Knight’s Pond has been a staple of my childhood since my family moved back to Southern Maine when I was 12. Shallow, with an outcropping of marsh vegetation in the center, Knight’s Pond freezes into the perfect skating pond every winter. Why have I never liked rink skating? Because swooshing perfect loops around Knight’s Pond was always so much better!
In 2015, the Royal River Trust opened up a new preserve bordering the pond, creating new trails for hikers, snowshoers, skiiers, and birders. With acres purchased by the trust, conservation easements, and a small parcel bought by the Town of Cumberland, the new preserve totals 300 acres, and I couldn’t wait to explore novel territory!
Home for the holidays, my mom, husband, and I set out on the snow-covered trails. Testing the ice, we walked along the shoreline of the pond before curving back into the woods. Green pine trees cast a deep emerald color across the hilly landscape, contrasting with the bronze of leaves that had yet to fall or the grasses near the pond. Here and there the trail crossed a thin brook, still running despite the cold.
Though I wore a pair of binoculars around my neck, there wasn’t too much bird activity. A lone American Robin crossed the empty space beneath power lines, a solitary chickadee tittered above our heads. Oh well, the woods were still beautiful!
The route looped briefly back onto the road before returning to the parking lot. A home adjacent to the woods of the preserve sported an amazing bird feeder, and dozens of birds flocked to the source of food. It was as if all the birds from the nearby woods had congregated in this one spot!
My binoculars zoomed back and forth as I spotted Tufted Titmice, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, and even a secretive Brown Creeper. Were my sightings technically in the preserve? No, but birds are birds!