photo by Bob Stanowski
photo by Bob Stanowski
What a difference a week makes! Actually, my visit to Little Pond on the evening of Thursday, 7/28, was only 5 days after our field trip out there on the evening of the 23rd. In that short time span the water levels in the pond and adjacent marsh have dropped a few inches, the Deer Fly population has decreased to a tolerable amount, and the mosquito population has decreased to a million or so. Much of the bird life is the same, with Red-winged Blackbirds, Swamp Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, and American Goldfinches remaining abundant, but a few more species have arrived on the scene or become more numerous. My main reason for going out to this pond was to look for the Great Egrets that John Marshall and Jeff Greenwood had reported earlier in the day. They were the first ones seen this year on White Memorial property. They also become my first ones for this year when I spotted them right where John and Jeff said they saw them. Whether these birds are early fall southbound migrants from the small nesting population on Lake Champlain or post-breeding wanderers from some Atlantic coastal location we have no way of knowing. They (assuming they were the same ones) were seen again on Friday and Saturday. I couldn't find them on my next visit on Sunday afternoon, 7/31. On my visit on 7/28 I found an early fall migrant Pied-billed Grebe, 2 Green Herons, and a Solitary Sandpiper, none which were found on the 7/23 visit. My visit on the hot afternoon of Sunday, 7/31, turned up a newly-fledged Red-tailed Hawk, but nothing else that we hadn't had on the previous visits. Actually, each of these subsequent visits produced fewer species than the 7/23 visit, which yielded 51 species. On 7/28 I had 43 species and on 7/31 I had 32 species. This is mostly due to my covering much less ground than we did on the 23rd. On that day we went all the way around the entire boardwalk and trail, while my other 2 visits only took me along the north side of the boardwalk. On all 3 days we went in from the S. Lake St. entrance. It is also obvious from the number and variety of birds found that evening is a far better time to go out than afternoon. We've always known that, but these observations reinforce that belief.