Thanks to Mona B., I went to the nature trail behind Stillwater Elementary, which is located off of Rt 4, in search of Least Bitterns. I was unsuccessful on my way out, but on my return, with the entrance gate visible, one flew past me headed towards the school. It veered north and landed on the edge of the pond. While I could no longer see it, it began calling and I could still hear it when I reached my car. I was very surprised to learn of the existence of this trail, as it's in my district and certainly wasn't there when my kids went to school. It's lovely. The large pond area to the north is filled with water lilies, small shrubs, large dead trees and the expected bird species. The wetland continues on the south side, but is not as open. The wide trail continues to the Hudson where it then turns left and follows the river through a deciduous forest. I didn't go to the end.
Last night around dusk I could hear the high pitched, raspy sound of Barred Owlets in my yard. When I went out it seemed like there were owls flying everywhere. There were at least four and at least two of them were immature. I had good looks as they were perched rather low. They still had some downy feathers on their shoulders, but otherwise looked like adults. I got to watch as a parent delivered dinner of a vole or mole to one of the young while the other continued screeching - very cool!
Stillwater School Nature Trail Stillwater NY, Saratoga, New York, US