I had a great afternoon trip up the west side of Cayuga Lake today with Rick Bonney and Judy Burrill. We started at Hogs Hole at 12:45, and as others reported were not able to locate the Western Grebe. We did see the 2 RED-THROATED LOONS together -- an adult and a juvenile, solving a "two bird theory" mystery from the Christmas Bird Count. Judy spotted the male WOOD DUCK walking on the gravel beach right below Rt. 89.
Next stop was Poplar Beach, where a HORNED GREBE was very close in (with a Common Loon), and 4 LONG-TAILED DUCKS out in the middle of the lake, near an ISLAND of several thousand SNOW GEESE. The light was spectacular and I could make out quite a lot of details on the geese through the scope. I counted about 10 Blue Geese and another dark goose turned out to be a Canada-type, but was smaller than the surrounding Snows - most likely a CACKLING GOOSE. (a separate raft of large Canada Geese was nearby). While we were there, an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL flew by close to shore, heading north to it's regular hangout at Dean's Cove. Along Lower Shore Rd. to Cayuga Lake State Park, spent a lot of time looking for Eurasian Wigeon (not successful). Did find 4 close and very obvious CACKLING GEESE in the large Canada flock, pretty good numbers of AMERICAN WIGEON and GADWALL, with 5 NORTHERN PINTAILS, 2 pairs of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, and an impressive count of 640 COMMON MERGANSER. (No Redhead or other aythea seen on the lake today). We then headed up to the Chiropractic College to look for the SNOWY OWL. Our first scans of the soccer field and adjacent areas came up empty, as did an attempt to scan the fields to the west from Bayard Rd. Then as we came back through the campus, there was the OWL perched on a treetop at the west edge of the soccer field. After allowing great scope views and a few digiscopes, the owl flew directly towards us and then banked higher and flew by to the north, looking back over it's shoulder at us. It seemed to keep going, fairly high over the campus, and looked like it was heading all the way to the lakeshore. On the way home we stopped along Wycoff Rd. in Ovid and got a clear but distant look at a single SHORT-EARED OWL to the west of Rock River Rd. at about 5:15 PM. A good afternoon, indeed. KEN Ken Rosenberg Conservation Science Program Cornell Lab of Ornithology 607-254-2412 607-342-4594 (cell) k...@cornell.edu -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --