I took a drive today around the Northern Montezuma WMA and down along Cayuga 
Lake to the Airport in Seneca Falls. It was a quick trip, just the long way 
home so I didn’t linger long at each place.

>From N to S: Directly across route 89 from the Montezuma Audubon Center is an 
>ATT cell tower. The pair of local Bald Eagles were hanging out up there today. 
>There’s remnants of an old Osprey nest up there, maybe they’ll attempt to nest 
>there. It’s about that time for them!

 Carncross Rd is not plowed beyond the only house. I was there around 2:30, too 
early for Short-eared Owls, but I’ve seen them there recently. You can watch 
from the point where plowing ends and have great views of them hunting.

VanDyne Spoor Rd is plowed until just beyond the last house on the road, where 
the pavement ends. A few of the parking areas for the different marshes off VDS 
Rd are plowed out, including Guy’s Marsh. That’s about 1.5 miles to walk the 
berm around the wetland and would be great for snowshoes and xcountry.

East Rd is plowed end to end, just slippy on the middle section that is 
unplowed. The entire Knox Marsellus Marsh is frozen, there’s a lot of water in 
there and is going to be awesome for waterfowl migration. I heard a Northern 
Cardinal from this spot singing his spring song.

Next stop was along Cayuga Lake on route 89. The entire north end of the lake 
is iced over, from just about the state park and northward. I’d be interested 
to know where the ice stops?Tons of swans and geese hanging out around a pocket 
of water just on the north side of the railroad tracks that cross the lake. 
Also noticed a steady stream of American Crows coming in  from west to east, 
crossed over 89, and across the lake towards Auburn to roost. This was at 
4:45ish. Saw no other waterfowl the entire drive along Lower Lake Rd because it 
was all frozen. I pulled into the boat launch at Cayuga Lake SP and there was 
nothing to see, all ice. Then suddenly I saw 3 ducks flying north to south, out 
over the ice, and two more flew at me towards the boat launch but one was 
actually a falcon chasing a Mallard! The duck somehow evaded capture and 
disappeared behind a dock. The falcon flew right in front of us standing there 
and landed in a nearby tree where we got good looks through the scope. I first 
ID’d it as peregrine, a “duck hawk” chasing a duck obviously. But it was very 
light in color and very spotty. After mulling it over, I believe I actually saw 
a (the?) local Gyrfalcon! The Seneca Stone quarry is only 4-5 miles away. This 
happened around 4:45 pm. I have a short video and a few pics on my iPhone. I 
posted them in the CBC FB group of anyone wants to see: 

If it’s a Gyrfalcon, that is a life bird for me and one that I’ve missed 3 
other times! A peregrine is still awesome, especially with  the drama of the 
duck hunt!

We also heard another singing Northern Cardinal and a flock of 25 American 
Robins flew over.

Last stop was by the Finger Lakes Regional Airport. Lots of snow, and very tall 
snow banks. I didn’t see any Snowy or Short-eared owls, but I didn’t spend a 
ton of time looking. I did a quick drive around the “block” but didn’t see 
anyone else but a small flock of Snow Buntings.

That’s all! It was a really quick birding trip but I think really rewarding! 
Crossing my fingers for the Gyrfalcon.

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Cayugabirds-L List Info:

1) http://www.mail-archive.com/cayugabirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds
3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html

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