Finding Feathers Long Island

Lakeland County Park- Revisit

Welcome back, everyone! Today I want to talk to you about a trip I took in late March back to Lakeland County Park. Since I have already done an entry on this park I am not going to go into a lot of detail about the park itself and rather focus on the trip and what we saw.

Before I dive right into it I want to take a moment to fill you all in on a little personal situation I have been dealing with lately. Normally I do not find it necessary to drag my personal life into these articles but I think it has become necessary for me to explain why there was such a long gap in content lately. I have been dealing with some medical issues for the past several months and recently found out that I will soon need to undergo some fairly intensive surgery. While I was going through the process of finding out what the problem was I, sadly, was not able to go out birding and also had a lot of difficulty being on the computer which limited my ability to write new entries. I would like to sincerely thank all of you who stuck it out with me for your patience. As for now, I am back out birding as much as possible until I go in for surgery (scheduled for the 1st week of September), but since I am still not feeling my best I will be avoiding any parks/trails that are very difficult or far from home for the most part. My goal is to have enough trips banked before September to allow me to continue to post content while I am recovering but I will keep you guys in the loop as things go. I do have a few exciting things planned in the meantime though including a trip to Alaska, Florida and of course our annual Maine vacation. Ok, now that that is all out in the open, let me tell you about Steven and My recent trip back to Lakeland County Park!

Since this was our first trip out birding in several months we decided to start out easy and ease back into it with a park we knew well. After all, it was designed as a handicapped accessible park so we knew it would be an easy walk and it is only a few blocks from our apartment. Just like the last time we visited the parking lot was mostly empty and the grass surrounding it was dotted with American Robins hunting for breakfast. Since it was such a beautiful day and the beginning of spring, there were quite a few people on the trail so sadly the noise and commotion kept a lot of the birds at bay but when we reached the pond it seemed that we were again alone and the birds were waiting.

Mallards were the first sight to greet us in the brambles along the edge of the shoreline, rooting about in the muddy shallows. Red-winged Blackbirds sang out from nearly every treetop and a Hairy Woodpecker drilled at a thin leafless tree at our side. Canada Geese speckled the shimmering blue water honking their familiar chatter and Common Grackles shimmered their glossy iridescence in the strong shining sun.

American Robin

Mallard

Mallard

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-winged Blackbird

Mallard

Canada Geese

Common Grackle

We continued along the right side of the pond to a small lookout equipped with a wooden bench overlooking a narrow section of water and thick area of tall grass and bramble. We settled in deciding this would be a great spot to stop for a while a wait out some new arrivals. It did not take long! within a few moments, a Song Sparrow landed on a small sapling lining the opposite shoreline and soon a pair of Ring-necked Ducks appeared from around the bend of the pond. A lone Northern Flicker sunned on a nearby treetop and more Common Grackles and Hairy Woodpeckers continued to come and go from the branches above and around us. From the distance, a raptor entered from over the treeline and circled above the water, later after zooming in on the photos and getting a little help from the great people at Whatbird.com I would discover that it was a Coopers Hawk!

Song Sparrow

Ring-necked Duck

Common Grackle

Northern Flicker

Common Grackle

Hairy Woodpecker

Cooper’s Hawk

Watching the sky as the Hawk disappeared over the trees from where it came I nearly fell from my chair as a giant Great Blue Heron streaked across the sky right above us and perched on a tree across the pond. The park was in no way lacking for life, though the majority of action continued to be from the same few regular visitors. Red-winged Blackbirds flitted about all around us, Song Sparrows sang out in the warm spring air and Canada Geese continued to come and go from the pond. The Pair of Ring-necked Ducks swam back and forth around the shore as if keeping patrol but were soon joined by three new visitors, a group of Gadwalls!

Ring-necked Duck

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Red-winged Blackbird

Song Sparrow

Gadwall Duck

Canada Geese

Ring-necked Duck

Canada Goose

After a while more of sitting, we decided to head to the front of the pond to an elevated fishing pier and the entrance back to the main trail back. Along the way, we stopped to watch a large group of White-throated Sparrows toiling in the blanket of fallen leaves beneath the brambles along the trail. From the pier, we watched as the Great Blue Heron preened along the shore and the Mallards tended a nest hidden amongst the tall grass.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Mallard

A Mallard sits on its nest while Canada Geese and Ring-necked Ducks swim by

Mallard

Hairy Woodpecker

Though we did not see a huge variety on this trip I would still consider it a success. There is something very magical about the experience of being able to view a large bird such as a Great Blue Heron up close like this, and it allowed for some great photos as well. This park is quite small and rather “common” but for an easy day trip close to home it doesn’t get much better. I am also happy to report that the litter problem seems drastically improved since my last visit which is always a pleasant surprise! Spring is passing by fast my friends, get out there and make the most of it while it is here! It truly is the most special time of the year. Until next time, Happy Birding!

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