[cayugabirds-l] Merlin Nesting 2020

2020-08-04 Thread John Confer
I have monitored nesting success of Merlin in Tompkins for the last six years. 
Nest discovery has been almost entirely due to reports by other birders. I am 
so grateful to so many. This year only 2 of 10 nests were discovered by myself. 
I really depend on help, thanks. I am trying to write a paper for the Journal 
of Raptor Research with our Tompkins County Merlin as the backbone derived from 
your reports.

PAIRS/NESTS (YEAR)
6/6 (2015), 6/6 (2016), 5/5 (2017), 6/6 (2018), 6/6 (2019), and 11/10 (2020).
This year’s survey area was expanded to include Lansing and Trumansburg, which 
added 2 pair. In the normal survey area there were 9 known pairs and 8 nests 
where I have found 5-6 nests in previous years. 70% nest success for 10 known 
Merlin nests in 2020.
Dryden: 2 pair, one successful
Lansing: 1 pair successful. This almost certainly was the pair seen by many at 
Myer’s Point. It nested just west of the Catholic church.
Trumansburg: 1 pair failed in the “downtown” center of the town.
South Hill: 1 pair first seen for weeks on Crescent Place, but nested down 
Hudson St. closer to Aurora
Freeville: Pair present for weeks, but moved and was not refound.
Buffalo St: Successfully fledged four
University Ave.: Successful pair
Heights Court: Successful fledged four
Murial/Salem: Successful, number fledged unknown
Burleigh Dr.: Takeover of American Crow nest, Merlin failed.
The local Merlin population is clearly suburban, not nesting in the rural areas 
of agriculture or forested land. The population appears to be increasing.
I am so grateful to so many for their reports. Over 35 people alerted me to 
nests this year!!. I’m not going to mention everyone, but Jay sent me reports 
that led me to two nests. The Crow people, Anna, Kevin, Connor, and Sheila, 
helped considerably.
 Thanks,
John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] Ithaca Merlin - good

2020-07-13 Thread John Confer
Hanshaw near Salem
   Can't see nest, but male and female calling near nest

Univsersity Ave. near Lynn St.
   Four well-feathered nestlings, crawling around branches. Will fledge in a 
few days.

Wycoff Ave.
   Three of four downy young. They were sleepy, more or less in a pile.

Buffalo near Schuyler
   Four young with fairly well grown feathers, but lots of down that they were 
busily preening. Will fledge in ~~8-10 days.

Just a few more days, and I won't have to count my chicks before they fledge. 
Good year locally so far.

11 pair in county, three failed, one moved somewhere??

John

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] RHWO at Long Point

2020-07-04 Thread John Confer
I once saw a Red-headed Woodpecker sitting on a fence between my home and 
Slatervile. Red-heads do a lot of fly catching, just like flyctchers. When I 
came home the woodpecker was dead along the road. Good luck to the redhead. I 
have since chided myself for not stopping the car and chasing the redhead away.

From: bounce-124746230-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Carol Schmitt 

Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 4:10 PM
To: l...@cornell.edu ; cec...@gmail.com 
Cc: cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu 
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] RHWO at Long Point

This message originated from outside the Ithaca College email system.



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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin

2020-06-22 Thread John Confer
Merlin Update

Tompkins County is now regularly blessed with quite a few pair of Merlin 
beginning with the first documented pair in 2005 (T. Gallagher), a part of the 
explosive, southward advance in the last 30 years. I have been trying to 
document nest success rates for 5 years. After the first year, I have shared 
the location of only one nest. That was the nest opposite GIAC and in a tree 
within the fence around the public swimming pool. This year I have followed 10 
pairs in Tompkins County.

HELP WANTED FOR THREE PAIR THAT DISAPPEARED.

Currently successful

Between Dryden and Lake Dryden. Male brought in a catbird for his mate on nest 
a few days ago.

Along University Ave.

West of Catholic church toward Myer’s Point probably in nest built and 
successfully used by Fish Crow this year. (Thanks Jay and Connor)

Near Highland and Wyckoff

Downtown Trumansburg

Between Murial and Salem.

Lost track of:

Freeville: pair seen earlier in same location as last year’s nest, but left.

South Hill School: pair seen around old nest for two weeks, but left

Pair that drove crows off nest along Burleigh Dr., but still left.

Failed:

Pair seen incubating near Dryden Family Medicine, but failed.

If anyone has recently seen Merlin in the Lost Track Of locations or anywhere 
else, please contact confergoldw...@aol.com<mailto:confergoldw...@aol.com>

Thanks for help with this fascinating species

John Confer


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Cowbirds

2020-04-11 Thread John Confer
I, also, wonder about this report. I've had to handle nestlings for research 
purposes, always with fear and the most care possible. Nestlings don't stay in 
nests any longer than absolutely necessary because nests are depredated by 
raccoon, cat, weasel, skunk, raptors, etc. Nestlings generally can't leave any 
earlier because they don't have sufficient feathers for insulation nor muscle 
strength to move around. Further, since they don't thermoregulate until just 
about the day they leave, they would have a hard time surviving in the lower 
temperatures of night. 3 to 4 to 5 AM is usually the coldest time of the 24 hr 
cycle, often 20-30-40 degrees colder than mid-day. This doesn't makes sense to 
me.

It is a pretty image.

John



From: bounce-124540618-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Magnus Fiskesjo 

Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2020 10:10 AM
To: AB Clark 
Cc: Michael H. Goldstein ; CAYUGABIRDS-L 

Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] Cowbirds

This message originated from outside the Ithaca College email system.


Hi, I would love to know, and I sure wish I could find that article. I 
definitely recall that it said the cowbird chicks that were studied left their 
nest like 3am to go to the field ("party"), and then came back to the nest 
before dawn, to continue to pretend to be their slave parent's child!

