Perhaps it is me, but this year seems different. Each year I look for similar things in nature, and for some reason, I’m not seeing them.

One of the things I look forward to seeing is the migration of loons as they travel north. In the past, Lake McKusick has been a temporary stopping point for a large group of loons. This year, I haven’t seen them.

In fact, I have only seen one or two on all of the Stillwater lakes combined. Where did they go?

While I was looking for loons, I spotted two snapping turtles mating on South Twin Lake. I’ve seen large turtles on McKusick and Long Lake, but this one topped them all. The male turtle was huge.

It could eat ducks whole. And then, there were the claws. Wow!

When the turtle rolled over, they looked like bear claws, and I don’t mean the ones at the bakery. Swimmers take note!!!

Just north of town, there is a sand hill crane that is nesting on a mound it built in a small pond. It was just a few years ago that these huge birds were extremely rare. They nested in the northern tundras of Canada and Russia. We were lucky to see them when they migrated in the spring and especially in the fall. Now, they are nesting in our area and we see them off and on in some of the local fields.

Things keep changing. So do we.

David Fabio is a local author and nature photographer.

His books can be viewed at

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