Though there is a pleasant, graveled trail that loops around Sandy Lake, one cannot truly appreciate this ecosystem without getting out on the water. Fortunately, we have access to two kayaks and I spent yesterday morning exploring the undeveloped margins of the lake.
There, water lilies spread across the shallows and marsh plants line the shores, attracting a wide variety of wildlife. Green frogs bounded from the lily pads and painted turtles lounged on logs or fallen limbs that poke above the waterline. Thousands of neon blue damselflies hunted in the wetlands and two snapping turtles haunted the deeper waters, one of which cruised along the side of my kayak. Numerous songbirds fed in the lakeside trees, dominated by eastern wood pewees, black-capped chickadees and house wrens; a few great blue herons also stalked the shallows.
Heading toward the center of the lake, I watched ring-billed gulls and ospreys as they circled overhead, joined by squadrons of purple martins. Double-crested cormorants dove for fish in the calm waters and a lone bald eagle cruised above the lake, apparently headed for a large reservoir to our north. Back at our cottage within an hour, kayaking was a great way to combine exercise and wildlife watching, not to mention cool, fresh air and sunshine!