Tom Auer on Cayuga Rare Bird Alert just reported R. Spoonbill back at Eagle 
statue/ Thruway pond.

Donna Scott
Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 13, 2021, at 5:06 PM, Dave Nutter <> wrote:

The Roseate Spoonbill at Montezuma NWR, which was seen by many on July 11th in 
a pond along the Wildlife Drive by I-90 and the giant Bald Eagle Stature, flew 
with a Great Egret toward Tschache Pool early that evening.

It has been seen several times in Tschache Pool in the company of one or more 
Great Egrets both on the 12th and today the 13th as recently as early this 
afternoon. As I understand it these views are distant and some were brief views 
in flight. Because Tschache Pool is closed to the public and mostly heavily 
vegetated, I believe all those views were from the tower along NYS-89 just 
north of I-90 (although sometimes some open water can be seen from farther 
north along NYS-89), looking at the few large areas of open water at the edges 
while keeping an eye open for overflights.

Still, if you want to see a big pink bird with a uniquely wacky bill, and you 
either don’t have or don’t want to use psychedelic drugs, Tschache Pool may be 
your best bet.

Lots of people submitted photos of this Roseate Spoonbill to eBird. Some of my 
favorites are by Dave Kennedy (feeding), by Mark Miller (shaking after 
bathing), and Gary Chapin (flying). The latter 2 show the black margins to the 
primary tips. The photos can be found by going to “My eBird” then “Alerts” and 
calling up Seneca County NY which gives all reports of rarities for the past 7 
days (so this offer expires on the 18th), then “details” for individual 
reports’ remarks & photos. There are also a bunch of photos on the Birds of 
Montezuma Facebook page (a site put together by photographers, not the official 
NWR site).

As you may know, I try to keep track of annual first records of bird species in 
the Cayuga Lake Basin in a table on the Cayuga Bird Club website’s Resources 
page. So I’ve been trying to figure out who found this bird, and I’m happy to 
credit multiple independent finders. So far this is what I have, all on July 

Ginger Bernardin submitted an eBird list from the Wildlife Drive from 8-9:30am 
including a brief description and a photo of the spoonbill. But before this 
eBird list showed up in eBird’s rare birds reports, other folks independently 
encountered the Roseate Spoonbill, so they get credit, too.

Dianne Dean Quintavalle and her husband (who deserves some credit but I saw no 
name for him) saw and recognized the bird through a telescope at a viewing 
platform on the Wildlife Drive. They were unable to photograph it, but she 
started a conversation on the Birds of Montezuma Facebook page at 9:59am 
confirming that she saw a pink bird with a spoon bill which she named as 
Roseate Spoonbill.

Karen Gellman replied in that conversation that she had also seen the bird by 
about 11am but had trouble reporting it to eBird because Roseate Spoonbill is 
not part of eBird’s NE US regional repertoire. By 11:23 she had posted photos 
of the bird to that facebook page, and she later submitted those photos to 
eBird for that time.

Linda Harvey and Angela Rider both managed overcome such obstacles and 
submitted incidental single bird reports for Roseate Spoonbill to eBird at 
11:13 & 11:17 respectively, both from the Thruway Pools along the Wildlife 
Drive. These reports piqued the interest of eBird followers, yet left folks 
wondering if these unprecedented reports were real, because neither report 
included any details of ID or evidence that would separate the reports from the 
occasional person horsing around with an absurd report (yes, that does happen) 
or a wild error of some sort (that also happens). I have generally stopped 
crediting empty reports of rarities. The exception which applies here is when 
the report which lack details or evidence manages to help other observers to 
find the bird and provide those details &/or that evidence. So they get credit. 
Scouts went looking.

Meanwhile an eBird report submitted later by Zeke VanZante for the Wildlife 
Drive says it started at 11:15am (right in between the previous 2 eBird 
reports) and spent 2 hours to travel 5 miles. He provides a photo of the 
Roseate Spoonbill from near the start of the Wildlife Drive, and says he also 
saw a/the Spoonbill at the end of the drive, making him wonder if there were 2 
Spoonbills. Regardless of precise timing and the flights of the bird, this is 
an independent valid report, so this name is included.

And the scouts alerted on account of eBird reports indeed found the bird, which 
graciously stuck around. The first of those scouts to send word back was Mike 
Gullo at 12:37, who saw the Roseate Spoonbill at Eaton Marsh from which I think 
it flew over the Seneca River and also toward the Thruway Pools (again). His 
eBird reports are among many with photos, and I think it’s fair to say that the 
many ensuing observers owe their observations in part to one or more of the 
above people.

BTW, details for ID can be short and plain, like these actual examples from 
eBird reports for this bird:

“pink bird large spoon bill”
“pale pink wading bird with wide flat bill”
“pink bird with long flat bill”
“large pink bird w spoon shaped bill”

The goal is to differentiate the observed rarity from any equally unlikely 
species, which in this case is easy.

I hope the Spoonbill again chooses a more publicly accessible pond next.

- - Dave Nutter
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