Of course later they'll not sit in the nest any more, and wander around while 
being fed, I've seen that. And yes I am sure you are right about most of the 
other things you noted! I maybe should not have said "teenager", -- that was my 
word choice, not that of the scholars whose research was reported in that 
Living Bird magazine article.  I used "teenager" because the cowbird nightly 
field party seemed to be a ... teenager's dance party.

Maybe someone else knows the URL for the actual article. I can't find it, I 
must have read it in print only.

This rather memorable article also talked about other astounding discoveries 
such as that the catbird is the only bird that can resist the cowbird's 
trickery. Unlike other birds, it said, the catbird will expel every egg that 
looks different from its first egg. So, the cowbirds can only outsmart it by 
laying their egg in the catbirds' new nest before even mama catbird has laid 
her first egg there. If it can, then the catbird will expel her own eggs, one 
after the other. And if the cowbird scheme fails, it might rip up the nest (as 
revenge).

--yrs.,
Magnus Fiskesjö
n...@cornell.edu

From: AB Clark [anneb.cl...@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2020 9:30 AM
To: Magnus Fiskesjo
Cc: Michael H. Goldstein; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Cowbirds

I wonder if there has been some mis-intepretation either in the article or by 
subsequent readers.  Cowbird young, like other passerines, leave the nest in 
the care of parents (foster or otherwise) and live outside the nest from then 
on.  (OK individuals may hop outside during the day and return at night for the 
day or two over which they fledge.)  Care for cowbirds in the fledgling stage 
lasts a similar time to their relatives, red-winged blackbirds and other 
smallish icterids.  They should be fed and be following or calling to parents 
over the next 12-14 days, not joining older cowbirds.  Teenagers would be 
perhaps yearling cowbirds?  It is later, in summer and fall, when young 
cowbirds are independent of parents, that they flock up with other cowbirds and 
blackbirds.

I haven’t heard anything about 3 am gatherings from Meredith or her students.  
Seems pretty dark for any such passerine to be moving.  West and King studied 
them in aviaries and it could be that researchers got up at 3 am to set up and 
be there when singing started to happen.  But in any case, cowbird song 
learning is a fascinating situation where the basic songs are clearly not 
learned from parents during late nestling or early fledgling periods, i.e. 
develop “innately”, but  are socially modified in a number of ways, feedback 
from female cowbirds and from competing male cowbirds both.  West and King 
published several really nice overviews in accessible papers, Scientific 
American or American Scientist, I believe.

By the way, there is at least one video-documented report of a hatchling 
cowbird behaving like cuckoos and butting host eggs out of the nest.


Anne B Clark
147 Hile School Rd
Freeville, NY 13068
607-222-0905
anneb.cl...@gmail.com



On Apr 11, 2020, at 9:11 AM, Magnus Fiskesjo 
mailto:magnus.fiske...@cornell.edu>> wrote:

This morning, a male cowbird singing, at Salt Point. Never heard that before. A 
very low volume series of thin crispy notes. No clucking, as in some recordings 
of its song.

The bird sat very close, on top of the little pine/fur tree at the lakeside 
fork of the path to the Bluebird Path.

It refused to leave its perch and continued singing even as I stood right under 
the 

[cayugabirds-l] Help with Merlin nesting

2020-04-03 Thread John Confer
Hi Folks,

   I continue to monitor Merlin nesting. It is early now, but I'd sure like it 
if people would let confergoldw...@aol.com know about nesting. I am good at not 
sharing if theire is any possibility of adversely affecting the nesting pair.

John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Foxy field sparrow

2020-04-03 Thread John Confer
The result of a lot of cracked corn: this morning I had Fox, Field, Tree, and 
Song Sparrows on the ground at once. Nice.

Stay well,

John

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] [nysbirds-l] Fwd: News Alert: North America has lost 29% of its birds since 1970, study finds. Experts blame habitat loss, pesticides, light pollution and cats.

2019-09-20 Thread John Confer
I get particularly incensed with the rationale for killing blackbirds. It is 
intended to reduce blackbird depredation on grain in the next fall. Killing 
birds in winter on an area where they gather from many directions has an 
unknown and perhaps little impact on the population eating grain next fall. It 
is not known that the killed birds were the ones eating the grain. Killing in 
fall is followed by spring breeding. Density dependent, a widely accepted 
theory of ecology, argues that lowering number at the start of the breeding 
season enhances the breeding success of those that survive (better nest sites 
available for a higher proportion means more young per nest attempt). It is not 
clear that killing these birds fulfills its goal.

John Confer

From: bounce-123939949-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of AB Clark 

Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:48 PM
To: David Nicosia 
Cc: NYSBIRDS-L-for posts posts ; Cayuga Birds 
; BroomeBirds 
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] [nysbirds-l] Fwd: News Alert: North America has 
lost 29% of its birds since 1970, study finds. Experts blame habitat loss, 
pesticides, light pollution and cats.

This message originated from outside the Ithaca College email system.

a. Starlings are declining in Europe also, apparently due to farming practices 
(no grain lying around?  hedgerows?).  But if you want to look for some “black 
bird” related explanations, check out the USDA site to see how many “nuisance” 
birds were killed using Avitrol on big feedlots where a LOT of those pesky 
birds eat grains….feedlots=where our breeding populations gather in the winter. 
 The USDA takes responsibility proudly for 1-2 million a year.

b. When BU puts out pelletized lawn feeder/weed killer, there are usually some 
dead robins.

c. The deer problem is solvable (less deer and ardent replantings) but it will 
take many generations.  Maybe you have heard my grad student Justin describe 
his research.  There are basically no understory nesting warblers and other 
species in the Nature Preserve now.  For instance.  And understory takes a long 
time and replanting to come back after decades of being eaten.

d. Data is still out, of course, but wind farms at least appear to be the 
largest problem for larger birds…eagles, hawks, vultures. Yes, there are things 
that can be done to make them safer—studies done and published and ongoing.  
Wind farms probably won’t turn out to be biggies (my thought), but much of this 
decline happened over the previous 4 decades, not just since wind farms got big.

e. Migrants are also definitely being hit in their wintering grounds….remember 
the Amazon fires, as an ongoing example.  I don’t want to think about how many 
tamarin and other small mammal species we have lost forever in those…but burns 
don’t leave lots of habitat to return to after a summer up here.  Thats only 
one kind of habitat loss.  The Bahamas wasn’t trivial.

so many many hits..

