With all the trivial downstate chatter on this listserv, I sometimes forget
that people might actually want to hear about state-level rare birds in our
area. We have a few at the moment.
Best current bird in Ithaca is a male TUFTED DUCK hanging in the huge (>10,000,
probably near 20,000) flock of ducks (mostly Redheads) in the very SW corner of
Cayuga Lake. It is difficult to look at this flock, but views can be had from
Rt 89 just outside the Ithaca city limits. (Look for the first and only parking
area on the west side of the road.) Even if you don't find the Tufted Duck,
this duck flock is an amazing sight.
Also in the area is a family group of Black Vultures (2 adults, 2 juveniles)
that are consistently, but not constantly, hanging out at the state
pheasant-raising facility on Game Farm Road, just east of Ithaca and SW of
We had a good Christmas Bird Count on the 1st, with a record-setting 102
species. Pretty impressive, I have to say for an inland count! Tufted Duck,
Black Vulture, and Eurasian Goldfinch were all new species for the count. We
also had record numbers of multiple duck species. Still no sign of the northern
finches yet, despite the abundance of cones on all the conifers.
Good birds for inland New York included Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter,
Long-tailed Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon,
Gadwall, Red-throated Loon, Peregrine Falcon, Savannah Sparrow.
Good birding and happy new year!
Happy new year!
Kevin J. McGowan, Ph.D.
Distance Learning in Bird Biology
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
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