Wed Mar 2023

The Birds Are Back!*

The birds are back, at least some of them. Every day, now, I see one or two Double-crested Cormorants on the small, emergent rock in mid-pond that has traditionally been their roost of choice. And every day, I also see a Great Blue Heron at various spots around the pond, flying, wading, perching, always on the hunt for fish, and apparently doing so with a renewed enthusiasm. Most encouragingly, I see a few gulls of various species starting to gather.

If the birds are coming back, then almost certainly the small Bluegill sunfish, that died off so massively and mysteriously in March 2012, are starting to recover as well. I know that some pond residents are skeptical of that linkage, but we should learn more about all this when/if MassWildlife comes next spring to conduct a survey of the fish populations, as they tentatively promised to do.

The Largemouth Bass are not in question; they’ve been here all along — although I took on face value a recent, and as it turns out, erroneous report by an angler that their numbers were down. My normal skepticism was blunted when I heard his account, by the relative absence of anglers on the pond most of the summer. When I later questioned another person fishing near shore, he opined that the anglers were deterred by a new, grassy weed that gets tangled in the propellers of their electric trolling motors, as well as in their lures. I had heard that complaint before, so it seemed a reasonable explanation. Apparently, the herbicide treatment this spring slowed this invasive plant, but it has since come back, especially in the shallows.

Both birds, above, are perched atop the eponymously named Heron Rock. Both are seen in silhouette, which is just coincidence, the result of lighting conditions at the time. Click an image to view it full screen, and click the back arrow to return. Cursor over each image to see its description. Enjoy!