On Sep 19, 2019, at 8:03 PM, David Nicosia 
mailto:daven102...@gmail.com>> wrote:


1. Why are european starlings declining?  That is crazy but concerning when a 
seemingly adaptable invasive specie is dying off.
2. Could it be related (in part) to West Nile Virus? 
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/11/west-nile-virus-still-wiping-out-birds-across-north-america<https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencemag.org%2Fnews%2F2015%2F11%2Fwest-nile-virus-still-wiping-out-birds-across-north-america=02%7C01%7Cconfer%40ithaca.edu%7C3dd8410406924ec4285608d73d6447ad%7Cfa1ac8f65e5448579f0b4aa422c09689%7C0%7C0%7C637045373240080474=jc1b1W7rwYcPjZOSGsKDRz%2BEgkf%2BoOovb0gBnrgJhHA%3D=0>
3. Grassland birds have been declining for decades and will continue unless 
farming practices are changed and more bird friendly.  In the northeast U.S, we 
have lost many farms and they have reverted back to woodlands. I see this in 
many areas of Bradford Co. PA where I grew up. I remember a lot of field birds 
in places that are now full of saplings 30 feet tall.
4. Rampant deer populations destroying undergrowth for many ground nesters.  
The DEC locally needs to find a solution here. This is manageable!
5. Pesticides and herbicides (especially the lawn treatments) which are so 
common. I always wonder how this affects Robins and other birds that forage on 
the ground. I never use this stuff on my "lawn" and it has a lot of weeds. So 
what.  I could care less what people think.
6. Spruce budworm population cycles in our boreal forests. This could explain 
decline in warblers since there was a massive outbreak of budworms in the 70s 
and 80s. Many warbler's populations are tied to these cycles. The 1990s and 
2000s there was a lull and now they are on their way up again. This could 
explain a more natural cycle in warbler populations independent of vireos. 
(this is speculation).
7. More towers and wind farms?  If a wind farm and tower are lighted 

[cayugabirds-l] Banding saw-whets

2019-09-12 Thread John Confer
Northern Saw-whet Owls are about to migrate past us on their way south. And 
once again, I will be banding them with the help of volunteers. We have caught 
over 100 owls in each of the last several years. Over 12,000 saw-whets are 
banded annually, which provides important data used in studieson many aspects 
of the saw-whet population. I have used this banding data to write about the 
direction of movement, the pattern of movement for different age of owls, and 
the influence of moonlight.

This year, more than ever, I need the help of people who can come out 
semi-regularly on a given night of the week from early October until 
mid-November. We open the nets with favorable weather conditions on about 1 out 
of 3 nights.

If you are interested, please contact me at 
confergoldw...@aol.com<mailto:confergoldw...@aol.com> or 607-539-6308.

Thanks much,  John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nesting 2019

2019-08-26 Thread John Confer
Thanks to all who made this Merlin study possible.


I monitored the nest success for seven nests in spring 2019. The number of 
discovered nests has remained nearly constant in the last four years. All nests 
have been in urban/suburban locations. Most of these nests were discovered by 
others and reported to me, for which I am extremely grateful. Thank you all for 
your help.

Of monitored nests (i.e., nests seen on more than one date), I know that 4 of 5 
local nests fledged young. A monitored nest in Freeville probably fledged 
young. A monitored nest in Endwell fledged young. Three fledglings were seen in 
Tioga Point Cemetery, one of which had an injured leg. This site has had 
successful nests for the last two years,

 More detail and a video by Suan will be available in the next Cayuga Bird Club 
newsletter.

John Confer


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest GIAC

2019-07-25 Thread John Confer
Hi Suan,

   Thanks for posting that.

   Mammals are rarely captured by Merlin, but not never. Adults often remove 
the tail and head before they bring it to nestlings. That has been a 
frustration when I tried to identify prey, which I did for 50 prey. None of 
them were mammals, but dead floppy birds without tail or head look like 
mammals. I couldn't tell what it was. At one frame I thought I saw two bumps on 
the ventral surface where the legs of a bird would be. By the way, they do eat 
the bird's legs. Lots of calcium I guess.

John

From: bounce-123767908-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Suan Hsi Yong 

Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 7:59 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L 
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest GIAC

This message originated from outside the Ithaca College email system.

Stopped by GIAC this evening, one merlin (couldn't tell if parent or young) was 
perched visibly until my attention caused it to hop behind some branches. They 
can definitely tell who's paying attention and who isn't, like the few dozen 
parents watching the ongoing basketball game.

Anyhow, last Friday, July 19, I happened to get a video of a feeding:

  
https://www.facebook.com/suan.yong/posts/10220272976272542

Can anyone ID the rodent?

Suan

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest GIAC

2019-07-11 Thread John Confer
THANKS!!  This is my fifth year of monitoring Merlin nest success.  THANKS!! to 
the directions and assistance provided by many, I have been able to monitor 
over 30 nests, including 7 this year. Most of the nests I have monitored were 
originally discovered by others. I am so very grateful for so many reports.

