While the Four Brothers are in New York State waters, I thought this might
be of interest to Vermont birders...
I made a brief visit to the Four Brothers Islands in Lake Champlain
this past Sunday (23 July 2006), spending about 30 minutes during the late
afternoon circling the four islands in our boat. The unquestioned
highlight of the trip was spotting a CATTLE EGRET on Island "B," the more
southerly of the two islands that are closest to Vermont. This species is
a regular breeder at the Four Brothers, but has eluded me during previous
visits to the islands. It also eluded me on this trip, as well, as the
bird I saw was only briefly visible before disappearing into the lush green
vegetation that covers most of this island. It's amazing how a white bird
can completely disappear in a sea of green!
The Cattle Egret was one of nine species of colonial waterbirds that
I observed at the Four Brothers during my short visit. The others were:
GREAT BLUE HERON--approximately 20 birds seen perched in or near nests on
Island "D;" I believe that most, if not all, of these birds were juveniles,
but viewing with just binoculars, in a moving boat, is somewhat
challenging, even under relatively calm conditions
GREAT EGRET--at least two birds seen on "B," and two more seen on "A"
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON--several adults and immatures seen on "A" and
"B;" also heard in the vicinity of "D"
CASPIAN TERN--an adult seen carrying food as it returned to "C"
RING-BILLED GULL--numerous juvenile gulls were seen on the water around the
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL