Dave Nicosia, Thank you so much for leading this past Sundays walk. For someone 
who mostly birds alone , it was a great learning experience and all the extra 
sets of eyes were quite helpful as well.Dave Nutter thanks so much for  the 
insight into Stilt Sandpiper feeding behavior it sure made locating them much 
easier!! The sedge wren imitator , yellow warbler I think you said ( or was it 
yellowthroat? Please correct me)was also very interesting. What a great 
experience birding with such a friendly, welcoming and extremely knowledgeable 
group.Thanks again  for a great time.   I highly recommend these walks for all 
levels of  birders!   Tom FernandesSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy 
smartphone
-------- Original message --------From: Dave Nutter <nutter.d...@me.com> Date: 
9/9/19  3:38 PM  (GMT-05:00) To: David Nicosia <daven102...@gmail.com> Cc: 
Cayuga birds <CAYUGABIRDS-L@cornell.edu>, "Van Beusichem, Andrea" 
<andrea_vanbeusic...@fws.gov>, "Ziemba, Linda" <linda_zie...@fws.gov> Subject: 
Re: [cayugabirds-l] Montezuma Knox-Marsellus Marsh Dike Walk Sun Sept 8th, 2019 
Thanks, Dave Nicosia, for doing a great job leading the walks, keeping eBird 
lists, and writing summaries! I have a few things to add. First, it made a big 
difference that the dike had been widely mowed for the Muckrace, so it was easy 
to view the impoundment. Not only could we watch from more places, but several 
people could stand next to each other without anyone’s view being blocked, and 
short people could just plain see, all of which had been difficult when the 
vegetation was tall everywhere along the dike. Thank-you, Refuge staff.Second, 
it was Ken & Adriaan who found the small passerine flock in the SE corner of 
the woods, including Magnolia Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, a Red-eyed Vireo 
which surprisingly made a couple of wide sweeping sallies out from the woods, 
Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow (all of which I saw), and Least Flycatcher (which I 
missed).Dave Nicosia listed a flyover Wilson’s Snipe, but from farther along 
the dike I managed to follow such a bird in my scope until it alit on the open 
mud, barely visible to me as I looked over an island of cattails. With several 
other folks, I walked on the dike past the cattails and proudly aimed my scope 
at the Snipe who was walking toward a sleeping Greater Yellowlegs and a 
preening Pectoral Sandpiper on either side of an inconsequential bit of weed 
stubble. The first person looking through my scope had a great view, but the 
second person couldn’t find the Snipe. I looked again, and neither could I. 
Then someone looking through another scope saw the Snipe’s head move in the 
weed stubble, and people again took turns watching. When I got my scope back, I 
watched the Snipe for awhile, too. Eventually I realized that I really could 
see most of the Snipe, but it matched the weed stubble in height, color, and 
pattern. This was a life bird for one of the people with me. Early in the walk 
I had fallen behind Dave Nicosia, and I saw 3 American Golden-Plovers flying 
back and forth over the marsh. They started low, but gradually gained altitude 
and eventually appeared to fly off toward the Wildlife Drive. At least 2 of 
them were adults in transition to winter plumage but still with considerable 
blotches of black below. Much later I found a single such bird walking on the 
mud, so I told people about it, and when I looked again, there were 3 plovers. 
Maybe they were the same birds that I saw depart a couple hours earlier, having 
determined that Knox-Marsellus had the best shorebird habitat around. Again 
people were interested in the subtleties of Stilt Sandpiper ID, so we worked on 
that while watching their distinctive vertical ramming feeding behavior among 
the more randomly pecking Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs. And I talked about 
Pectoral Sandpipers, whose color & pattern are similar to Least, but whose 
shape differs, the larger species having a proportionately smaller head with an 
actual neck showing at times (Least & Semipalmated Sandpipers look neck-less to 
me). And I talked about how to use color and shape and proportions in shorebird 
ID generally.On our way out onto the dikes we saw several Long-billed 
Dowitchers, whose immaculate juvenile plumage had a cold grayish-tan hue 
overall and whose tertials were plain gray with narrow pale edges. When I was 
leaving, walking slow and falling behind everyone else, I discovered a juvenile 
Short-billed Dowitcher which must have just arrived. It had a warm overall 
orange glow in the sunlight from the edging on all the back & wing feathers, 
including the tertials, which had additional orange bars. I wished there were 
still people with me to show it to.                                             
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                
                            Among other marsh birds: The American White Pelican 
allowed wonderful scope views, including a close take-off and flyover as it 
went to visit Puddler temporarily. There were several Trumpeter Swans, who 
seemed to be having a discussion among themselves, murmuring clarinet notes.  