This year two nests have been predated (so far), three have fledged, and two 
still have nestlings. This is, so far, a good year for nesting success

I never share the location of a nest that is early in the nesting cycle. I 
never share the location of a nest that can only be seen from private property, 
or a nest where the parents seem upset by human activity. There is one nest 
this year that I feel I can share without any danger of birding visitors 
jeopardizing the nest.

There is a nest in a tall spruce between GIAC and the public swimming pool. In 
fact the spruce tree is inside the chain link fence surrounding the pool area. 
During the school year and now that the pool is open (after 12:00) there is an 
extremely high level of noisy human activity around the nest site. The addition 
of any quiet birders outsider the chain link fence, in comparison to kids 
leaving the school or playing in the pool, would make no difference to the 
Merlins. The male and female seem virtually oblivious to extreme activity. If 
the nest continues successfully, the young should fledge around the weekend of 
the 20th. For a few days before fledging, the young hop out limbs, exercise 
their wings, and generally look very comical. The nest can best be seen from 
outside the northwest corner of the chain link fence around the swimming pool. 
I have spoken to the lifeguards and some of them know that people with optical 
equipment are likely birders. But you may enjoy watching the birds before all 
hell breaks loose in the swimming pool at 12:00.

John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest info.

2019-05-03 Thread John Confer
Hi Folks,

I have monitored nesting success of Merlins for four previous years. This 
year neat finding has been really slow. I know of a probable nest near 
Freeville and a probable nest near the Ithaca swim club and a third in 
Endicott. The adults are flying around the probably nest, but not yet 
incubating. From other years my earliest incubation date has been 1 May with 
some nests considerably later.

   This year I have made probably 2-6 trips to every report of a Merlin 
sighting, either those sent to me (at confergoldw...@aol.com) or posted to 
eBird. Boy, either they are getting more sneaky, or my skill is dropping. Well, 
my hearing isn't as good, and I can't get out at daylight, which I have found 
to be the most fruitful time.

   I have used the observations for science publications and popular science 
education. I don't tell people about nests if the only access is on private 
property, and I don't tell people about a nest until the nestlings are fairly 
old, at which point the adults are very unlikely to desert. I have found nests 
on the border of school grounds, in branches over roads and even highways, and 
adjacent to really busy sidewalks. I followed one nest adjacent to another 
conifer that was cut down as the adults fed the nestlings in order to make way 
for the installation of an above ground swimming pool. And the young fledged. I 
don't like to take any chances with disturbing nesting birds, but I think 
Merlin are extraordinairly well adapted to humans.

  I find it interesting that I have never found a really rural Merlin nest. 
Surely nests in urban/suburban areas are  morel likely to be ofund. But none 
out of 24 in rural areas. Not sure why that should be.

   Love to hear about any probable Merlin nest, thanks.

John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Help Merlin nests

2019-04-10 Thread John Confer
In the last 5 years I have monitored 25 Merlin nests. Results are to be 
included in a poster for a professional Behavior conference. The accumulated 
data are used to help understand Merlin nesting biology.
Many of the nests were reported to me by others. I have followed up on every 
Merlin nest report to eBird for Tomplins County, thanks. I would appreciate any 
additional information.
I do not share the location of nests that can only be seen from private 
property.
Merlin are well adapted to human presence, sometimes even nesting over busy 
sidewalks, or bordering school playgrounds. Nonetheless, I do not share the 
location of nests until the adults are feeding young. By this time the adults 
are extremely unlikely to abandon a nest due to additional human presence.

ONLY IN ITHACA.  I was trying to verify a nest location this morning. I walked 
up to a viewing location carrying my scope on a tripod and binoculars around my 
neck (with my dog on a leash). As I walked up to a viewing spot for the 
probably nest, three people were getting out of a parked car and began 
gesturing upward. One turned toward me and asked if the pair of birds over 
their heads were Merlin. (Why they would ask me, I don't know.) Indeed, the 
female was plucking a small gray bird with a white abdomen and undertail 
coverts (but neither head nor tail because the male had helpfully partially 
plucked the bird for his mate. The feathers were dropping down to the sidewalk. 
As I watched the pair of birds waiting to see if either would fly to the 
putative nest, someone came out of a house with her daughter and asked if they 
could see the bird. Turns out she had a summer internship on a Spotted Owl 
project. Her higher pitched voice was better at attracting the owls than that 
of her supervisor, a point of some pride. While we watched the pair of birds 
another woman came down the sidewalk. She said she had seen the birds before 
and recognized that they were hawks. She thought they were smaller than 
red-tails and she planned to use her "Merlin app" to try to identify them. I 
admit there were two people who passed by with eyes averted as if ignoring this 
wierd person with a scope and tripod standing on the sidewalk. But really, 3 of 
5 groups of people who walked by knew about Merlin. Where else but Ithaca could 
you watch a pair of falcons and see the city downtown while standing on a busy 
sidewalk next to a busy street with 60% of the passerbys wanting to know more 
about the falcons? (See, I didn't tell you where the birds were.)
Incidentally, neither female nor male went to the putative nest in a half hour 
making me think that on this cold morning she had not begun to incubate.

John

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[cayugabirds-l] Feeding Pine Warbler

2019-04-05 Thread John Confer
There are few things more pathetic than a Pine Warbler in a snow storm on the 
ground below your feeder picking at microscopic bits, but that is what spring 
sometimes gives us. Karen and I maintain a meal worm culture for those 
occasions when some stressed critter would like to eat a few"worms". I spread a 
cup from the culture tank on the ground below a feeder, not knowing if the 
warbler would ever come back, and see the new stuff, and fly down to the pile 
of debri, and pick up a worm. Magic does happen and the wrabler did fly down 
and hop to the pile of debri, and then fly up to the flowering crab. I got a 
view of the bird with a meal worm in its peak as it stuck it into crevacises in 
the bark and shredded it into bite sized portions. I imagine that one worm will 
keep it warm through the night, and then tomorrow is supposed to be warmer. My 
karma is bright.

