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 few TURKEY VULTURES, and a few RED-TAILED HAWKS. There was one COOPER’s HAWK 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 male LESSER SCAUP, a female COMMON GOLDENEYE, and a male RED-BREASTED 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 -- 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/ --