Sounds of Perch Lake

I have a friend who says that Perch Lake is one of the quietest places he knows.

I think he really means that there isn’t a lot of human noise comparatively. At Perch Lake we experience a lot of different sounds that can be categorized by seasons, time of day, weather conditions, bird, reptile, mammal, etc. I started thinking about this during rifle deer season the day after skim ice formed on the lake. The temperature had moderated and a south wind came up that caused the ice to break up. The sound of the ice moved by the waves was high pitched and sounded like 10,000 bourbons on the rocks (without the associated human chatter!). There are too many to list but among my favorites sounds are spring peepers. There are times when you drive past a vernal pond just after sunset and you can hear them clearly as you drive past. Drumming grouse have caused the uninitiated to ask why someone is running a generator back in the woods. Have you heard the beenting of a woodcock during the mating display? We had one behind the cabin keep it up all night or at least every time the call of nature beckoned that evening. How about the splash of a feeding fish after dark? The calls of the eagles, loons, and pileated woodpeckers are familiar and very distinctive giving me cause to smile. I wish I would invest the time and effort in really knowing bird calls as a serious birder friend does. It would enhance my experience fishing, hunting, etc particularly when fish and game are not cooperating. How quickly will folks head to bed for the night when a wolf or coyote howls close by during a bonfire evening? We had gone to bed one evening a few years ago and a wolf howled just north of us followed immediately by a fight. It was one of the most intense couple of minutes and frightening-it didn’t sound like all survived that one.

The sound of wind through white and red pines is really special and soothing. But it surprises me at times as it can sound like a vehicle where there could not be a vehicle. Maybe my friend was talking about those ultra quiet days or at least the sunrise and sunsets parts of those days when no wind blows and no motor boat is on the lake. Folks have said that the silence can be almost deafening. Other weather sounds are freezing rain on the roof and windows and snow cascading off a metal roof. A strong south wind blowing at night makes one pause to think if you tied your boat bow out-at least for those of us on the north end. Did you know that northern lights make noise? At least, according to my brother and Scientific American they do. I have heard a sound that almost sounds like low voltage when I was looking, awestruck, at the auroras. I figured it was just my imagination.

How about the B52 bombers flying over before KI Sawyer closed? The sound seemed to come from everywhere at once and when the plane breaks low over the trees it floors you that such a monster could fly. We have been buzzed by fighter jets during fall hunts (blaze orange) and they are equally impressive but for speed and maneuverability. Apparently they come from a base in North Dakota and can practice in our area as there are less than 5 people per square mile (so I have been told).

Well, those are some of my favorites. What about yours?

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