John

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[cayugabirds-l] 3 Fox, 1 Field

2019-03-17 Thread John Confer
This morning brought our first Field Sparrow and 3 Fox Sparrow, after one late 
yesterday evening.


Beautiful birds.


John

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[cayugabirds-l] Another Fox Sparrow

2019-03-16 Thread John Confer
At our feeder at 6:20 PM in Brooktondale.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Wegman's = robins and waxwing

2019-03-06 Thread John Confer
6 April:  About 50 robins and at least a dozen waxwing were eating berries in 
trees in parking lot at Wegmen's this afternoon. I thought this paved area was 
a biological desert, but have to give it a little credit for species of trees 
they planted.


John

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[cayugabirds-l] Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

2018-12-29 Thread John Confer
Hammond Hill Owls (HHOWLS) had another successful year of banding.  We banded 
on 16 nights, almost every night with tolerable to good wind conditions and 
temperatures above freezing from 1 October until 6 November. This provided 502 
net hours and 0.2 birds per net hour. We had 116 assistant-nights with 42 
people who made more than one trip. Plus, we had about 30 brief visitors with 
the Cayuga Bird Club trip.

I would do the banding for either the data on migratory saw-whets and what we 
might learn from it. Or, the great pleasure in the personal interactions among 
all of us. The best part is the new and renewed friendships that come from 
working to our best to process the birds safely and record the data accurately. 
Put the two aspects together, and you have an awesome experience.

thanks to all who helped,  toot toot toot


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Dandy's dandy drive-by Eastern Screech Owl

2018-11-20 Thread John Confer
It is back, or at least another gray phase bird is back in the same hole.


In the northwestern corner of the parking area for Slaterville's Dandy Market, 
the bird was there yesterday (Monday). It is back in the same hole which has 
had a screech for at least three years. In the past I recall it sitting with 
only its head in the opening. This time almost its entire body was visible, 
including a white v in the lower part of the chest.


I use Dandys several times a week and check the hole every time. I have not 
seen an owl in that cavity since last winter.


hoot, hoot


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

2018-10-01 Thread John Confer
HI Folks,
  I am continuing my Northern Saw-whet Owl banding project for this the tenth 
year. Our location is about 3 miles southeast of Slaterville Springs at 651 
Hammond Hill Rd, referred to as HHOWLS. Last year we banded 137 owls. This year 
after two nights at the start of migration we have captured one saw-whet and 
one screech. Banding stations to the north of us have been banding for a couple 
weeks and report higher than average catch rates. I will band owls during the 
interval from now until after mid-November. Inappropriate weather occurs on 
about half to two-thirds of those nights so we only band on about 20 nights. If 
you would like to participate as a Banding Assistant please contact me at 
. Banding Assistants should try to come out for a 
specific night of the week throughout the banding season, except, of course, on 
those nights when the weather is bad.  The number of signups for this year 
provides very unequal numbers for different days. I may need to ask people if 
they could change. One-time-only visitors must make prior arrangement for a 
specific night.
as the saw-whet says
toot toot toot
John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] Nice hawks Mount Pleasant

2018-09-13 Thread John Confer
>From 12:30 to 2:00 on Thursday, 13 Sep.


At the observatory on Mount Pleasant in beautiful weather wth light winds from 
the northeast.

3 imm. Bald Eagle

3 red-tail

2 kestrel

1 Turkey Vulture

1 Broad-winged Hawk


farther west on Mount Pleasant and around corner on Turkey HIll and toward Game 
Farm. (Incidentally, the new fence at Game Farm is an attempt to keep 
groundhog, fox and coyote from digging into the pens and away form the 
pheasants.)

   2 more imm. Bald Eagle

   25+ Turkey Vulture

   1 red-tail

   1 probable Peregrine Falcon


Hawk Mountain peak times

   Broad-winged Hawk 14-17 September

   Bald Eagle late August through mid-September

   Peregrine Falcon mid-October


Five Bald Eagle in a short time and not at a feeding feast. I remember Tom Cade 
and the  original hacking back of Bald Eagles at Montezuma followed by the 
great effort of the DEC and Peter Nye.

I went up to Mount Pleasant for an hour+ yesterday and saw one buteo at great 
distance. That is my usual sort of luck at Mount PLeasant


Cheers,


John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest success, 2018 - short and long

2018-07-27 Thread John Confer
Merlin Nest Success 2018

In Brief.
  During each of the preceding 3 years I monitored 7 Merlin nests 
near Ithaca that collectively had about a 50% nest success. This is quite low 
according to other surveys and probably would not produce enough young that 
survive to breeding age to replace the annual mortality. Most of the nests were 
discovered by others and reported to me. Thanks to all who were involved, 
especially Anne Clark and all the crow people, and Debbie Mahoney.
  This year I monitored 4 nests, all of which fledged young.
Freeville, 3 fledged young. Sorry but I forget who told me that 
there was a Merlin heard in Freeville, which started me on this search.
Tioga Point Cemetery, Sayre, PA, 2 young. Thanks to Bill Howe.
Near corner Pinewood Place and Sycamore Drive in at 112 
Sycamore, 3 fledged young. Thanks to Brad Walker and the crow people
Hanshaw Rd, about 20 m south side of road, west of Blackstone 
Ave. 4 fledged young, Thanks to the Doerr family.

