Date: 1/6/21 11:36 am
From: Johnson, Alyssa <Alyssa.Johnson...>
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Birding at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex 1/6/21
Good afternoon, and happy new year!

I took a new volunteer out with me today to show her the lay of the land, and get her used to the area. We birded pretty much the entire wetlands complex, although on a time crunch, so not as long as I would've liked! Here's what I saw and where:

Highlights: Several pairs of adult Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Northern Harriers, a Belted Kingfisher, and Great Blue Herons

*I did not see this, but Chris (center director) told me that a pair of Bald Eagles were hanging out on top of the cell tower across from the MAC while I was out. See our fb post for his pic: BAEA post<>

First stop: Carncross Rd in Savannah
-The road is in rough shape once it turns to a dirt road, and I wouldn't be surprised if the road gets flooded over by the River if we see much more water. River is very high! Much of the wetlands are frozen over, not much activity mid-day. Although, short-eared owls are being seen there with some regularity.

VanDyne Spoor Rd in Savannah
-A lot of ice, but some open spots. I think a lot of open water at the far south end (towards 31 muck).
-2 bald eagles- 1 near the nests in a tree, the other hidden until they both took flight and spooked up several thousand ducks in the far south distance. There were Mallards and American Black Ducks seen closer to the road, along the edge of the ice margin. My guess was more of them, but hard to ID.
-1 Cooper's hawk came out of nowhere and flew north across the road and disappeared into the hedgerow
-Male Belted Kingfisher- heard first, then located on powerline eating a fill
-On northside of VDS Rd, on the DEC land, several hundred Snow and Canada Geese hanging out, as well as a bunch of gulls.
-1 Northern Harrier hunting over Sandhill Crane Unit

Route 31 Muck Flats
-Seen on south side of 31, but near junction of 89/31 split, ~50 swans in the field and ditches
-At site of old "potato barn", several hundred Snow and Canada Geese resting in the flooded field (on north side of 31). Not completely iced over yet.
-A pair of Northern Harriers flew by- gray ghost and adult female
-Mallards and a few Black Ducks in the flooded field too

Mud Lock/North end of Cayuga Lake
-1 adult bald eagle sitting in a tree near known nest site
-6 Buffleheads
-Hundreds of swans way out on the western side of the north end along the marshy area. Must use binoculars or scope to see them, unless the move closer.

Refuge Visitor Center
-Flooded field is open water, but no ducks geese or gulls even. Nothing was viewed in the Main Pool from the VC either. I think all the ducks/geese/swans are moving to the lake now that waterfowl hunting is done.

Mays Point
-Pair of Bald Eagles sitting in the vicinity of the dead trees/swampy area were Red-headed WP like to nest.

Armitage Rd
-American Kestrel seen on the power lines near Clinton's Ditch
-2 Great Blue Herons in Clinton's Ditch

Knox Marsellus Marsh on East Road
-9 Sandhill cranes! They were directly in front of the gravel pull off, at the waters edge closest to the road. Most of the wetland was iced over, but around the edges there was a little bit of open water.
-American Black Ducks and Mallards also taking advantage of the little bit of open water there and feeding.

Even on a dank January day, there is still an abundance of birds to be seen. I wish I had more time, because who knows what else I could've found!


Alyssa Johnson
Environmental Educator

Montezuma Audubon Center
PO Box 187
2295 State Route 89
Savannah, NY 13146


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