This site is situated on the shore of Lake Champlain approximately 13
miles north of Plattsburgh, stretching from southwest of the outlet of
the Little Chazy River north to the Kings Bay Wildlife Management
Area. The site is mostly privately owned land, but the 421-acre Kings
Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is administered by the New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).
The Kings Bay WMA consists of hardwood swamps and cattail
marshes. The remaining land is agricultural with many fallow fields.
According to the NY GAP land cover data, approximately 60% of the
site is open habitat, which includes cropland and old field/pasture. The
lake and shore provide prime waterfowl habitat.
These wetlands and grasslands along Lake Champlain regularly
support at-risk species including the American Black Duck (breeds
most years), Common Loon (possible breeder), Pied-billed Grebe (at
least six breeding pairs each year), American Bittern (regular breeder
with two or more pairs), Osprey (individuals observed, potential
breeder), Northern Harrier (year round resident, two pairs breeding),
Peregrine Falcon (possible breeder), Upland Sandpiper (two breeding
pairs each year from 1993-2002), Short-billed Dowitcher (regular
migrant), Wilson?s Phalarope (confirmed breeder in 1993, 1994, 1997,
2002), Common Tern (as many as 45 individuals observed during
summer), Black Tern (up to eight individuals during breeding
season), Short-eared Owl (up to eight individuals in 1995 winter),
Willow Flycatcher (six singing males in 2001-2003), and Horned Lark (abundant in late summer and winter, confirmed breeder). This
is the first and only breeding site for Wilson?s Phalarope in the state.
Rare sightings of additional at-risk species include the Bald Eagle
(occasional visitor), Sharp-shinned Hawk (rare migrant), Cooper?s
Hawk (winter), American Golden Plover (rare migrant), Whimbrel
(rare migrant), Hudsonian Godwit (occasional migrant), Marbled
Godwit (rare migrant), Red Knot (rare migrant), Sedge Wren (rare
migrant), and Rusty Blackbird (rare migrant). The area also supports
wintering Rough-legged Hawks, occasionally Snowy Owls, and,
historically, Gray Partridges.
This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority
site under the project name Lake Champlain Shoreline and Wetlands.
Portions of this site have been designated as a state Bird Conservation
Area. Much of the area is composed of farms that include cropland as
well as pasture lands. Current land management practices have been
beneficial to birds. Potholes and ditches have been created to hold
water in an effort to improve the area for waterfowl and other wildlife.
In addition, Wood Duck nest boxes have been erected throughout the
area. Non-point source agricultural pollution is a potential problem
for wetlands and should be monitored. Improved inventory and
monitoring of at-risk species are needed.