We wandered to Ausable Point on Lake Champlain today and found more wildlife than I expected on this chilly and dark December day! We were very surprised to find great blue herons in the area, I thought they would have migrated south by this time… But there was still open water – apparently allowing them a means of catching food. The first one we saw was so puffed up it looked as though it had donned a second feathery coat over it’s usual plumage.
Ausable Point is not far from Valcour Island Bird Conservation Area, which is home to the largest great blue heron rookery in New York State. Once there is no longer open water from which to fish they will eventually migrate further south, or perhaps east toward the ocean. Since todays birds are still so close to the rookery they are likely to be some of the first to return to it in the spring.
We also had the good fortune of watching a pileated woodpecker, mergansers and a rabbit. All were difficult for this newbie photographer to capture, but I hope you will get a flavor for the day!