Some detail

I had a terrible time this year tracking down nests of reported pairs of birds.
I made about 15 visits to Dryden to find a nest. On several visits the male and 
female were conspicuous. One the female sat on a potential nest, but never 
nested there.
Kevin McGowan forwarded to me a report of a pair at a tree with a last year's 
crow nest at Hancock and Dey. After 3 or 4 mornings of 1 to 1.5 hours walking, 
I never found the pair again. I'm sorry but I have forgotten who told Kevin, 
but thanks.
I made 5 visits to Wells College campus, but never pinned down the nest.  The 
pair were fairly conspicuous and several people reported seeing/hearing the pair
I made a trip to Endicott for a definite nesting tree with nest, only to have 
the pair disappear from there,  and another trip to Whitney Point area to a 
road where Merlin had been seen twice this spring, once carrying prey, but no 
luck. Thanks Victor and others for all the help.
I chased a pair around Christopher Circle, Brandywine, Winthrop, Sandra Place 
and that area, probably 6 or 7 times, frequently seeing both birds, sure that I 
had found the nest on one occasion, only to have the pair disappear. But, 
hiking with your dog is good for you, isn't it.
Even with the successful  Freeville nest. it turned out to be not easy and was 
frustrating. I watched the female sitting in a nest  in Freeville for ten 
minutes and was certain I had the nest tree, which provided great joy. Only, 
for no known reason I knew she was gone the next two visits. Eventually I 
picked up flight into another  tree and found the nest. The tree was on the 
edge of an elementary school playground and for a few hours every day there 
were a lot of noisy Kids nearby. Eventually they did fledge at least three 
young.

Birchwood then Sycamore then Salem then Sycamore nest.
Brad Walker told me about a male calling north of his house on 
Hanshaw and south of Birchwood. Indeed it was there several times in the nest 
three days including the morning when I spent an extra hour there waiting for 
AAA  to open my car that had the keys inside. Then the pair called and flew 
around and landed in a spruce on Sycamore. Then the pair wasn't seen in two 
visits. Then the pair was seen on two days with the female going into and out 
of a spruce in the backyard of a home on Salem, close to Hanshaw. Then the pair 
finally selected a nest in a spruce on Sycamore.  Anne Clark and her students 
spent a great deal of time looking for crow nests in this area last year, and 
other years as well. She was fairly certain that she knew all the crow nests  
in that area, and raised the possibility that it was a Cooper's Hawk nest. 
Certainly not known, but interesting.

 Tobias and Venu  Doerr reported via someone at the lab and I forget who, but 
thanks, a nest in the yard adjacent to there's on Hanshaw. I was feeling a 
little frustrated on nest finding when I got the email, and suspected some 
mistake in identification. I drove into their driveway, looked up into a spruce 
tree, saw a nest, got the scope on it, and there she was. The entire family 
(i.e., human family) provided enthusiasm, nice observations including a feather 
collection from prey with a probable Bobolink, and incredibly easy access (a 
park in their drive and watch the Merlin nest.
To add insult to injury for the birds that evaded me, Nancy Cusomano contacted 
me that Morgan Hapeman, who runs the Finger Lakes Raptor Center had attained 
two nestling Merlin via the Cornell  Vet School . One was found north of Argos 
Inn off MLK street and the other in bushes in downtown Ithaca. They were both 
of the same age, and probably from the same nest. Now how in the world did I 
and all the rest of the Ithaca birders miss a Merlin nest near MLK Street in 
downtown Ithaca. Considering the time I spent in that area looking/listening 
for a Merlin, it is a bit 

[cayugabirds-l] spontaneously calling, backyard saw-whet

2018-07-11 Thread John Confer
Karen and I were listening to a movie with a night scene in a forest when I 
heard a saw-whet toot -  toot, etc. I jumped up to turn off the movie sound 
because I wasn't sure where the call came from. Amazing, my first ever 
in-my-yard, spontaneously calling saw-whet continued after the sound track was 
turned off!


By the way: I am going out on a limb and sawing it behind me. This year will be 
the best year ever for numbers of saw-whet banded! Last year's mega cone crop 
in Canada will support really high numbers of rodents, including red-backed 
voles. This food supply will support fat female saw-whets who will lay more 
eggs, and that food will assure that a high proportion of the hatched eggs 
actually fledge. Get ready for a great banding year. I have already ordered 
more bands for banding.


Hoot, hoot

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[cayugabirds-l] Cliff Swallow - Game Farm

2018-06-30 Thread John Confer
Two Cliff Swallow on dirt road leading to mulch pile on the east side of 
pheasant pens near the perpendicular road from the dirt road that goes into the 
game farm.


John


PS just northwest of the junction of the perpendicular road going into the game 
farm there is a very nice cluster of Swamp Milkweed that is just reaching full 
flower, Asclepias incarnata

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[cayugabirds-l] Spoke 2 soon - siskins

2018-06-05 Thread John Confer
We just had 11 Pine Siskin on our rail-feeder at once, and some more calling in 
the trees. Amazing bird movement. I'l have to send this in to ebird and see 
about movement in the northeast.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Pine Siskins (3+)

2018-06-05 Thread John Confer
Two days ago (3 June) I heard what I thought was siskin calls near our feader 
and yesterday two landed on our feeder while at least one more was in a nearby 
tree. One at the feeder was extremely tame allowing approach within a few feet. 
Seemed like possible fledgling, but that's only a guess. I haven't heard/seen 
any other siskins since winter incursion. If they nested in the area, it wasn't 
very close.


John

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Urban pewee

2018-05-28 Thread John Confer
Hi Suan,


   It is interesting that Eastern Wood Pewe select territories in canopy gaps 
in forested landscapes. I imagine in most urban areas the gap is close the the 
largest tolerated and the forest pretty near the minimum. At any rate, pewees 
are one of the obligate forest species that benefit from selective logging that 
creates forest gaps.


John


From: bounce-122601872-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Suan Yong 

Sent: Monday, May 28, 2018 1:03:39 PM
To: cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Urban pewee

I was surprised to hear an eastern wood-pewee singing in the fall creek 
neighborhood, one block north of the baseball field north of BJM school/GIAC.

