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Three Beautiful Spring Additions to Round Hill Biodiversity Corridor

Updated: May 22, 2023

Three Welcome signs of Healthy Ecology in Blooming Grove

Hatched and swimming with Mom & Dad (Hilda & Garde) 5/20

The signs have been clear, even to a novice. There has been a pair of swans (occaionally 2 pairs) for at least the past 25 years. I am fortunate to have a specified "Biodiversity Corridor" along the eastern corridor of my small farm, and recently it had several new additions...... actually it has probably been several hundred additions. With the clearcutting that Orange and Rockland Utilities has done on the adjacent property, the birds of the Prospect Road/Round Hill Forest have at least tripled in numbers as they make their way to the natural open space marshland across Round Hill Road. The approximately 10 cleared acres which will house a new $3+M substation (in the far back) to handle to handle the load of kw hours from local solar farms , also appears about to become a natural bird sanctuary.... and also home to a few predatory foxes, coyotes and coywolves. That comes with the territory of a free and open animal sanctuary space and is welcome. But yesterday and today we got the FIRST sightings of this year's resident Swan Cygnets...... the first really healthy Lake Hildegard Spring in several years, especially after last year's drought and algae blooms, has blossomed into a cygnet nursery of AT LEAST 7 OR 8 BEAUTIFUL CYGNETS. One day old....can they swim? You bet!

If you have never watched the sitting of a pair of swans for the approximately 30-40 days between when the eggs are laid and when they hatch, it is possibly the most extreme lesson in patience there is. Way off at the edge of acres of yellow reeds, she lies so still that many think hatching mother swans are dead. Day after day after day a white blob of feathers far in distance from the shore and curious eyes is growing a miracle (actually maybe 8 miracles) in absolute silence.

Yesterday there was a change in the view from the shore. Both mom and dad swan were standing........ could it be a sign that the cygnets were hatching? Or an ominous sign that they were not?

As the rain built in the afternoon from a mist to a light rain and then heavier and near downpour for awhile, it raised the big question of this Spring. Swans are considered a very significant bellweather of whether the ecology of an area is healthy or not. If they were hatched, would they be brave and healthy enough to follow mom and dad way out into the big lake in the rain? Or if they did not hatch, would Hilda and Garde (my names for them) have given up and gone out onto the lake to fish by themselves.

I decided to go out of my way on the way home and take a look, and there they were. Barely larger than dots from the shoreline, I counted 8 and with others possibly behind Hilda. And as the little ones dared to swim a little way beyond the family, a beautiful wood duck seemed to take the role of Auntie about 25 feet to the west. The cygnets then came back to mom for a rest. Meanwhile, Garde circled stretched tall and proud, his imaging stating loud and clear, "YES! We are still a healthy family, and our lake, its dwellers, and this corridor of Blooming Grove's ecology is doing just 'ducky'!"

The other welcome signs.? By Thursday afternoon farm fields were turning concrete-like from recent lack of rain. With this good dousing, Round Hill Mt. greenery is already growing back after last month's fire. And, this rain bodes of a very good harvest for our several large local fruit and vegetable farms (Blooming Hill Farm, Roe's Orchards, and Pine Hill Farm),

Round Hill and surrounding forest and marshland in morning mist as the rain came in

Irises dance in the Spring breeze at the edge of the Wildlife Corridor

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