If you are going outdoors here in the Baraboo Hills this weekend, you’ll see fairly good trail conditions, some open water here and there, and a fair number of migratory birds and wildlife. Here’s what we’ve seen as we’ve been out and about this week…
Don’t let the recent snowfall reports scare you. Here in the Baraboo Hills we’ve only had a dusting and it’s gone. In fact the trails, while muddy in spots, are particularly dry for this time of year. You will still encounter mud and some slippery areas, but really the trails are in great spring conditions.
Devil’s Lake is still around 90% ice-covered as of this morning and I expect it won’t retreat much until Sunday when temps will hit the 50’s and stay there into next week.
Lake Wisconsin is open for the most part with ice still filling many of the smaller bays. Depending on the boat launch, you would be able to get out on the water.
Birds & Wildlife
Saturday would be a great day to join park naturalist, Susan Johansen for her “Spring Phenology Hike” from 1 pm to 3pm. Phenology refers to the seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year – such as migration of birds, flowers blooming, insects emerging, etc. You’ll spend the afternoon hiking around the park to record what animals and animal signs you see. The information collected will be recorded in the National Phenology Network’s program Nature’s Notebook. This is a “Free” event, however you do need a 2015 state park sticker or day pass for your car.
The Great Blue Heron have arrived at the rookery located in Devil’s Lake State Park’s Group Camp area on the south shore of Devil’s Lake. Some Turkey Vultures have returned but not yet in large numbers. You’ll also see Sandhill Cranes all around the area, especially in wetland areas and cornfields. On the many smaller waterways and ponds in the area you’ll find a variety of ducks, cranes and other birds including; Sandhill cranes, gulls, heron, hooded mergansers, common mergansers, goldeneye ducks, teals, canada geese, red-winged blackbirds and more. Also watch the skies for bald eagles!
Another great place to find waterfowl right now is at Mirror Lake State Park just north of Baraboo.
While construction is causing many uncertainties, the rumor mill suggests that Northern Lights Campground may be open after April 1. I can’t confirm that yet, but if you are an early season camper, keep your eyes open for that announcement.
Yesterday, March 25th it was reported that the Merrimac Ferry was making test runs across Lake Wisconsin. UPDATE: The Merrimac Ferry is Now Open!
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Have a great weekend!