Laurel Creek Conservation Area
19 November 2013
Every year, in late fall, the Grand River Conservation Area lowers the level of the water at the Laurel Creek Reservoir. Quite why this is done I am not sure, but no doubt there is some sound reason.
As the depth of water gets lower, more and more aquatic species are left stranded on the mud, especially crayfish and small fish of various species. This provides birds, especially American Crows Corvus brachrynchos and Ring-billed Gulls Larus delawarensis with a bounty of easily available food, and they waste no time descending on the area to gorge at will. At times I have seen them so sated they simply play with the food rather than eating it.
Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus are spotted from time to time at this location and I have little doubt that they take advantage of this bonanza also. I just never have happened upon them during this period.
As for mammals, I take it as a given that Racoons Procyon lotor will be found there as soon as they emerge from their day time roost. This species is a common omnivorous feeder during the crepuscular period and right through the night.