The low water of March is the time to see freshly exposed mud spotted with dabbling pits. Why mud? Why dabbling pits?
Turn back the calendar to the normal water level of the previous summer. Waves wash the sandy beaches of the West Arm. The breaking waves pick up sand of all sizes and first wash it a short distance up the beach. The water then flows back down the slope but now carries the sand grains and silt out into the Lake.
However, not all particles are treated equally: as the velocity decreases as water flows back into the Lake, the larger grains of sand settle out adjacent to the shore, while the silt is carried a bit farther offshore. The process is repeated with every wave.
The particles that had been picked up by the waves have been sorted, with the bigger ones near the water’s edge and the smaller ones farther out. The offshore silt results in the mud that is a staple of beaches along the West Arm.
The mud becomes a home for a rich range of tasty biota. Dabbling ducks, geese, and swans love to feed there. They tip their butts in the air and extend their necks downward as their bills make circular sweeps in the mud in search of delectables. They dabble in the mud.
It is the dabbling pits that water fowl make in mud that are exposed when the Lake level drops.
The Canada Goose is one of many dabbling water birds to tip up and sweep the mud below.
Low water exposes the dabbling pits made earlier by water fowl in what had been offshore mud.