The Finger Lakes Land Trust has invited me to deliver a Zoom presentation
next week on this year’s Spring Bird Quest.  I’ll present photos and
anecdotes from my many visits to Land Trust preserves during May, focusing
on the bird moments that were most curious, amazing, and enlightening for
me (and hopefully you too).

So if you have enjoyed our SBQ field trips in the past, or if you miss
community bird events, or if you need a break from Netflix, or if you just
want to show up to support the Land Trust, we warmly welcome you!

The event will take place on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:30 PM.  Pre-registration
is required.  Here is a link to more details:
And here is the link to register on Zoom if you want to skip straight to
that step:

Of course, I get that dozens and dozens of you have also been visiting Land
Trust preserves in May, each with your own highlights.  If you have any
short notes or interesting photos, please feel free to send them to me.
I’ll see what I get and determine the best way to share your highlights
too, while still keeping the duration to about an hour.

Meanwhile, Land Trust staff have continued to help me to refresh the Spring
Bird Quest update page.  See
for some notes and new photos, through Sunday.

I also had two brief outings to Land Trust preserves on Memorial Day.  In
the late morning, Miyoko and I visited the Salmon Creek Bird Sanctuary in
Lansing, where we found the expected excellent variety of forest-edge and
forest-interior birds, including HOODED, BLUE-WINGED, and CHESTNUT-SIDED

Shortly after sunset, I decided to go to the Goetchius Wetland Preserve in
Caroline.  I found neither of those taxa, but I had a most excellent
consolation prize – at least five displaying AMERICAN WOODCOCKS.  I was a
bit surprised to find this species still courting with undiminished gusto,
in such good numbers. I'm aware of the potential for confusion with
Wilson’s Snipe or calling Common Nighthawks (actually my main target
species for the visit). But I got sight confirmation of one woodcock, which
I spotted flying right in front of me and followed as it rose on rapidly
whirring wings in its wheeling display flight.  This and all the other
woodcocks sounded typical -- nasal "peent" (less razzy than nighthawks),
twittering wings, and chirping descent.

(And speaking of surprising lingering nocturnal birds, the gray-morph
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL along Siena Drive has been continuing to roost in its
same cavity, including all three days of the long weekend.  This is the
latest in spring that I’ve ever seen a screech-owl lingering at a winter
roost site.  Still no obvious signs of a nest here, though.)

Mark Chao


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