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      I still haven't been able to get out to do as much birding as I would
like, but I have managed to stop by the Charlotte Town Beach the past three
days to scope out the lake before it gets dark.  While this spot is a
wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks
at any time of day, I would not recommend birding there in the late
afternoon--birding largely becomes an exercise in identifying birds by
silhouette.
      At any rate, I have seen a few interesting things there this week,
especially today.  The highlight was a relatively close RED-NECKED GREBE
that I observed swimming and diving (and even vocalizing once).  Without
the benefit of any color, I identified the bird by its dark overall
appearance; large, heavy bill; and triangular head profile.  Further out on
the water, there was a group of seven loons, with a marked size contrast
between individuals in the group.  There were four massive birds that were
obviously COMMON LOONS, and three noticeably smaller birds that I believe
were RED-THROATED LOONS based on this smaller size.
      Along the shoreline, there were at least two KILLDEER calling during
most of my visit.  As I was about to leave, I was surprised to hear the
call of a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, which made a brief foray out over the water
and then landed almost right in front of me.  It seems like it's getting a
little late for this species.
      The lake was almost perfectly calm today, in marked contrast to
conditions on Monday, when there was a powerful north wind.  I spent about
15 minutes on Monday afternoon struggling to scan the waters, and saw
mostly DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS flying up and down the lake.  At one
point, though, I spied three small, black birds flying north just above the
surface of the water before settling down and being lost among the
waves.  I imagine that these were Black Scoters, but they were just too far
away for a positive identification.  (I also saw three dark, sleeping ducks
with a stiff-tailed look today.)
      Finally, at the Vermont Teddy Bear factory there was a flock of 30-40
HORNED LARKS in the area on both Monday and Tuesday.  I did not see them
today, but did hear a single AMERICAN PIPIT fly over the parking lot while
I was outside for lunch.

Good birding,
Matt Medler

P.S.  I also saw a Monarch fly by my office window today.  It is probably
only the third or fourth I have seen all summer and fall.