With only moderate rain and no lightning at all, the conditions on Monday
morning allowed us to complete our scheduled Finger Lakes Land Trust Spring
Bird Quest (SBQ) walks after all.  It got pretty cold and wet, I admit, but
maybe an optimist could consider it half-warm and half-dry.  We did get our
share of rewarding moments too.

Four optimistic and hardy participants joined me at the Goetchius Wetland
Preserve at 6:30 AM.  We had several distant views of male BOBOLINKS in the
field by the parking lot, with one close look that left me wanting more but
also somehow feeling satisfied at the same time.  We also had an excellent
close look at a pair of SAVANNAH SPARROWS.  Feathers matted by the rain,
these birds issued sharp chips, evidently out of alarm at our proximity to
their nest.

Down the road by the main wetland, Tom Hoebbel found the weekend’s only
PURPLE FINCH, an intensely dark-red male, in a bare shrub at the edge of
the pond.  To my equal surprise, we heard a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH singing
far out in the wetland, maybe all the way out in the trees on the opposite
end.  And as expected, we saw and heard both WILLOW FLYCATCHER and ALDER
FLYCATCHER from essentially the same vantage point along the road.

At the Baldwin Tract of the Roy H. Park Preserve, our group size now up to
10, our good luck with bird sightings seemed to run out.  But we did hear
many expected birds, most notably several MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, plus the
weekend’s only WINTER WREN and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, both singing
virtuosically and tirelessly at the confluence of streams below the lean-to
shelter.  We heard a few forced high notes in some spruces – a partial
singing once, but I think that maybe the others in the group missed it.

It was also a fine day for newts.  We saw two adult Red-spotted Newts
crossing Flatiron Road near Goetchius, and one bright Red Eft at Park.

In the end, my SBQ bird species count reached 86 – not bad given today’s
suboptimal conditions – and just as gratifying, the participant tally
nearly touched 100 if you count repeat visitors each time.  The species
tally will probably yield at least a couple thousand dollars in support of
the Land Trust’s work on protecting habitats for birds, for all wildlife,
and for us.

Thanks to all participants for your great company and support this
weekend.  What a privilege and pleasure it is to spend time in such great
places, amid so many wonderful birds, with all of you!

Mark Chao


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1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds
3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html

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