Hi all,
Seneca Lake experienced an inundation of rare birds today. The first was
found by Kevin Ebert and Logan Kahle at Seneca Lake State Park, first
reported as a Barnacle Goose but on close inspection revealed to be a
BARNACLE GOOSE HYBRID. Based on body and bill size and the fact that is was
hanging closely with a group of Cackling Geese, I suspect it was a Barnacle
x Cackling cross, but it's hard to be sure. Also noteworthy were the
density of CACKLING GEESE in the large Canada flock off the swimming beach
near the east end of the park, with at least 30 in the close group and a
handful of others scattered in more distant groups. A few pictures here:

Yesterday, Shawn Billerman, Jeremy Collison, and I had a group of 16
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE in with other waterfowl in Knox-Marsellus Marsh
at Montezuma NWR. This is by far the highest number of this species I have
seen in the area. Checklist with poor photos showing the whole group here:

Today lower numbers of white-fronts were seen by others around midday. When
Livia and I stopped by in the afternoon we were unable to pick any out of
the Canadas, but we did get a better look at a hybrid we had seen the day
before, which I now suspect to be a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED x CANADA GOOSE
HYBRID. It looks quite different from the usual "Stewart Park Goose" we see
around Ithaca, Canada x Graylag/domestic, showing more white on the face
with a smaller and more slender body. Again hard to be sure on parentage,
but I think it's a good candidate for a wild hybrid.

Meanwhile at the south end of Seneca Lake, Mayte Torres discovered a
female-type BLUE GROSBEAK near the waste water treatment plant just west of
the canal in Watkins Glen. Livia and I decided to drop down and take a look
on our way home as the sun started to dip towards the horizon. We found the
grosbeak easily enough, hanging out with Song Sparrows in the brushy field
behind boats just east of the waste water plant, on the north side of the
parking lot accessed from Decater Street off of 4th St. As we were
preparing to leave, I took one last scan over the lake and noticed a big,
white-bellied cormorant sitting on the pilings at the base of the metal
light tower on one of the breakwalls offshore. Sure enough, it was a
juvenile GREAT CORMORANT. The bird was still present on the same perch as
we left at dusk, and was visible from the viewpoint at the southeast corner
of the lake as well. To cap it all off, a small, dark loon distant out on
the lake with several Commons convinced me it was a PACIFIC LOON. More
details and photos of the grosbeak and cormorant here:
Birders will certainly be looking for all three of these individuals
tomorrow, so we will be sure to post if they are refound.

Good birding,

Jay McGowan
Macaulay Library
Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Cayugabirds-L List Info:

1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds
3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html

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