Date: 12/29/20 3:48 pm From: Mike Powers <noflickster...> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Winter Birds and Winter Birding
I set out with a couple of friends to look for some of the rarities that have been recently reported. In spite of this being 2020, coupled with the brutal combination of freezing temps and steady breeze, we happily found all of our target birds for the day.
On our way out of Watkins Glen we stopped by Fitzgerald Road where we found approximately 250 COMMON REDPOLLS moving quickly (and constantly) through a weedy field. The entire time we were searching there were two ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS circling, then occasionally perching but never long enough for us to put a scope on them.
We arrived at the stone quarry on Hoster Road at 9:15 and as we were getting out of our cars we spotted the GYRFALCON flying from the quarry to the east. It spent a few minutes flying/soaring above the open field, during that time we didn't dare lower our binoculars so no photos of this gorgeous bird before it disappeared behind the treeline towards Seybolt road. We were unable to refind it, but during our search we did come across a BALD EAGLE, ROUGH-LEGGED and RED-TAILED HAWKS, and perhaps the most surprising bird of the trip, a KILLDEER along Stahl Road.
Deciding to press our luck, we headed to Martin Road and found the SNOWY OWL along the runway where others have reported it: near Winsock B, hunkered down in the wind, looking like a white gallon jug that occasionally blinked and turned its head. We went into the airport's parking lot for a slightly better, but at least closer view.
We didn't find much in the way of waterfowl on our trip down the west side of Cayuga Lake, nor at our final stop at Clute Park in Watkins Glen.
A sincere thank you to everyone who has posted about their hits or misses, and especially to those that helped me nail down specific details about how to best approach finding these elusive birds. It turns out the third time visiting Hoster Road was the charm for me . . . this was a great way to end 2020!