With the melting of the last vestiges of winter come the summer’s residents of the caldera. Some are wanted and appreciated, while others are detested. Some provide vital functions to the area, while others are simply nuisances. There are even a few summer residents that are destructive and should be shot!
I know what you are thinking. How bad are his neighbors? I’m talking about the returning wildlife to Island Park. The first summer residents were the flocks of birds that began emptying our bird feeders daily while waiting for the ground to clear of snow. The flats greeted the returning herd of antelope with its emerging grass, on which they could be seen grazing. The elk and deer began moving to the caldera from the lower elevations where they wintered. Raptors have begun constructing nests on the man-made platforms installed for their convenience.
On the flip side, the seagulls are back. The winter’s congregation of ravens has been overrun with the flocks of seagulls that descend on the county landfill. The dominating gulls also overrun Big Springs, consuming any food offered to the ducks or trout. One has to almost push them out of the way to walk on the bridge walkway and avoid their white, post-modern impressionist graffiti that they have applied to the bridge.
The pelicans have also returned. They are large and somewhat majestic birds but gluttons. Each gorging themselves on hundreds of pounds of trout, conservation has never been their concern. All that matters to them is that they satisfy their insatiable appetite.
Life in the caldera is always in an ebb and flow. The enjoyment of spending time here is watching the transitions occur. Nature always finds its balance but I am not adverse to those who offer a little assistance in maintaining that balance. I am just saying …..