For my first Loon Watch at Taughannock this morning, I had no idea what
turnout to expect. 0 seemed an understandable likelihood. Instead, about 20
people showed up, including some "civilians" who saw this announced in the
Ithaca Times calendar.

Air temp was around freezing, winds were moderate from the south, 10-15mph.
The good news: the hills shadowed us from the wind, so it was relatively
comfortable. The bad news, this was headwind for the southbound loons, so
the loon count was low. My tally of migrating loons is as follows:

  6:35-6:50: 1
  6:50-7:05: 7
  7:05-7:20: 0
  7:20-7:35: 1 southbound, 1 northbound
  7:35-7:50: 3 southbound, 3 northbound
  7:50-8:05: 4 southbound, 2 northbound, 1 u-turning back north
  8:05-8:20: 4 southbound

This count does not include about 5 loons fishing in the nearby waters,
including one working very close giving good naked-eye looks. Almost all
southbound loons flew low, almost skimming the surface of the water,
presumably to minimize headwind, while those flying back north flew higher.
Most flew individually, with a few loose pairs.

An early highlight was an adult bald eagle that flew in and perched up
close, triggering some nervous quacks from the mallards in the stream.
Later we watched a young herring gull with a fish being chased and
harassed by an adult herring gull, soon joined by a ring-billed, while a
loon on the water seemed to follow along, perhaps hoping to pick up a
dropped quarry. A rattling kingfisher, a flock of cedar waxwings, and a
red-tailed hawk harassed by crow and gull rounded out the morning's
sightings. Here's the e-bird list maintained by Jody:

Thanks to all who showed up, especially those with scopes willing to share
as mine gets repaired in the shop.



Cayugabirds-L List Info:


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