Floating Platform Update – New Tenant

The two floating platforms were stored on shore at Silver Lake for the winter, and were again deployed on April 2, 2016.
The platforms were placed about 50 feet off-shore and new straw was added.
The day that the platforms were floated out again, there were 5 mallard ducks observed on the lake.

A quick check of the platforms on April 16 showed two things of interest.
On one platform, the straw had been arranged into a mound and a very well concealed female mallard duck flew off the platform and landed in the water 100 feet away.
A quick look at the platform showed a nest lined with feathers and a number of eggs. This is the first nest to have been established on the floating platforms, which was an original goal of the project.

There were also a large number of open mussel shells on the same platform as the nest and on the second platform. The shells looked to have been broken and some still had remnants of mussel tissue.

Last year we observed in photographs, muskrats splitting open mussel shells. We also captured pictures of a mink and broken mussel shells with teeth marks.

Mink will also eat ducks and eggs, so it will be interesting to see what interactions there might be on the platform during the nesting season.

Will add some pictures soon.