet for most day hikers.

Well, the lake flies never really last long anyway. Not only do they have a very short life-cycle (Just a few days), but they are soon cleared out by the Devil’s Lake Fly Patrol! OR, more precisely, the swallows, ducks and other birds who spend days gorging on the lake flies and building up their energy stores while the getting is good!

Tree Swallows at Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin.

You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. If you’re goal is walking around the lake shore this time of year, yep it sucks.  However, if you change your goals a bit, the hatching of the flies can be a highlight of spring! Just give up the lakeside hike (You can after all, hike elsewhere in the park!), and plan on heading to south shore road during the early morning hours or at dusk and taking in the air show!

For just a few hours at the start and end of each day, the birds will fill the air as the gather in as many flies as they can catch.  In the process they put on an amazing display of acrobatics to rival any thing you’ll see in Oshkosh!

The trick to seeing the show “up close and personal” is to either stay in your car with a good pair of binoculars or if you want to get closer, plant yourself somewhere quietly near the sidewalk.  You can sit right along the shoreline if once seated, you don’t make a lot of noise or erratic movements.  Once the swallows know you’re going to stay where you are, the they will come in close, sometimes even buzzing by your head and they pick the flies out of the air all around you.  What an amazing sight!

So yep, the flies are here.. you won’t want to hike near the lake (Even if the weather clears up!), but hey, there’s an air show to enjoy and that’s pretty cool too!

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