We watched a Merlin hunting low over the marsh whose presence was not 
appreciated by a Northern Harrier. After I heard about Dave Nicosia’s thermal 
full of migrants, the folks with me scanned and found what may have been the 
same thermal at a later stage. Although we did not see the butterfly, the 
swallows, or the Broad-winged Hawk, there were at least 7 Bald Eagles in it by 
the time we looked.I’m glad to hear that there will be a planning meeting in 
June regarding shorebirding from the Knox-Marsellus dikes, because the 
migration really starts in early July. Thanks again, Linda Ziemba & Andrea 
VanBeusichem, and the rest of refuge staff for maintaining the habitat for the 
birds and allowing access to birders!- - Dave NutterOn Sep 8, 2019, at 8:51 PM, 
David Nicosia <daven102...@gmail.com> wrote:We had a smaller group today vs 
previous weeks, I counted 26 at one point. This is no surprise given the 
Muckrace the day before. Nevertheless, we had an excellent outing with still a 
nice group of shorebirds and an even greater group of people.  We had all 
levels from beginner to advanced.  Many people got on life birds which was 
awesome!  There really wasn't anything new for Knox-Marsellus that we could 
find. But we focused a lot on shorebird and other species ID. A special thanks 
to Dave Nutter, who even after doing the Muckrace the day before, came out and 
assisted in leading part of the group.  All these weeks, Dave Nutter has been a 
fixture on these walks either leading or assisting and they wouldn't be the 
same without him! Thanks Dave!  I would like to thank Adrian Burke from 
Binghamton University who also assisted in finding birds for the group. We were 
fortunate to be joined by Dr.Ken Rosenberg and Dr. Adriaan M. Dokter of the 
Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  I appreciate Ken's insights on the details and 
life histories of our shorebirds and other species. Ken went over the finer 
points of shorebird ID with BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED vs SHORT-BILLED 
DOWITCHER, and several other species. He also explained molting patterns, aging 
and other finer points. This was much appreciated among the more advanced 
birders and beginners alike. Thanks Ken! Bird Highlights: nice views of BAIRD'S 
SANDPIPER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, STILT SANDPIPERS, LONG BILLED DOWITCHERS, 
PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and good comparison views of LEAST and SEMIPALMATED 
SANDPIPERS, and GREATER vs LESSER YELLOWLEGS. The AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was 
still present and took off right in front of us. The summering CANVASBACK was 
still present. We had one thermal that had 2 BALD EAGLES, OSPREY, several TVs, 
a BROAD-WINGED HAWK, and a monarch butterfly. Above these raptors (and 
butterfly) were a load of migrating swallows which was really cool. We also saw 
thousands of mainly red-winged blackbirds which was an awesome sight over the 
fields by the mucklands. Here is the list we complied.  
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59615396We didn't bird much in the woods. I 
know Dave Nutter had a group that got on some warblers and I believe a red-eyed 
vireo in the woods at the beginning that we didn't . We had a long discussion 
on the difference between Long and Short-billed Dowitcher in juvenile plumage. 
I have a nice photo of both species in an ebird list that shows photos of both 
species in juvenile plumage that I promised I would link. See this ebird list 
from a few week ago. https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59198143   The LBDO is 
third bird from the right all photos. Rest are SBDOs.  This is the last of the 
shorebird walks this fall migration season. I would like to thank Linda Ziemba 
for doing a nice job at managing Knox-Marsellus Marsh for the shorebirds and 
Andrea Van Beusichem for advertising and promoting these walks.  Best,Dave 
Nicosia  

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