Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Out and About: Round Lake Nature Notes December, 2010

      Trying to work off Thanksgiving pie or making room for holiday cookies? Join me for a stroll around town to check out a few interesting spots and burn off a calorie or two.  Starting on the tennis courts, face north and walk towards the largest tree on the other side of the fence. Look at the main trunk and follow it up and you’ll see a lot of woodpecker holes.  The lower oval ones are made by Pileated Woodpeckers.  The upper round holes are dug by Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  Many days I hear these birds in this area and sometimes see them busy at work.
    Now we’ll walk up Curvy Hill (Covel Avenue).  Right before Covel curves to the right, look to the left and check out the dead tree. It looks like it’s being carved into a dugout canoe.  It’s the impressive work of Pileated Woodpeckers.   Take a couple more steps and on the left side of the road is another tree.  It has no bark and is peppered with holes.  It’s a great condominium for birds that stay the winter.  Continue walking along Prospect Avenue and enjoy the views of the lake.  When passing Schoolhouse Park, note the natural cavities in the large oak and maple trees.  I’ve seen squirrels, chipmunks, bees and wood ducks use these.  I’m hoping to see an owl tucked in one.
    At Andrews Avenue take a right and walk all the way down to Peck Avenue. You can see what birds are visiting the feeders or hiding in the hedges along the way.  Once at the Peck Avenue sign, turn left towards the woods.  Enter the woods, on the path, and step over the first fallen tree.  Keep walking and step over the second fallen tree.  Walk about five steps and stop.  Look to your left and find a white pine with eight holes, a couple of which look freshly dug.  Who might be living there?   You can continue on the trail through this stand of pines.  Notice that there are white pines with dark, vertically ridged bark.  There are also red pines with red paper-like bark.  Before you reach the third downed tree you can veer to the right on a faint trail. This will bring you out on the Zim Smith trail.
    Take a right to go back towards the village.  On either side of the trail there are small white and red pine trees.  You can reach the needles to count bundles of five needles for the white and bundles of two for the red pines.  As you walk along the trail and pass the cut through to Washington Avenue, look for the abundance of wild grapes wrapped around the trees on the left side.  You may see birds snacking on them.  One day two Pileated Woodpeckers were hanging on the vines feasting. 
    Now you’re on your own.  I hope you enjoyed the walk.  Let me know what you saw.  Leave a comment on!


  1. I don't live in Roundlake. In fact, I don't even know where its at. But after reading your postings I want to visit. nice blog! keep up the good writing.

  2. Hi Adam! Thanks for commenting. Round Lake is in upstate New York about 20 miles north of Albany and 10 miles south of Saratoga Springs. We are a very small village that was begun as a Methodist Camp Meeting in 1868. As time went on tent sites with canvas tents became wooden cottages and now 100 plus years later are year round homes. We are surrounded to the north, south and west by woods. To the east is Round Lake and little Round Lake. We are fortunate to have an abundance of wildlife. Development surrounds us but in the village,in the woods or on the lake it's like being in the last century. I hope you enjoy my blog!