Date: 11/12/20 9:51 am
From: Dave Nutter <nutter.dave...>
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] LOON MIGRATION ALERT
For a broader view of the sky than my driveway, my Loon Watch this morning from 6:40am to 9:40am was from the north end of the NYS-89 bridge over the Flood Control Channel. There were loons, but it didn’t seem like a big obvious migration. Maybe the wind and temperature were not enough to trigger a huge movement. Maybe the birds who were more intent on migrating left the valley somewhere over the lake to go directly south, passing west of Ithaca. Maybe I missed some - it’s spooky the way a single loon will suddenly appear high nearly overhead, and sometimes it will soon suddenly have others with it that were also invisible moments earlier.

The valley bends a bit here, SSE from Myers to here, then SSW from here to Robert Treman, and the loons don’t all react the same way. Some follow the valley with a fairly smooth turn. Some get indecisive - one turned clockwise in more than a complete circle before continuing up the valley. Early on I saw 3 loons together at intervals of a couple minute going various directions, and my guess is that it was the same family every time. Some loons appear following the valley and seem to ignore the bend to continue straight toward South Hill, but I lose sight before finding out whether they continue SSE, or use South Hill’s updraft for extra elevation, or they make a late turn and continue SSW up Inlet Valley. A few loons - including a group of 8 - went E overhead, which I simply don’t understand. Most of the instances of northbound loons were singles, but there was also a northbound group of 4.

How many Common Loons did I see flying this morning? If I assumed all individuals seen were unique it would be 110, but subtracting the birds who did not end up going more-or-less south last I saw them, and assuming that the birds who went back north didn’t change their minds again and come south again (except that trio which I imagine was parents with a reluctant youngster), I think the number was 80.

- - Dave Nutter


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