By Steve Shultz
Overview: The West Lake ponds are a pair of former catfish farm ponds that historically harbored good numbers of waterfowl. The land surrounding the ponds has been converted from agricultural use to a high density subdivision, so the ponds are not quite as attractive to waterfowl as they were in the past. Nonetheless, the upper pond is one of the most reliable sites in the area for Canvasback. The most common wintering ducks are Ring-Necked ducks, Canvasback, American Wigeon, and Gadwall. Occasionally a few other species will make an appearance. One year a pair of Tundra Swans spent the winter, and recently a Great Egret wintered here. The lower pond is not nearly as attractive to waterfowl, but still worth a look. A Snow Goose appeared here one blustery March day in 1998.
Getting there: The West Lake ponds are on West Lake Road in southern Wake County, not too far from the 1010 pond. From the Lake Wheeler/1010 Road intersection take 1010 Rd. west for approximately 3 miles. West Lake Road is on the left. Look for the black and white "West Lake Schools" sign. Follow West Lake Road for approximately 2 miles. The ponds are clearly visible on the left (east) side of the road. Birders can park in the Town of Cary tennis court lot across the street from the ponds. A walking path follows the shoreline of the upper pond.
Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 35 40 03 N, 78 45 27 W
When to visit:Winter.
Revised 12/31/2008 firstname.lastname@example.org