Autumn on a Kettle Lake

Sitting above the north shore of Sandy Lake, in northeast Ohio, there was a mix of summer and autumn yesterday afternoon.  The calm lake waters rippled with schools of minnows, a pair of ring-billed gulls circled overhead and the stately form of a great blue heron rose above a distant shoreline.  Summer-like warmth, carried on a southwest breeze, fueled thunderstorms that rumbled across the area.

Hinting of the seasonal change, splotches of autumn color adorned the lakeside woodlands while, just below my perch, eastern chipmunks scurried about, collecting acorns for their winter dens.  Across the lake, turkey vultures tilted in the southwest breeze and a lone red-tailed hawk surveyed the scene from a barren limb.

As a cold front moves in over the next few days, the summer-like conditions will yield to the cool, dry air more typical of October.  Migrant ospreys and waterfowl will visit the lake in the coming weeks and, in another month or so, bald eagles will settle in as ice begins to coat the shallows.  Created by a chunk of glacial ice that left a depression in the landscape, this kettle lake will then enjoy the gray, chilly weather that characterized its late Pleistocene birth.