Date: 3/31/18 5:49 pm
From: Dave Nutter <nutter.dave...>
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Ithaca Ospreys, and other stuff
This morning (31 March) I went to Mount Pleasant, joined by Ann Mitchell and later Gary Kohlenberg. We were all hoping the south wind would bring migrating raptors.

Local birds included singles and pairs of Red-tailed Hawks near & far, an occasional Common Raven (including one who was accompanied/chased for awhile by a Red-tail who mimicked its every move), Turkey Vultures, Killdeer, an Eastern Meadowlark that visited the single tree near the observatory, an American Kestrel hovering over the valley between Mt Pleasant’s twin “peaks”, a possible distant Red-shouldered Hawk, a large Accipiter in deep-flapping display flight far to the south, and American Crows busy flying back and forth and tormenting any Raven they found.

Migrants included a flock of 14 Great Blue Herons, a few small flocks of Canada Geese (<100 birds in 3 hours), lots of small flocks of Common Grackles and a few flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds (in addition to a near-constant background of scattered northbound Icterids), American Robins singly or in small flocks, small flocks of roaming Horned Larks with 3 probable American Pipits near or among them.

Migrant raptors were few: a couple Turkey Vultures, a couple Red-tailed Hawks, at least one Cooper’s Hawk, and a Northern Harrier. Among the best was a northbound OSPREY (year bird for me!) passing to the west of us. Perhaps it was bound for some nest in the basin, but evidently not down in Ithaca.

When I got home, I decided to heed Candace’s call to keep track of Osprey nests. I took a quick bike ride around Cass Park combined with a walk around Treman Marina. In short order I saw one Osprey flying south past the Children’s Garden hunting over Cayuga Inlet, even though the water was muddy and a racing crew meet was underway.

I continued north on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. No Ospreys were perched at or near the Union Field nest, nor the Hog’s Hole nest platform, nor the Newman Golf Course nest platform.

But the Treman Marina nest (#59 on the Osprey Trail) had one Osprey on the nest and a second Osprey on one of the attached perches. They stayed there during the time I walked the path around the field. I also saw 3 Tree Swallows over the field, two of which perched atop nest boxes for awhile. The south end of the lake is muddy from yesterday’s rain, so waterbirds were few. A Double-crested Cormorant on the snag in the lake east of the White Lighthouse appeared to be too dark and too high out of the water to be the injured immature who overwintered.

When I got back to the Parks office by the mouth of the marina, I heard an Osprey call: it was hunting over the marina. I looked back at the Treman Marina platform, and it was empty. A little later I saw an Osprey apparently over Fall Creek near Renwick Wildwood. As I passed Union Fields, I saw an Osprey overhead near the Inlet, but not associated with that nest.

So, I saw at least 2 Ospreys, and they acted liked they owned a nest. As for all the single-bird-in-flight sightings, I don’t know whether they mean there were 4 Ospreys, or whether all my observations simply demonstrate that I cannot keep track of one large easy-to-ID bird. Regardless, I am confident that Ithaca again has Ospreys.

- - Dave Nutter


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