It's already November! How can that be? I was just enjoying a daily dose of garden tomatoes; kids were going back to school and then – SNAP! We moved into October with the first hard frost mid-month, gardens zapped, snow flurries, Halloween, seven weeks until Christmas … but Wait! Before the snow really flies and holiday festivities begin, take a short drive to the Round Lake Preserve. It is my new favorite place to go with the dog, a friend, the Green Hour group, and, of course, my camera. I've visited about a half dozen times and I always see something different and interesting. I am very happy that this beautiful piece of land was not developed but saved as a preserve for us all to enjoy.
The preserve is located off of Route 67, 1.7 miles east of Route 9. If you go the back way on Maltaville Road to get to Rt 67, I haven't clocked it, but the preserve is before the Sweeney Farm and is a right hand turn. There is a dark brown shingled sign saying Round Lake Preserve. It is a hard packed road to get in. Go around a small round-about ( of course, it's Malta!) to park.
On September twenty-third, a warm and sunny day, I brought my Green Hour group on a visit to the preserve to explore and see what we could see. In the field next to where we parked, we saw Cabbage-white and Clouded Sulphur (yellow) butterflies. A Monarch butterfly flew by over the field of red clover. We then looked at and read informational signs telling us of future trails to the lake and what animals we may see, like deer and rabbit. We learned there was a seaplane service on the lake starting in 1941. A couple of picnic tables are at this spot. We ran down the road towards the boardwalk, stopping along the way to read about and look at pictures of Native Americans who came to the lake to fish and to the woods to hunt during summers. Artifacts have been found on the property from their encampments. Farming came afterwards to the area.
The group was eager to get to the boardwalk and water but had to stop to check out a caterpillar and then another sign telling of Kestrels, Meadowlarks, and Northern Harrier hawks that might be spotted. Dragonflies darted around us, red and blue ones, as we finally got to the observation platform on the Anthony Kill, Round Lake's outlet. The kids saw lots of sunfish, bugs, and lily pads in the water.
The view is really wonderful from the platform. The lake, to the west, is relatively close. Looking east you can see the Anthony Kill. It is a totally different view than being on the water in a kayak or canoe. It's a great spot to look at the sky and view cloud formations, watch the sparkle on the water; fish and bird watch. I've seen Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfishers, and a Bald Eagle fly by.
In 2004 there were at least 20 Great Blue Heron nests down from here. The nests began to dwindle in number as ospreys and eagles came to the lake. I remember watching a Bald Eagle flying over the rookery with the herons croaking their concern, certainly afraid of their young being snatched for the eagle's meal. By 2010 there was only four nests in the rookery with herons occupying just one. The following year an osprey nested there and no herons. The herons and osprey are now nesting on Ballston Creek. Both species come to Round Lake to fish.
To see pictures of the preserve check out my blog, Roundlakenaturenotes.blogspot.com: Around the Village in Photos:October 22- 28, October 8 – 13, and September 17 – 23, 2015.
Enjoy your visit!