Saturday, October 8, 2011

Birding at Kah Tai

The birders were out in force this foggy morning at Kah Tai. Our group of fourteen humans ranged in age from 70s+ to a charming boy of perhaps 7 with his grandmother. The Admiralty Audubon trip leader carried one of several spotting scopes in the group. The calm waters of the lagoon were dotted with flotillas of individual species and groups of species, sailing about their business. An adult mallard was trailed by several non-mallard juveniles. "Teenagers," was all the trip leader said in explanation.

Marsh Wren. Greater Yellowlegs. Killdeer. Virginia Rail. Great Blue Heron. Scaups. Buffleheads and Ruddy Ducks. Did somebody say Wood Ducks? (Nope, no Wood Ducks.) Wigeons. Shovelers. Mergansers. Glaucous-winged Gulls. Long V's of Canada Geese honked in and splash-landed while others lined up for takeoff after feeding and resting. Flocks of migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers. Ruby-crowned Kinglets. A Spotted Towhee. Juncos. Crows. Rock Pigeons. An Anna's Hummingbird.

One birder, quiet and thoughtful, was in line at one scope or another for most of the announced sightings. Finally, he said, "I always thought this was just all blackberries and Scot's Broom here. I had no idea...".

That is the whole point of Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park. Nearly 80 acres of water, marsh and uplands rehabilitated from dredge spoil, threatened repeatedly by development from people who see nothing but blackberries and Scot's Broom. But in the middle of our small town, accessible to all, it remains a serene oasis. It is now officially federally protected by National Park Service regulations.

Go see the blackberries and Scot's Broom if that's what you expect. But don't be surprised if the Park sneaks up and changes you.

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