Led SFO group 2 to Derby Hill in the cold, wind and driving rain. There was even some snow mixed in at times!! We continued the SFO tradition of stopping by the"SNIPE" spot at the intersection of Route 3 and 104B and found at least 8 WILSON'S SNIPE (there were probably many more).
Given the poor conditions, there was no noticeable hawk movement today. We did have one male NORTHERN HARRIER fly by very low. That was it for raptors seen by our group at Derby. Since the winds were from the south, Lake Ontario was not very choppy at all on its south shores so despite cold, wind and rain, we did get some great views of the various birdlife over the big lake. We saw many RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. Some were very close showing off their beauty. We also saw many LONG-TAILED DUCKS, one PIED-BILLED GREBE, a couple COMMON LOONS, and one HORNED GREBE. There were a couple CASPIAN TERNS flying by fairly low with great looks. We also saw many many TREE SWALLOWS with a few BARN SWALLOWS over the big lake feeding and flying around. On the grass near the north lookout there were a bunch of NORTHERN FLICKERS feeding which was neat. After we were almost completely frozen, part of our group decided to head down to Montezuma as there were a few breaks in the rain on radar to the south. At the visitor's center, we enjoyed many GREEN-WINGED, and BLUE-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, and a few AMERICAN WIGEON. There were many TREE SWALLOWS with a few BARNS at times. The PURPLE MARTINS were on the martin houses with a few flying around as well. On wildlife drive, we saw more of the same waterfowl with an exceptional view of a PIED BILLED GREBE very close to the road. We watched this bird dive repeatly in the very shallow water near the edge of the main pool and you could see him chasing his prey. It was really cool. We also picked up REDHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCKS, among the other waterfowl species that we had already seen. Numbers were fairly low. We also saw both male and female NORTHERN HARRIERS coarsing low over the extensive marshes. I believe we had at least 4 or 5 of these guys. We also saw 3 BALD EAGLES and 1 SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. More raptors here than at Derby! At the new shorebird area on wildlife drive near the first big turn, we counted 14 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. All were fairly close so we got excellent views of this long distant migrant. We also had a couple KILLDEER here with no other shorebird species seen by our group at Montezuma. At Benning marsh there were more of the same waterfowl species that we had seen earlier. We tried to stop at May's Point but the wind almost literally blew us out of there. We did pick up some BUFFLEHEAD here along with an AMERICAN COOT and more REDHEADs, and RING-NECKED DUCKS. We decided against climbing the tower at Tschache Pool so we viewed several gulls from the car seeing the usual RING-BILLED and HERRING GULLs with one GREATER BLACK BACKED GULL. There was also one CASPIAN TERN here. On the way back we stopped at the North Mill Pond in Union Springs and ran into Dave Nutter's group. We saw much of the same as his group including a beautiful GREEN HERON that he mentioned in his post. All in all, despite the weather, we had an excellent day with many great views of various species. Thanks to everyone for a fun and enjoyable day. Dave Nicosia Johnson City, NY -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html 3) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --