Scouting for tomorrow’s SFO trip up the lake, I spent the morning with John 
Confer in the Montezuma complex.

Cayuga lake is now ice-free except for a small sheet at the north end off 
Harris Park. The pools at the MNWR visitor’s center, LARue’s, the main pool, 
and shorebird flats are flooded with very little shorebird habitat except 
around the edges. The Mucklands on Rt 31 are about 15% water-covered, with few 
geese (max 120 Snow Geese), two sets of hunters, but lots of gulls and ducks. 
Carncross Road is flooded at the east end, and access to Howland Island is 
through water.

Highlights of our trip were:

One  Purple Martin at the visitor’s center and one Caspian Tern on pool.

One Blue-winged Teal flying by on the wildlife drive (none other for the entire 
day - but hundreds of Green-winged in multiple locations).

15 Greater Yellowlegs seen from the north dike at the E end of the Mucklands.

20 Bonaparte’s Gulls seen from the south dike (nice, new gravel road out to the 
aqueduct) at the E end of the Mucklands.

Two Great Egrets in Knox-Marsellus and two Sandhill Cranes in the corn field 
just west of East Road along K-M. 

There were reports of Sandhill Cranes at Carncross Road/Martin’s Tract, but we 
did not encounter them there.

Overall we had large numbers of Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Black Ducks, and 
Northern Pintail. Fewer numbers of Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, and 
American Wigeon. And a handful of Buffleheads, Gadwall, Redheads, and Wood 
Ducks. Also a few Common and Hooded Mergansers.

Ospreys seemed to be everywhere, with many of the two dozen platforms occupied. 

The most unexpected bird of the day was a Vesper Sparrow that flew across in 
front of us near North Spring Pool, then landed just off the side of the road 
and afforded great, extended views.

Good luck to all tomorrow. There is a lot of country there that we did not 
cover, and it will be interesting to see what all those eyes can discover.

Bob McGuire


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