This morning I biked to Stewart Park and found several new birds. Where the 
Cayuga Waterfront Trail goes behind the Cornell Rowing Center I heard an 
Eastern Meadowlark song. Tracing the sound to the top of a tree, I expected to 
see a European Starling, but instead it was the real thing. After sunning 
itself for awhile and intermittently singing it dropped down to the Carpenter 
Business Park - the bit of field just south of the Community Gardens. This 
seems far too small to support meadowlarks, so I figure it just stopped by on 
migration. I did see some evidence of bird movement on the radar before dawn 
this morning.

At the Swan Pond I saw a rufous bird fly from the southwest corner over to the 
peninsula. Fox Sparrow, I hoped, but I was plenty happy it turned out to be a 
BROWN THRASHER. I wonder if it’s a new arrival or just a refind of the one Ann 
& I saw across the creek in Jetty Woods back on 14 January. 

Gazing across toward the white lighthouse, something seemed to twinkle like 
snowflakes. By the time I got my scope set up, the white specks had settled 
down into a row of 6 TREE SWALLOWS on the wire. 

My final new find was midway along the lakeshore where I was looking for 
Blue-winged Teal. A songbird dropped down from a tree branch to the mud when it 
came back up I saw it was an EASTERN PHOEBE, my first of spring (discounting 
the winter bird at Beebe Lake. It was silent. 

After biking home I found I was still greedy for birds. I wondered whether any 
more Red-shouldered Hawks would migrate past Mount Pleasant, so I drove up and 
spent a windy hour there seeing no migrants. There was a noisy female AMERICAN 
KESTREL who flew in and perched on a wire nearby, and a KILLDEER also flew past 
loud and low. The only raptor-ish birds were a single eastbound COMMON RAVEN, a 
but I lost track of it before I could tell where it was going. 

Since I had taken the car out I decided to check out the Jim Schug trail near 
Dryden Lake. It was pretty quiet bird-wise, but I did hear SPRING PEEPERS and 
WOOD FROGS. I actually saw several of the latter in one of the muddy pools 
alongside the trail. They floated on the surface and occasionally would briefly 
inflate the sacs on either side of their neck (if frogs have necks). There were 
too many calling to tell who made which quack. I believe I saw a pair in 
amplexus and also a male attempting to grab another frog but get rejected. I 
don’t know whether he grapped a male or perhaps it was a female who didn’t like 
him. There were also several PAINTED TURTLES sunning themselves.  

Waterfowl on Dryden Lake included the expected CANADA GEESE, WOOD DUCKS flushed 
from the brushy swamp as I walked by, MALLARDS, and COMMON MERGANSERS which all 
breed in the area. Surprises, considering the non-winter weather, included a 
MERGANSER, which I’m guessing is an unusual bird there. Also present were 3 
HORNED GREBES - 2 in winter plumage and one in transitional. 

—Dave Nutter

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