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.