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Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, Maryland

April 6, 2021

Located in Columbia, Lake Kittamaqundi is a 27-acre man-made reservoir surrounding the Mall in Columbia. The lake can be seen from US-29 and is adjacent to the offices of the Rouse Company. Lake Kittamaqundi was created in 1966 by the Rouse Company during Columbia's development. The association of homeowners and the company states that the lake was named after Howard County's first Indian settlement and the tribe's language "Kittamaqundi" means "meeting place". Kittamaqundi was a 40 miles south 17th century Piscataway village that was called after the village's ruler, Kittamaquund, and Kittamaqundi means "Strong Bear" or "Great Beaver Place". The surrounding areas of the lake are famous spots for the fireworks during the 4th of July and numerous summer festivals.

Lake Kittamaqundi is one of Columbia's four man-made lakes that was created during the establishment of Columbia's development. The lake carries out two purposes as a primary low-cost catch basin for the runoff water from Wilde Lake towards the Little Patuxent River and as a feature for recreation.

Habitat

Commercial buildings comprise two-thirds of the lake's west side regardless of the activity the dock and pilings frequently attract several ducks, various cormorants, and gulls. The lake's northern end is planned as the wildlife end and maturing, brushy wooded habitat overshadows the area.

Layout

Access and parking are from the lake's west side in a few lots along Little Patuxent Parkway. With planned future development, parking and access may be changed conclusively. Visitors can go in any direction after reaching the paved path which is adjacent to the lake. However, it is generally more productive to head for the wildlife end by bearing left. It is not essential to walk around the lake if you only plan to see gulls, waterfowl, terns, and herons. Most of the lake can be seen from the west side's path.

Best Time to Visit

The perfect birding time, fortunately, does not coexist with heavy waterfront usage. Chances of finding birds on the lake are higher during the early morning. There is heavy traffic in pedestrians in Lake Kittamaqundi during most of the year. Despite this not being a bother to the birds, birding can be quite challenging. Planned activities across the lakefront attract crowds during long summer evenings. The circuit path might be packed with cyclists, walkers, and joggers but birds are still possible to be seen in the area. Fireworks launched on the 4th of July and other occasions are on the main section of the east side of the lake.

Notable Birds

Lake Kittamaqundi produced the meager rarities so the birds mostly check it in concurrence with either Centennial or Wilde Lake. Birds that have been seen on other lakes move on Lake Kittamaqundi before moving or flying to another lake. Species to checked out are migratory gulls, terns, waterfowls, or any species related to edges or water. Shorebirds and night herons can also be seen during different seasons. Migrant passerines can be noted in the east side's floodplain or north end's shoreline vegetation. Most of the year, Bald Eagles can be seen over the lake and most active in spring or late winter. Some birds that breed on the lake include Red-shouldered Hawk, Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Great Blue Heron, Orchard Oriole, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pileated Woodpecker, and Belted Kingfisher.

Amenities

Lake Kittamaqundi has several benches. There are also a few restaurants along the waterfront on the west side in addition to the Sheraton Hotel. The lake's northwest side includes a Fitness Circuit Trail and a paddleboat concession is operated by a private company from the dock on the Lakefront during the months of summer. Fishing is permitted as long as you have a valid license.

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