On Jan 15, 2018, at 3:28 PM, Christopher T. Tessaglia-Hymes <c...@cornell.edu>
> PS - One more thought: has a falconry bird been ruled out?
> On Jan 15, 2018, at 3:05 PM, bob mcguire <bmcgu...@clarityconnect.com> wrote:
> Here is my report on yesterday’s trip around the lake. Of particular note: 3
> Snowy Owls, Gryfalcon, Wood Duck, Glaucous Gull.
> Bob McGuire
> Cayuga Bird Club Field Trip 14 January 2108
> Seven well-bundled up folks joined Ken and me for a day-long jaunt around the
> lake. This trip was postponed from the previous weekend due to the cold and
> wind. The conditions today were not much better, starting out around zero but
> no wind.
> Because the south end of the lake was misted over, we began to bird in
> earnest at Ladoga where we quickly got on a pair of Trumpeter Swans.
> Trumpeters are not unusual in the Basin, but they are a rare sight in
> Tompkins County. Our ABA on the birds brought several more birders out to see
> them. Then, following up on the sound of distant Cardinal, we are drawn to
> nearby feeders and were able to add Pine Siskin and Northern Mockingbird to
> several people’s year lists. From the spit at Myers we were able to look past
> a couple of hunters to add two Long-tailed Ducks.
> The next stop was Belltown Dairy to try for field birds. We were hugely
> rewarded with a large flock of Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, and two Lapland
> Longspurs feeding intermittently in the middle of the road and in the
> adjacent field. The view of a Longspur on stubby legs, hunkered in the middle
> of the road some 50 feet away, was the best that I have ever had!
> We picked up Wild Turkey along Route 90 north of King Ferry and the
> continuing Glaucous Gull from the bluffs just south of Aurora. There we also
> had our first and rather small flock of Aythya ducks plus four White-winged
> Scoters and a couple of Horned Grebes. I should note there that we never did
> come across the large numbers of Aythya (numbering in the thousands) that had
> been seen the previous week along the east side of the lake.
> In Union Springs, the Factory Pond held the usual collection of Gadwall,
> Buffleheads, Mallards, and Black Ducks as well as three Green-winged Teal and
> a single Common Goldeneye. On to the Mill Pond we were able to pick out the
> single Wood Duck amid the thousands of Canada Geese and assorted Aythya,
> Mallards, Wigeon, and Gadwall. A quick check of the outlet creek yielded the
> day’s only Belted Kingfisher and Song Sparrow. At this point we were already
> well past lunch time and took a short break at the Nice ’n Easy - where we
> ran into Gary Kohlenberg with great directions to the Seneca Falls Snowy Owl.
> We found the first Snowy in a field just east of the airport runway and a
> second one perched atop one of the hangers. At that point we were pretty much
> done for the day and headed south to check on an earlier report of another
> owl. As we passed the quarry on Hoster Road Diane said something like “That
> looks the right shape for a falcon”. We stopped and, for the next hour, with
> help from Kevin McGowan, tried for good scope views of a large, dark bird
> with a consistently dark face that was perched in the tall trees above the
> quarry and, maddeningly, obscured by branches. Photos were taken and the
> field marks were discussed, to the ultimate conclusion that there was, again
> this year, a Gyrfalcon in the area.
> After that we really did head for home, with a quick stop along Ridge Road
> for the third Snowy Owl of the day. The trip went a little longer than
> planned, but the weather really wasn’t a deterrent. I’d have to say that it
> was a successful trip!
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> Christopher T. Tessaglia-Hymes
> Field Applications Engineer
> Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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