Canoeing at Lums Pond State Park!

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Me, looking excited to go canoeing!
East End of Lums Pond

East End of Lums Pond

West End of Lums Pond

West End of Lums Pond

For the past few weeks, I've wanted to explore Lums Pond State Park in Bear, DE. Lums Pond spans over 200 acres and is surrounded by several hundred acres of new-growth woodlands, which serve as breeding grounds for a number of songbird species. The trails are mostly flat and the North side of the pond is divided into 6 areas, each of which has parking and trails to the water—all perfect for someone who can’t tolerate too much continuous walking. Hannah Greenberg, who works at the park, had been seeing a number of great birds including a Prothonotary Warbler, which would be a lifer for me. So, Hannah and I decided to take a trip down to Lums Pond on April 26th!

Hannah and I started off at the visitor’s center, and took a short walk to the Northwest corner of the pond. We were hoping to see shorebirds, wading birds, and some migrating songbirds along the way. Because we didn’t arrive at the park until about 10:30-11:00am, most birds had quieted down and there wasn’t too much songbird action. We did, however, hear my First-of-Year (FOY) Ovenbird and White-eyed Vireo. Along the trail, we saw a muskrat that was transporting some greenery to its den, which was a wonderful surprise.

Muskrat!

Muskrat!

Red-bellied Cooter

Red-bellied Cooter

 
Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

 
Also on the water’s edge, we observed a whole bunch of Northern Water Snakes and Red-bellied Cooters, all basking in the warm sunlight. Walking back towards the car, Hannah spotted a Glossy Ibis that was foraging along the shoreline. The ibis came closer and closer over the 15 minutes we spent watching it. (How amazing to observe such an awesome bird).
Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

At this point, we had been walking around for about two hours, and I was starting to a feel a little tired. We took a lunch break, and then made our way down to the boat rental area to get a look at the Southern portion of the pond. On the pathway, we noticed a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, which was gorgeous, so I stopped to snap a few photos.
As we reached the water, we realized that the boathouse was open, as a couple of people were out on the water in rented kayaks. So, we decided to rent a canoe and check out the cormorants, terns, and other birds that were flying around the lake. Now, I hadn't been canoeing or kayaking in at least two years, but I love love love being on the water. Fortunately, my excitement to try canoeing outweighed my fear of dizziness, vertigo, and motion sensitivity from the movement of the canoe on the water. We hopped into the canoe and started paddling our way towards the southernmost edge of the pond, where we had seen a small flock of Cattle Egrets flying earlier in the day. On the way there, I was absolutely stunned by the looks we were getting at the birds around us! Double-crested Cormorants and Tree Swallows were flying by us at eye level, and Caspian Terns were maneuvering through the air right in front of us. At one point, an Osprey flew over so closely that we could see it looking down at our boat.
Me, looking excited to go canoeing!

Me, looking excited to go canoeing!

Osprey (looking down at us)

Osprey (looking down at us)

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

The entire experience was incredible. I was so intensely excited to be out on the water and to see these birds from a new perspective. In terms of my recovery, I was thrilled that I’d gained back my ability to be spontaneous and to be able to try something new without my physical condition holding me back. I can’t wait to get back out on the water again! Hopefully, as my motion sensitivity decreases, I’ll be able to try the ultimate water-birding experience: going on a pelagic.