The ice edge is a gathering place for ducks throughout the winter, but Lower Lake Road provides a prime spot for viewing. The melting of the southern ice edge northwards up to Lower Lake Road in early March typically coincides with the arrival of many Anas ducks, so it's a good time to search for Eurasian Wigeon before the ponds at Montezuma thaw out. 

There are also Snow Geese which spend much if not all of the winter resting in the middle of the widest part of Cayuga Lake, between Aurora and Dean's Cove, commuting to farm fields east and west of Cayuga Lake. On Sunday afternoon there was still a raft of Snow Geese in this location as well. I've seen a similar raft of Snow Geese on Seneca Lake below Sampson SP. 

I think the south end of the lake does rival in diversity, but certainly the north end is the prime gathering spot at the end of winter.
--Dave Nutter

On Mar 11, 2013, at 10:22 AM, Christopher Wood <chris.w...@cornell.edu> wrote:

There are also different factors at play with different species and
different individuals of the same species. Some, like Northern Pintail,
American Black Duck, Mallard were waiting to be able to forage in fields
(say at the Mucklands). So they tend to concentrate at the north end and
then make flights up to those fields to see if there are areas to forage.
Tundra Swans and Snow Geese do similar things (forage in muck). Snow Geese
are shot at right now, so they stay out more toward the middle of the
lake.

Aythya (Redhead, scaup) dive for food. As the lake opens in the spring,
they follow the ice edge as it reveals foraging areas that were impossible
to reach earlier in the year. So you have optimal staging for daily
movements in some species, optimal foraging for others, migration staging
for others compounded with the advantages of flocking for predator
avoidance. All this leads to some very large concentrations with
exceptional diversity at the north end of the lake in spring --
concentrations and levels of diversity that you never see at the south end
at any season.

Christopher Wood

eBird Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
http://ebird.org
http://birds.cornell.edu




On 3/11/13 10:38 AM, "Donna Scott" <d...@cornell.edu> wrote:

>Interestingly, I live by the deepest part of the Lake, 430 feet deep, and
>I rarely get big concentrations of Snow geese or swans here.
>Now and then big rafts of diving ducks will go by or stay near the
>shallow edges for a while, but I almost never get all the big
>concentrations of geese, swans or duck rafts one sees up north or down by
>Ithaca.
>Donna Scott
>
>Sent from my iPhone
>Donna Scott
>
>On Mar 11, 2013, at 10:31 AM, Geo Kloppel <geoklop...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Those two factors (shallow water, ice shelf) are related; ice forms
>>soonest and lingers longest over the shallows. Aquatic ecology (hence
>>exploitable food resources) are also influenced by depth. And of course
>>the north end of the lake is surrounded by marshes and agricultural
>>lands that offer forage whenever the snow cover does not prevent it.
>>
>> The winter draw-down of lake level makes the shallows even shallower,
>>almost like a tidal area.
>>
>> -Geo Kloppel
>>
>> On Mar 11, 2013, at 8:58 AM, John VanNiel <vanni...@flcc.edu> wrote:
>>
>>> There was also an ice shelf there to loaf on...
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: bounce-75479805-3493...@list.cornell.edu
>>>[mailto:bounce-75479805-3493...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Geo
>>>Kloppel
>>> Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 8:06 AM
>>> To: cayugabirds-l
>>> Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Question about lower lake road
>>>
>>> I imagine a number of factors contribute to the attractive power of
>>>that area. Here's one: the lake is still broad there, but it's very
>>>shallow, mostly 5 - 6 ft.
>>>
>>> -Geo
>>>
>>> On Mar 11, 2013, at 1:29 AM, "Barbara B. Eden" <b...@cornell.edu>
>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>> I am curious why that is the place where the snow geese and tundra
>>>>swans congregate
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Barbara
>>>
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