Date: 5/28/18 1:43 pm
From: Mark Chao <markchao...>
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Houghton Land Preserve, Sun 5/27 and Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, Mon 5/28
On Sunday, on the third outing of this year’s Finger Lakes Land Trust
Spring Bird Quest (FLLT SBQ), the rains held off long enough for five
optimistic birders (including three of us from Ithaca and two all the way
from Canadice) to enjoy a slow walk around the new Houghton Land Preserve
in Corning.



Our first highlight was a pair of SCARLET TANAGERS, which followed each
other closely through an apparent nesting territory right next to the
trail. We found a few more tanagers throughout the morning, along with
many OVENBIRDS, RED-EYED VIREOS, and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES, plus a couple of
VEERIES, a WOOD THRUSH, and a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. Together these
birds provided a tidy illustration of an ecological guild of birds of
mature eastern deciduous forests. We also found a pair of HAIRY
WOODPECKERS around a nest hole.



The other highlight of the morning shouldn’t have been a surprise, because
I found it here just the other day. But again the two-part song confused
me until we spotted the bird high above. It was a male BLACKBURNIAN
WARBLER, the first of two we found. We could hear this bird singing even
from 80 yards up the trail, from the corner of the big grassy field. Here
we could also hear a lone BOBOLINK singing. I think that this had to be
the first time I had ever simultaneously found territorial males of these
two species.



Then on Memorial Day, thirteen birders joined me for the year’s final SBQ
walk, this time at the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West
Danby. It took a lot of walking and waiting and watching, but in the end,
our work paid off with highlights filling the cup and spilling over. Here
they are:



* Singing PRAIRIE WARBLER and BOBOLINK teed up on pine trees near the bench
atop the open slope on the blue-blazed trail – long, dazzling,
frame-filling scope views for everyone

* More long scope views of several charismatic species – INDIGO BUNTING,
BALTIMORE ORIOLE, WOOD DUCKS (9+ males on Coleman Lake), and EASTERN
KINGBIRD

* A pair of EASTERN TOWHEES together in the island of brush and trees at
the bottom of the first open field. The female carried a very fat green
caterpillar to an unseen nest.

* A singing SCARLET TANAGER not far from here, still spectacular even in a
brief view at a great distance

* Two BROWN THRASHERS along the final stretch of blue-blazed trail before
it enters the woods on the way to the railroad tracks

* Several CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, a few BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, and a
few AMERICAN REDSTARTS scattered throughout – the first two species only
briefly seen and the latter not at all

* A MOURNING WARBLER heard singing in the first patch of woods near the
parking lot

* A few ALDER FLYCATCHERS heard singing, including two within earshot of
each other near the northern pond complex

* The weekend’s only COMMON RAVEN, first spotted by Rick Lightbody (one of
about 20 species found today but not on the SBQ walks on Saturday and
Sunday)

* Two sightings, by just a few group members each time (not me), of
presumed YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, plus another cuckoo heard calling. I need
to check recordings to confirm what that one was – it was mellow and husky.

* At least six GREAT BLUE HERON nests atop the flooded snags in the pond on
Sylvan Road, including at least eight cute half-grown chicks



Even at such a great place as Lindsay-Parsons, you can’t count on so much
excellent viewing on a single outing, especially with a big group like this
one – but we got it!



I ended up with a modest 65 species for the weekend, not counting a WILD
TURKEY whose feathers we found on the trail at the High Vista Preserve, nor
a RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD that others found but I missed at Coleman Lake
today. Sorry that I didn’t get more ambitious about racking up species at
these and other preserves. But I do think that our groups maxed out the
enjoyment of birds we did find. So I feel very satisfied, and I hope
everyone else does too.



Thanks to all for a fantastic weekend!



Mark Chao

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