Suan
_
Composed by thumb and autocorrect.
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RE: [cayugabirds-l] Pine Warblers persisting

2018-04-20 Thread John Confer
One more in Brooktondale at feeder. Yesterday, I put out meal worm larva and it 
ate three of them in quick succession. Didn’t see it today.

Confer on Hammond Hill

From: bounce-122491820-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-122491820-25065...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Tom Hoebbel
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2018 9:56 AM
To: Cayugabirds 
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Pine Warblers persisting


We now have 2 Pine Warblers in Brooktondale. One or the other has been outside 
our windows every day this week.
Tom



 Thomas Hoebbel Photo~Video
 
www.TH-Photo.com
  607-539-6121


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[cayugabirds-l] Phenomenal feeder and lawns

2018-04-18 Thread John Confer
Yesterday I drove around a bit and saw several flocks of flickers, starting 
with 5 in our front yard. At the end Karen and I saw 21 flickers in one mowed 
lawn. (I don’t even want to report such an implausible number, but we did.)

Today at our feeders:
Newly noted female Pileated (to go along with the fore-mentioned male)
(If your spouse gets excited and waves a hand at the newly arrived female 
Pileated so that it fleas away despite warning not to move, is this 
justification for spousal abuse?)
And the other woodpeckers also
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Chipping
1 Field
2 Song
3 White-throats
8 Tree
~15 Siskin
~20 goldfinch
~25 juncos
2 Purple Finch (House Finch yesterday)
Pine Warbler trying to feed at the turret of a black oil sunflower feeder.
(I scraped some mealworms out of our constant culture and put them on a tray 
for the warbler, but I didn’t see the warbler come down to the tray.)
1 accipiter passing through
1 turkey hen
6 deer

I do sit at the windows with binocs in hand quite a lot.

I don’t think it is good for the birds, especially the Pine Warbler, but I 
still can enjoy it.

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[cayugabirds-l] Great morning chorus including sapsucker

2018-04-13 Thread John Confer
Karen and I were awakened at about 6:00 by a sapsucker drumming outside our 
bedroom.

When I first walked out to feed the birds, my most important morning activity, 
I heard two Pileated Woodpeckers apparently calling to each other within 50 m 
of our house. There have been two flying and calling on our property for the 
last two weeks. The young male (dark brown [not black] primaries and wing 
coverts) has been calling and drumming and feeding at our feeder for a month 
(the first Pileated at our feeder in years).

Yesterday I heard and saw a male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker drumming 
simultaneously about 5 ft. apart at the top of an aspen. First I had ever heard 
them drumming together. They had excavated a hole in this tree last year. It 
broke at that point and the top fell into our yard and across a saw-whet 
banding line. Bob McGuire kindly  chain-sawed the debris. 

Hairy and downy at the feeder, and a pair of red-bellied and now pileated and 
sapsuckers in the yard. Wonderful.

Dwindling numbers of quite vocal goldfinch and siskin and junco and Purple 
Finch. The Fox Sparrow that was singing yesterday may have left last night. 
Tree Sparrows and more calling. 

Just wanted to share a delightful morning.

Besides, in the last two days I have confirmed two Merlin nests, monitored 
incubation at a third, and found the general location of another. 

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[cayugabirds-l] And more finches

2018-04-06 Thread John Confer
I got a notice that this previously failed the fraud test. I'm not sure it went 
out. Sorry if this is a duplicate.


Hi Laura,


   I'm so glad you had a good finch morning. About 5 miles to the southeast, 
we, too, had an abundance of finches. I tried to count the goldfinch by fives 
and got to ~135. We had 2 Pine Siskin that I noted. One and probably two Fox 
Sparrow sang as I fed the birds. Plus, one Purple Finch and two Song Sparrow 
and about a dozen juncos and 4-5 Tree Sparrow at the feeders.


   We have a pair of Red-bellied W. coming in to our suet and recently a 
Pileated has been drummiong and coming to the suet. We hope he succeeds in 
attracting a mate.


   It doesn't feel like spring, bu it sounds like spring.


John and Karen Confer



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Re:[cayugabirds-l] Lots O' FInches- GOFI and SISKINS and more

2018-04-06 Thread John Confer
Hi Laura,


   I'm so glad you had a good finch morning. About 5 miles to the southeast, 
we, too, had an abundance of finches. I tried to count the goldfinch by fives 
and got to ~135. We had 2 Pine Siskin that I noted. One and probably two Fox 
Sparrow sang as I fed the birds. Plus, one Purple Finch and two Song Sparrow 
and about a dozen juncos and 4-5 Tree Sparrow at the feeders.


   We have a pair of Red-bellied W. coming in to our suet and recently a 
Pileated has been drummiong and coming to the suet. We hope he succeeds in 
attracting a mate.


   It doesn't feel like spring, bu it sounds like spring.


John and Karen Confer



From: bounce-122445857-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Laura Stenzler 

Sent: Friday, April 6, 2018 8:54 AM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Lots O' FInches- GOFI and SISKINS


Good morning, We've had alot of goldfinches at the feeders over the past week 
and today the number is close to 100, including 7 PINE SISKINS.  The noise is 
wonderful.

Hunt Hill Rd. Dryden.

Laura


Laura Stenzler
l...@cornell.edu
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[cayugabirds-l] Snowy Owl lingers, +

2018-03-23 Thread John Confer
Karen and I went around the lake for the first time in maybe a year. We had 
three birding goals.

1) Enjoy the waterfowl migration

2) Find a Snowy Owl, FYO for us.

3) Confirm Merlin and nest


1) That was easy.

2) 2 PM, 23 March. SNOW north of airport about 50 m north of Chadwick Rd., and 
about 500 m northeast of the end of the runway. Creamy white bird - beautiful, 
without head marking indicating previous banding. Bird was in some stumps and 
disturbed soil where a fence line of trees was being removed.

