Bays and Estuaris
A bay is an inlet of the sea and an estuary is a body of water partly enclosed by the ocean. Bays are heavily used for sport such as sailing and fishing and also used for access to ocean shipping and industry. Estuaries are a mixture of salt water from the sea and fresh water from the rivers. Estuaries are sensitive and very important to a birds habitat which provides shorebirds and waterfowl a place to rest during migration, breed and feed. Waterfowl rely on estuaries year round for their food. Tides rise and fall in the bays forming mudflats that are exposed at low time which allow many species of birds such as Dunlins the opportunity to feed and rest during high tide. Dunlins probe muddy soils while Least Sandpipers stay at the high-tide mark and Dowitchers wade in the shallow water for food. High tide provides food for Gulls. During the winter season, Seaside Sparrows and Horned Larks may be found at the high-tide mark and during the Summer season Tree Swallows are a common sight. In the winter season and during migration, the bays and estuaries attract a wide variety of shorebirds such as the Long-billed Curlew that can probe very deep into the sand for marine worms and mollusks that cannot be reached by other shorebirds. Bays and estuaries are excellent places for birding all year round.
Lakes and Ponds
Lakes and Ponds are bodies of water ranging in size from one acre to several thousands of acres. Ponds are normally smaller, shallower and the water usually has a uniform temperature. Lakes are larger bodies of water, deeper and the temperature of the water changes with the depth. Both lakes and ponds may be of natural glacial origin, but many have been built. For instance, farmers build ponds as a source of water for livestock. Shallower and warmer lakes are high in food such as algae and along the shores plants such as the cattails and bulrushes grow. Lakes and ponds are valuable to many birds such as ducks, geese and swans which they use for both nesting sites and feeding areas. The most common and widepsread species are the Canada Goose and the Mallard Duck which can be found in urban park ponds. The Canada Goose was once restricted as a breeding species to the northern half of the continent but now nests as far south as the Carolinas. Lakes and ponds can be found anywhere in the United States. In the Eastern US, we have the Great Lakes which were formed by melted glaciers.