Date: 3/29/18 5:33 pm From: bob mcguire <bmcguire...> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Around the Lake Today
Diane, Ken, and I drove around the lake today looking for new arrivals. The rain held off until we were almost home. We did have a few good birds! (Aren’t they all?)
The south end of the lake was surprisingly empty of most water birds. There were only a few gulls and geese off Stewart Park. The Swan Pen was quiet. We heard no peeps from Renwick Woods (no phoebe, winter wren). Likewise, there were only a few gulls off Myers Park.
From the bluff south of Aurora we scoped some 28 White-winged Scoters and over a dozen Horned Grebes (no Eared or Red-necked). Here we had our first new bird of the day - a trio of newly-arrived TREE SWALLOWS. At the Wells College boathouse we got closer looks at the grebes and watched one pair in a brief mating dance (the first I had ever seen from this bird).
We stopped at Frontenac Park in Union Springs to scope the lake, hoping for Bonaparte’s Gulls and Blue-wing Teal (none). Our first OSPREY flew over as we drove north from Union Springs (the second was on a nest along Rts 5 & 20). The north end of the lake around Mud Lock was likewise almost devoid of water birds. A small flock of Ruddy Ducks remained.
The Wildlife Drive remained closed (open this weekend?), but the pond at the Visitor’s Center still hosted numerous Green-winged Teal and the continuing Eurasian GW Teal (good, close looks).
Tschache Pool held numerous ducks, mainly GW Teal, Pintail, Gadwall, and Shovelers. The big surprise there was the large number of Great Blue Herons. We counted at least 25 in the pool and another 25+ on nests in the rookery to the west of the tower. eBird had a problem when we tried to enter “50 Great Blue Herons"!
Knox-Marcellus still holds a lot of water and many ducks, again mainly GW Teal, Pintail, Gadwall and Shovelers. The best bird there was a flyover GREATER YELLOWLEGS, calling only once (“tew-tew-tew”). I know that this “flyover, calling, yet unseen” yellowlegs sounds a bit sketchy (I had the same experience the other day at Myers). But we considered long and hard the alternatives, and nothing else really matched. There were GW Teal giving occasional “peep” calls, but none in the proper 3-note sequence with the pitch falling off slightly through the sequence. I’d still like to SEE one of those guys this year!
We went as far north as Carncross Road & Marten’s Tract, hoping again for shorebirds or Blue-winged Teal (none). We did, however, hear our FOY SWAMP SPARROW singing a slow song from the distant cattails and the single bugling call of a Sand Hill Crane.
On a tip from Dave Kennedy we drove Lake Road south from Cayuga Lake State Park and eventually found the three foraging BLUE-WINGED TEAL just short of Woolfy’s. Again, the lake was almost empty of ducks, and the teal stood out beautifully!