It all seems very far away, but in less than four weeks, pretty much all of
our songbirds will be back on territories, singing and building nests and
raising their young.  So I’m pleased to announce that again this year, I’ll
be leading guided walks on Finger Lakes Land Trust properties over Memorial
Day weekend, as part of an event called the Finger Lakes Land Trust Spring
Bird Quest (SBQ).

Here’s the schedule, with links to details and directions:

Saturday, May 26, 7:30-9:10 am

High Vista Nature Preserve, town of Scott

Saturday, May 26, 9:30-11:30 am

Hinchcliff Family Preserve, town of Spafford

Sunday, May 27, 8:00-11:00 am

Houghton Land Preserve, town of Corning
(the Land Trust’s newest preserve – 194 acres of meadows and forests)

Monday, May 28, 8:00-11:00 am

Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, town of West Danby

The main purpose of the event is to enjoy and celebrate our local breeding
birds (plus maybe a few late passage migrants) and to draw attention to the
Land Trust’s work in conserving their vital habitats.  I welcome birders of
all ages and levels of experience.  I would characterize the walks as
rather long but easy to moderate in difficulty.  (The most notable physical
challenges are brief walks down and up a slope at the Hinchcliff Family

These preserves may seem a bit far-flung, but I hope we will get a good mix
of near neighbors and willing travelers to each site.  If you are seeking a
ride or are willing to offer one, please let me know.  (All the preserves
are less than an hour from Ithaca.)

The other purpose of the event is to raise funds to support the Land
Trust’s work, which has led directly to the preservation of these and other
lands throughout our region – 21,000+ acres protected over the past 28
years, and continuing to the tune of about 1000 additional acres per year.
I’ll keep a tally of bird species that I find on Land Trust preserves over
the weekend, and will welcome pledges of support per species.  Fixed pledge
amounts are also welcome.  Since 2006, I believe that the SBQ has raised
over $70,000.  Maybe this year we can push the total over $75K and beyond…

To donate, please visit, check the box to make
the gift “in honor of someone,” and enter “Spring Bird Quest” in the space
provided.  You can also make a donation by check or cash.  Please feel free
to contact me for more details.

I look forward to seeing many of you next month!

Mark Chao


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