As you have gone birding around the lake, you may have noticed an occasional 
sign, "Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway," along the loop which includes NYS-34B, 
NYS-90, NYS-5/US-20, & NYS-89. Like me, you may have said, "Yep, it's scenic, 
glad someone noticed." And, like me, you may not have realized that this Scenic 
Byway is not simply a recognition by NYSDOT, it is also managed by a non-profit 
whose board consists of government & business folks from Cayuga, Seneca, & 
Tompkins Counties. Given that knowledge, however, I was not surprised that one 
of their goals is to promote tourism. 

It turns out that this board wants to develop a "Cayuga Lake Birding Trail," 
and that a member of that board has asked me to help. That person is Andrea Van 
Beusichem, who has previously asked me to lead late-summer shorebird field 
trips into otherwise off-limits parts of Montezuma NWR. Given that the 
commitment is only one meeting every other month, I said, "Sure!," even though 
I'm not fond of commitments to be indoors, nor am I sure exactly what they have 
in mind as an end product, nor do I bring all the necessary skills to the 
group.  

I figure birding and birders will benefit if we do a decent job. Birders, 
particularly from out of the area, may have an easier time knowing where to go, 
when to go there, and what to look for. People who are not (yet) birders, may 
get some interest, or at least some respect for the activity. Families 
vacationing in the area can split their time if some members are more outdoorsy 
than others. Landowners may be more willing to permit birders access to 
lakeshore viewing points and even take pride in unusual birds found there. 
Businesses may take an interest in selling the things that we seek, such as 
gasoline, coffee and donuts, sandwiches, or ice cream as the price for access 
to a bathroom, or full sit-down meals, or hotels rooms for out of town folks, 
or outdoor gear, or optics, particularly if we highlight their business and 
send patrons their way. Governments may recognize that birders, along with 
birds and their habitats, are a constituency worth maintaining.

I'm looking for additional people who may be interested (Jody or another Cayuga 
Bird Club representative &/or someone from the Campus Bird Study Group?). 

I'm looking for opinions as to what a "birding trail" should entail. I figure 
at a minimum there should be some on-line information, signage at important 
sites, enthusiastic promotion of _The Cayuga Bird Club guide to Birding the 
Cayuga Lake Basin Edited by Bob McGuire_, an invitation to subscribe to 
CayugaBirds-L, and basic instruction on the use and usefulness of eBird. 

Are there potentially great birding sites around the lake that could use more 
definite permission to access, or clearer terms? I'm hoping that we can scan 
the lake from some of the places which the Cayuga Lake Blueways Trail is using 
for lake access for people using canoes, kayaks, & paddleboards. 

I also want to encourage people using bikes to bring binoculars, go slow, 
listen and look for birds, stop frequently, enjoy birding, gorges, trees, and 
vistas at rest stops, and generally cultivate the opinion that these values can 
outweigh the distance, speed, or exercise tallied on a ride. 

In addition to the birds that particularly thrill us as unusual, what species 
are people not from here most likely to be impressed by even though they are 
not hard for us to find? 

If we want to negotiate access to more sites, I want help from a more 
"people-person."  If we want to get grant money to develop the trail, then 
that's another specialist I'm looking for.

Are there existing businesses that you particularly appreciate as a birder or 
ones that you miss or wish existed?

Anyway, please send me feedback. If it gets cumbersome, send it to me off-list, 
but I hope the subject is of general birding interest at least for a couple 
days. Thanks for reading and thinking about this stuff.

--Dave Nutter 


Sent from my iPad
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