The Philipsburg Bird Sanctuary
(In loving memory of Hon. George H. Montgomery)
Lisa Janishevski & David Kaiser
Site Description: The George H. Montgomery Bird Sanctuary was established in March 1955 with the purchase of 200 acres of land by the P.Q.S.P.B. By 1958, with the cooperation of local landowners, the Sanctuary was enlarged under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. Today, the Montgomery Sanctuary covers 480 hectares (1200 acres) of land stretching from Philipsburg, south to the Vermont border on the eastern shores of Lake Champlain. It includes part of the town of Philipsburg, Streit's Pond, fields, and large patches of forest.
Topographical Information: The low hills and ridges which are typical of the St.Armand-Philipsburg region form the westernmost edge of the Appalachian foothills and are underlain by dolomite and limestone rock of Ordovician age. Since Ordovician time, the dolomite and limestone sediments have been subjected to faulting and folding due to activity of the earth's crust in this region. This has resulted in the exposure of these underlying rocks as low hills and ridges. The two ridges above Streit's Pond are the most prominent examples of this activity in the Sanctuary. Both ridges are part of Logan Fault, which passes through Philipsburg and St. Armand. The varied topography within the Sanctuary has resulted in the formation of many different types of habitat. The three major plant communities in the Sanctuary are deciduous forest, open grassland, and marshland.
Sanctuary bird species: The Sanctuary's diversity of habitat attracts a corresponding diversity of bird and plant life. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded, half of which nest in the Sanctuary.
Species in or around the pond in summer: Least Bittern, Green-backed Heron, Great Blue Heron, American Black Duck, Mallard, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Moohren, Marsh & Sedge Wren, Swamp & Song Sparrow, Killdeer, Kingbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Kingfisher, American Goldfinch, Common Yellowthroat, Great Horned Owl, Turkey Vulture, Great Crested Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Yellow Warbler, Ttree & Barn Swallow, Gray Catbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Robin.
Forest species: Common Raven, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Least Flycatcher, Blue Jay, American Crow, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, American Redstart, Hermit Thrush, Veery, Wood Thrush, Red-eyed & Yellow-throated Vireo, Cerulean Warbler, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Oriole.
Reptiles and Amphibians: The pond and the extensive marshland surrounding it provide an excellant habitat for a variety of reptile and amphibian species. Painted and Snapping Turtles share the pond and marshland with several species of toads and frogs including the rare Pickerel Frog, whose only remaining breeding ground in Quebec is here, in the Sanctuary. Northern Water Snake inhabit the pond while Garter Snakes are a common sight on the trails nearby.
Many mammals: Although White-tailed Deer are by far the most visible mammals, many other species also share the sanctuary. The Beavers' constant toil around the pond continually changes the face of the marshland. Racoons, Muskrats and Otters inhabit the marshland that the beavers have created. The fields around the pond are home to Groundhogs, as well as many species of voles, shrews, mice, and rats, while the forest is home to Red and Eastern Gray Squirrels, as well as Eastern Chipmunks. Little Brown Myotis bats come from neighbouring houses to feast on the pond's abundant insects. Moose, American Black Bear, Coyote, and Bobcat are among the species which can be seen in the deeper forest.
Plant species found in the Sanctuary: The Sanctuary's varied habitat allows for a variety of plants to thrive within its borders. Cattail flourishes throughout the marsh area. Ducweed (Lemna minor), which is a very prominent plant community, sometimes forms an unbroken film over many parts of the pond. Poison Ivy, a plant to be avoided, is plentiful throughout the entire sanctuary. Over fifteen species of ferns are found throughout the Sanctuary, in the marsh, in the cliffs and the forest. Walking Fern (Camptosorus rhyzophyllus), Putty-root Orchid (Aplectrum hyemale), Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum), Wild Ginseng (Panax quinqefolius), Allegheny Vine (Adlumia fungosa), and the exotic-looking Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens) are but a few of the rare plant species which are found in the Sanctuary.
From Willows to Oaks: The deciduous woodland, which is part of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Forest Formation, consists of secondary growth hardwoods such as Maple, Elm, Birch, Oak, and Basswood interspersed with some conifers such as Hemlock and Cedar. White Ash is highly abundant around the pond, along with some Black and Red Ash. Hawthorn, Willow species, and Alder also thrive there.
Fungi: The Sanctuary is
host to a multitude of species of mushrooms and lichens. Along the marsh,
White Worm Coral (Clavaria vermicularis), Purple Club Coral (Clavaria
purpurea), Spindle-shaped Yellow Coral (Clavulinopsis fusiformis),
Common Brown Cup (Peziz badio-confusa), and Eyelash Cup (Scutellina
scutellata) can be seen. Lichens share the limestone cliffs with Jellied
False Coral (Tremellodendron vermicularis), Shaggy Scarlet Cup (Microstoma
floccosa), Crown-tipped Coral (Clavicorna pyxidata), Violet-branched
Coral (Clavulina amesthystina), Gemmed Amanita (Amanita gemmata),
American Caesar's Mushroom (Amanita caesarea), and Chanterelles
A set of aerial photographs of Streit's pond marsh was taken several times since 1997. To view more, visit the archive with multiple aerial coverage.
Philipsburg marsh with surrounding fields and mixed deciduous forest recorded in October 1997