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Carter’s Pond Bird Conservation Area

Carter’s Pond Bird Conservation Area

Southern Adirondack
Audubon Society

Protecting the environment through the preservation of natural habitats and the advancement of environmental education

Carter's Pond, selected as a Bird Conservation Area (BCA) by New York State in 2002, is a 447-acre wetland and upland complex owned by the State of New York and managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation “to conserve the diverse assemblage of bird species utilizing the area, and the habitats upon which they rely.” Providing a diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife are open water, emergent marsh, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, forests, old fields, grasslands, and shrublands. Three parking areas, canoe and rowboat access, a mile-long nature trail, and a pond and marsh overlook structure all combine to provide easy access to this natural area.

Directions Carter's Pond is located on CR 49 in the Town of Greenwich. Turn east from Rt 40 onto CR 49 in South Argyle, continue through the hamlet of Cossayuna and approximately 1.5 mi on your left are two parking areas on the east side of the road; one for access to the nature trail and observation deck and the other for access to the pond for cartop boats. No motors are allowed on the water. From points south follow Rt 29 to East Greenwich and turn north on CR 49, continuing for approximately 1.5 mi to the parking areas.
Carter’s Pond, selected as a Bird Conservation Area (BCA) by New York State in 2002, is a 447-acre wetland and upland complex owned by the State of New York and managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation “to conserve the diverse assemblage of bird species utilizing the area, and the habitats upon which they rely.” Providing a diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife are open water, emergent marsh, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, forests, old fields, grasslands, and shrublands. Three parking areas, canoe and rowboat access, a mile-long nature trail, and a pond and marsh overlook structure all combine to provide easy access to this natural area. Directions Carter’s Pond is located on CR 49 in the Town of Greenwich. Turn east from Rt 40 onto CR 49 in South Argyle, continue through the hamlet of Cossayuna and approximately 1.5 mi on your left are two parking areas on the east side of the road; one for access to the nature trail and observation deck and the other for access to the pond for cartop boats. No motors are allowed on the water. From points south follow Rt 29 to East Greenwich and turn north on CR 49, continuing for approximately 1.5 mi to the parking areas.
[Photo: Early spring affords a panoramic view from the observation deck]

Birding at Carter's Pond
Carter's Pond Bird Conservation Area (BCA) is an interesting natural place to visit in any season. Birding is most varied from early spring through late fall; however, nature walks throughout any season will reveal many plants and animals worth observation and study. The nature trail in winter can be a great place to study tracks and scats! Species observed in winter will include Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, American Tree Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, and both the Red- and the White-breasted Nuthatches. As the ice breaks up and daylight increases, many birds return to the pond and surrounding wetland. Red-winged Blackbirds are the first; the males' epaulets brilliant in the early spring sun as they show off and battle for marsh territory. American Woodcock also return at this time and offer views of their amazing courtship displays at the edges of the large grassy fields.
[Photo: Early spring affords a panoramic view from the observation deck] Birding at Carter’s Pond Carter’s Pond Bird Conservation Area (BCA) is an interesting natural place to visit in any season. Birding is most varied from early spring through late fall; however, nature walks throughout any season will reveal many plants and animals worth observation and study. The nature trail in winter can be a great place to study tracks and scats! Species observed in winter will include Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, American Tree Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, and both the Red- and the White-breasted Nuthatches. As the ice breaks up and daylight increases, many birds return to the pond and surrounding wetland. Red-winged Blackbirds are the first; the males’ epaulets brilliant in the early spring sun as they show off and battle for marsh territory. American Woodcock also return at this time and offer views of their amazing courtship displays at the edges of the large grassy fields.
[Photo: The observation deck is handicapped accessible]


By mid-April, Wood Ducks, Mallards, American Black Ducks, Canada Geese, Belted Kingfishers, Song Sparrows, Great Blue Herons, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers will have returned. Migrating waterfowl use the pond and wetland - Pied-billed Grebe, American Wigeon, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, both Blue and Green-Winged Teal, and Northern Pintail are some of the species seen in early spring. 
Spring heralds the return of thrushes and warblers. Veery, Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush have all been found here; warblers include American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-and-White, and Black-throated Green, in addition to the ubiquitous Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow warblers. Listen and watch for Northern Waterthrush in the flooded areas near the start of the nature trail and for Spotted Sandpiper along the stream. Great Blue Herons are a sure bet; Green Herons are often observed and Ospreys have been seen perched in snags along the edges of the pond. A quiet canoe paddle will make finding Virginia Rail and Sora easier; both have been discovered here. Also inhabiting the marshy areas are Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, and Common Moorhen.
[Photo: The observation deck is handicapped accessible]

