Date: 3/30/17 1:32 pm From: Bird observations from western New York <geneseebirds-l...> Subject: [GeneseeBirds-L] Lake Ontario Plain - Thursday - King Eider, Cackling Geese
The BOS Lake Ontario Plain field trip was held today. This trip goes to areas of eastern Niagara and western Orleans Counties near the shore of Lake Ontario. A great group of18 birders attended, s surprising number given the relatively short notice and the fact it was a weekday. The highlight was an immature male KING EIDER just off shore by the lighthouse at Golden Hill State Park. We found the eider around 11:30 and Joel Strong was able to see it later around 1:00. For those who were on last year's spring trip, this bird was quite the contrast with last year's King Eider being over a mile out.
We found five CACKLING GEESE along Rt 18, a mile east of Countyline Road and 11 SNOW GEESE along Countyline Road, plus a single Snow Goose between Day Road and Rt 104. Shortly after departing the group, Joel Strong found two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE in flight over Murdock Road heading north. The group had broken up by that time and attempts by Joel and Betsy and me to locate these birds on the ground were unsuccessful. Dabbling ducks showed pretty well with NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, and BLACK DUCK all found, most in multiple spots. We also had a fly-by of four WOOD DUCKS and while driving home, Betsy and I had a lone TUNDRA SWAN.
There were not many birds flying over Lake Ontario plus the heavy chop made finding birds on the water a challenge. We felt fortunate to get the eider and we also had a couple dozen RED-NECKED GREBES and perhaps half that many HORNED GREBES. A single COMMON MERGANSER was off of SHADIGEE, as were our only WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. We were unable to find any loons.
The east wind mostly kept the hawks from flying. A couple of NORTHERN HARRIERS and a few AMERICAN KESTRELS were seen, as was a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK found by Chris Rockwell after the group disbanded (Lakeshore Road a bit west of Shadigee). There were lots of Turkey Vultures. Other than Killdeer and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK that Betsy and Joel flushed, we had no shorebirds. A PILEATED WOODPECKER flew over Rt 18 between Murdock and Marshall Roads. Two EASTERN PHOEBES were heard and seen - one on Hosmer Road and one on Coates Road. We had a few HORNED LARKS in the fields but no other field birds.
It was a cold spring day with a stiff wind so we had to work hard for the birds that we got.