Devil’s Lake amazes

Posted June 2nd, 2010 by kcorliss. Comments (2).

This basin lake, if you’ve lived in a cave the last 20 years or so, has grown threefold and swallowed up much in the way of farmland, structures, roads, towns, etc. The struggle with the rising water continues apace in north central North Dakota.

Two particular areas have benefitted greatly from the water though. One is the fishing which is about as good as it gets. The other is birds. Lots and lots of birds.

(what was once someone’s tree lot is now a large cormorant rookery)

With many square miles of water and inumerable inlets and bays, birds–especially water-dependant ones like gulls, shorebirds, and waders–are present in numbers usually reserved for Animal Planet shows or National Geographic.

One fairly new birder recently visited and posted the following on the state’s bird listserve: “Got a chance to go to devils lake this past weekend. I have never seen so many birds in one place…I can’t wait to go back.”

2 Responses to “Devil’s Lake amazes”

  1. Henry

    Prior to the water level rise, the DL basin offered flats with popular, june berries, choke cherries, wild plums, diamond willow, and cottonwood trees filled with deer, rabbit, fox, coyote, skunk, porcupine, squirrel, and woodchuck. Also, cattle peacefully grazed amongst all this. Most people didn’t see this beauty. Most was accessible only from rough trails. Now, this habitat is consumed by ugly high water. It makes me sad. Now, the high water is cutting into the old growth oak trees. Ugly, with no change in sight.

  2. kcorliss

    I hear ya Henry. It’s hard to reconcile these shifts in our minds. What I try and grasp, though, is the ephemeral nature of it all. What we perceive as the “normal” or the “way it used to be” or even “the way it should be,” is, in truth, not very accurate. Our lives are blazingly short when it comes to the big-picture, grand scheme of it all. A mere 10,000 years ago (an instant on the time line) the Red River Valley was a spruce forest for instance. And the badlands once grew palm trees. In the end, the only thing certain is change. Still, we want some sense of order, some equilibrium. It’s human nature. But we have no say in God’s or nature’s design.