By mid-April, Wood Ducks, Mallards, American Black Ducks, Canada Geese, Belted Kingfishers, Song Sparrows, Great Blue Herons, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers will have returned. Migrating waterfowl use the pond and wetland – Pied-billed Grebe, American Wigeon, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, both Blue and Green-Winged Teal, and Northern Pintail are some of the species seen in early spring.

Spring heralds the return of thrushes and warblers. Veery, Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush have all been found here; warblers include American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-and-White, and Black-throated Green, in addition to the ubiquitous Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow warblers. Listen and watch for Northern Waterthrush in the flooded areas near the start of the nature trail and for Spotted Sandpiper along the stream. Great Blue Herons are a sure bet; Green Herons are often observed and Ospreys have been seen perched in snags along the edges of the pond. A quiet canoe paddle will make finding Virginia Rail and Sora easier; both have been discovered here. Also inhabiting the marshy areas are Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, and Common Moorhen.
[Photo: The shady woods are inviting on a hot summer day.]
In summer, resident woodpeckers are joined by the Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireo may be found in addition to the more common Warbling and Red-eyed varieties. Flycatchers found on the BCA include the Least, Alder and Willow, Great-crested, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Phoebe; all are breeding species. Northern Rough-winged, Tree, and Barn Swallows help to keep the mosquito population down. Several species of sparrows inhabit the area; Chipping, Savannah, Swamp, Field, Swamp, Fox and Song have all been sighted on the BCA. A walk around the nature trail early on a late spring morning can give views of Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Scarlet Tanager. Indigo Bunting can be observed on the edges of the open grassland area of the BCA. It is a treat to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visiting Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) flowers in late summer.

Bobolinks and Field Sparrows are the only grassland species in our records; however, as more birders frequent this BCA, we would expect to hear of additional species nesting in the open areas.
[Photo: The shady woods are inviting on a hot summer day.]

In summer, resident woodpeckers are joined by the Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireo may be found in addition to the more common Warbling and Red-eyed varieties. Flycatchers found on the BCA include the Least, Alder and Willow, Great-crested, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Phoebe; all are breeding species. Northern Rough-winged, Tree, and Barn Swallows help to keep the mosquito population down. Several species of sparrows inhabit the area; Chipping, Savannah, Swamp, Field, Swamp, Fox and Song have all been sighted on the BCA. A walk around the nature trail early on a late spring morning can give views of Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Scarlet Tanager. Indigo Bunting can be observed on the edges of the open grassland area of the BCA. It is a treat to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visiting Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) flowers in late summer.

Bobolinks and Field Sparrows are the only grassland species in our records; however, as more birders frequent this BCA, we would expect to hear of additional species nesting in the open areas.
[Photo:  A view of the extensive south marsh]

As summer days pass and fall returns, songbirds will leave for winter homes and waterfowl will once again be the highlight of a trip to Carter's Pond. Swallows will gather over the water in large numbers, catching insects to fatten them for their long journey south; Red-winged Blackbirds will give an incredible show as they lift off in huge numbers, swirling in the fall sun, only to resettle and vocalize their restlessness to begin their flight south.

Migrating waterfowl will once again use the pond as a stopover on their journey south, and, as leaves fall and snow blankets the trail, Carter's Pond BCA will once again become a quiet place for a lovely winter walk.
[Photo:  A view of the extensive south marsh] As summer days pass and fall returns, songbirds will leave for winter homes and waterfowl will once again be the highlight of a trip to Carter’s Pond. Swallows will gather over the water in large numbers, catching insects to fatten them for their long journey south; Red-winged Blackbirds will give an incredible show as they lift off in huge numbers, swirling in the fall sun, only to resettle and vocalize their restlessness to begin their flight south. Migrating waterfowl will once again use the pond as a stopover on their journey south, and, as leaves fall and snow blankets the trail, Carter’s Pond BCA will once again become a quiet place for a lovely winter walk.