Date: 11/15/20 11:02 am From: Dave Nutter <nutter.dave...> Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] 4 loons on the inlet by Stewart Park?
Short answer: I only saw other birds, not Loons, in Fall Creek.
I just got back from a quick bike ride on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail to Fall Creek by Stewart Park and back (barely beating the rain) to check out this report.
This is what I found along the north end of Fall Creek: Upstream of the anglers’ parking area at the end of Pier Road, Fall Creek is so shallow that there were pebbles visible most of the way across, so I did not check there for loon-like birds, and although there was water next to the parking area, I saw no birds in it. Just upstream of the green suspension bridge over Fall Creek, I saw 5 Common Mergansers diving. Common Mergansers are long and low like Common Loons, so my guess is these were the birds in question. These Common Mergansers were all either females or males who had not yet molted into breeding plumage, with distinctly brown heads sharply contrasting with plain light gray bodies and some white on the chin and neck. Breeding plumage males would have green heads, creamy white neck, breast & sides, and black on the back. Common Loons at this time of year are smudgy dark gray on the body, back of the neck, most of the face, and the top of the head, with white on the chin, front of the neck, and breast. They have no big brown areas like the head of a female Common Merganser.
Farther downstream on Fall Creek, between Stewart Park and Jetty Woods I saw a group of 10 breeding plumage male Mallards gathered around 1 female Mallard.
And in the mouth of Fall Creek between the White Lighthouse Jetty and the Swan Pond I saw 2 separate pairs of Hooded Mergansers. They are more compact-bodied than Common Mergansers or Common Loons. The heads of the females are more of a dark grayish brown contrasting less with the darker gray body and lacking white on the neck and breast. The males, now in breeding plumage, have a bold pattern of black and white on the head, breast and back.
There are pictures of male and female Common and Hooded Mergansers on the poster along the boardwalk part of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail between the two suspension bridges.
I was there at least 2 hours after the original report, and birds swim and fly, so there could have been other birds earlier, but loons are unlikely in Fall Creek. Common Loons tend to stay in Cayuga Lake rather than going upstream on the creeks, probably because they need about 1/4 mile of straight open water to run on in order to take flight. Once a few winters ago a much less common Red-throated Loon spent a few weeks on Cayuga Inlet as far upstream as the Farmers’ Market, but they need less room for take-off, and Cayuga Inlet is very wide from there all the way to its mouth between Treman marina and the White Lighthouse Jetty.
- - Dave Nutter
> On Nov 15, 2020, at 10:40 AM, Susan Austern <susanaustern...> wrote:
> Good morning
> Just ran through Stewart Park and by the Inlet part where people usually fish ....(after the bridges heading back into town, before the fire testing area) , looks like possibly 4 loons ....My running partner saw them yesterday, too… if you’re there please confirm... we didn’t have binoculars...Thanks
> Sent from my iPad
>> On Nov 15, 2020, at 9:02 AM, Dave K <fishwatchers...> wrote:
>> 9AM sitting on the concrete breakwall.
>> Seneca Yacht Club is located on the Northeast corner of Seneca Lake.
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