It was a somber, gloomy day out at Smith and Bybee Lakes. I went out on October 19 as my final visit to the Wetlands, closing out my year-long project of visiting the area regularly throughout the year to document the seasonal changes.
If you’ve read my previous post on the lakes, you will know that the area has been closed since the beginning of September due to a botulism outbreak. Right in the midst of fall migration, one of our area’s most frequented stop-over wetland for migrating birds needed some help. Many of the waterfowl were removed from the area so they could be treated. Many others have died. Bybee Lake was drained to not much more than a giant mud puddle. Loud noises, canons, gunshots, and other disturbances are being carefully used to discourage birds from entering the area.
The botulism will go away on its own, over time. When the weather gets cold enough and the rains are heavy enough, this will pass. We are waiting it out and I am crossing my fingers for the birds.
I saw a pair of bald eagles flying around. I sure hope they can be scared off. There were still some small songbirds in the tree canopy: chickadees, ruby crowned kinglets, song sparrows. While most of the birds getting sick from the botulism are waterfowl, I imagine any bird could get sick. I could still hear plenty of frogs, so they seemed to be doing well. Perhaps due to rapid loss of their predators. Overall the place was extremely vacant, it held a feeling of death.
I couldn’t get out to Smith Lake, the area was all roped off. But I could get out to Bybee Lake. Metro workers were out there doing their hazing. Not the most pleasant atmosphere.
What there was plenty of was leaves. With fall upon us, leaves were all over the ground. I spent my time taking pictures of leaves.