3) Thanks to one hint, I found a male Merlin near a prbable nest. The male hung 
around as others have done when I knew thay had an active nest, doing what I 
call "nest guarding". I appreciate input from others. I minimize trips to a 
nest to data collection, and do not share location of nests until eggs have 
hatched and the birds almost certainly will not desert due to humans watching. 
Thanks for the input from several.


John



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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nesting

2018-03-22 Thread John Confer
Information wanted, please.


During the last three years I have monitored Merlin nesting success near 
Ithaca. Results show that Merlin have an unusual relationship with both Fish 
Crow and American Crow in our region, and that nesting success is about 50%.


Many of these nests or areas where Merlin were calling were reported to me by 
birders. I am very grateful for this help. Again this year, if you locate a 
nest or calling Merlin, let me know off-line at confergoldw...@aol.com.


Ca Ca Ca Ca Ca


John

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[cayugabirds-l] Beautiful Fox Sparrow

2018-03-02 Thread John Confer
Digging a hole in the snow to reach the seed below our feeder on Hammond HIll 
Rd.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Raven with nest material

2018-02-12 Thread John Confer
I saw a bird doing some soaring, which distracted my attention from driving 
because it seemed unusual, as if it were in display. As I identified it as a 
raven flying south across Rt. 79 about 0.4 miles west of intersection with 
Flatiron Rd at ~11, Monday, 12 Feb., I was able to see that it had a bunch of 
straw-colored stuff in its beak.

Pretty sure it must be nest building somewhere near intersection of Speed Hill 
and Buffalo Rd. (Alright, why is it called Speed Hill and why is the other 
called Buffalo?)

John Confer



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Re: [cayugabirds-l] 50 goldfinch, no siskins

2018-01-14 Thread John Confer
An hour later, we had about 12 Pine Sisken at our feeder along with the 
goldfinch and then 4 Purple Finch showed up. Perhaps they arrived before today 
but the activity around our feeders may have lured them in around 11:00.


Still, I'll trade nearly the whole lot for one Snowy Owl.


John


From: Sandy Podulka <s...@cornell.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2018 10:50:45 AM
To: John Confer
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] 50 goldfinch, no siskins

Same here--none for a week or two, and now 8 (which we consider a good crowd). 
I'm still looking for a siskin.

At 10:20 AM 1/14/2018, you wrote:

Confer's feeders


We haven't had any goldfinch at our feeder for about a week, until yesterday. A 
few showed up yesterday, but today I counted ~50 on the ground under one of 
three feeders with a few more at each of the other feeders.


Gladly trade 25 American Goldfinch for one Pine Siskin, or 50 American 
Goldfinch for a Snowy Owl.


John Confer






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[cayugabirds-l] 50 goldfinch, no siskins

2018-01-14 Thread John Confer
Confer's feeders


We haven't had any goldfinch at our feeder for about a week, until yesterday. A 
few showed up yesterday, but today I counted ~50 on the ground under one of 
three feeders with a few more at each of the other feeders.


Gladly trade 25 American Goldfinch for one Pine Siskin, or 50 American 
Goldfinch for a Snowy Owl.


John Confer






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[cayugabirds-l] Owling - Christmas Bird Count

2017-12-29 Thread John Confer
Hi Folks,


I hope to be albe to do a similar owl survey in the wee hours of Jan 1 as I 
have in the past. Glad to have some one join me at 4:00 at the ButtermilFalls 
State Park parking lot off Kig Rd. just upstream from where it crosses the 
creek. BE SUE TO LET MEKNOW AT con...@ithaca.edu SO i WILL WAIT A FEW MINUTES 
FOR YOU.


ButterilkFalls St Pk at parking lot and around King RD.

Lick Brook, Town Line Rd., E. Jersey Hill Rd -all areas I scouted a few 
days ago.


 i WOULD BE GLAD TO SHaRE PART OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS IF SOMEoNe ELSE WANTS TO  
PART OF THIS

Sand Bank Rd.

Murial Ave. and nearby woodlots.


(By the way, my keyboard is sticking. My typing may be bad, but not this bad.)


Hoot, hoot,


Johnj


Company would be fine in case I go into hypothermia nd need to be rescued.


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[cayugabirds-l] Seminar on migration by David Lapuma

2017-11-20 Thread John Confer
FYI

David LaPuma, Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, is giving a seminar 
entitled "Keeping our finger on the pulse of migration for the last 40 years". 
Biology Department, Ithaca College
7 December, 4:00, refreshments prior, ground floor lobby
Of Center for Natural Science, Rm 112
All are welcome. 
Among a large number of activities, David is noted for his analyses of radar 
images related to nocturnal migration. But I know he can't have been doing this 
for 40 years, because he is one of my former students, or am I really that old?

John Confer



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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Field Trip Sunday

2017-09-09 Thread John Confer
Have a great trip.


John


From: bounce-121806112-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of bob mcguire 

Sent: Friday, September 8, 2017 5:21:44 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Field Trip Sunday

I will lead a trip up the lake on Sunday. Meet at 7:30 in the parking area, 
east side of Stewart Park to car pool. This will be an all-day trip, getting 
back to Ithaca late in the afternoon.

I expect to visit several of the lakeside spots (east side) to check for newly 
arrived shorebirds and ducks, then explore the Montezuma refuge and some of the 
DEC hotspots to the north of there.

Bring snacks and lunch (if you wish). I do plan a stop to buy lunch either at 
the gas station on rts 5 & 20 or in Savannah.

Bob McGuire
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[cayugabirds-l] Egret along Thomas Rd.

2017-08-27 Thread John Confer
Without binocs, I thought the egret was American. In larger beaver pond near 
southern end of Thomas Rd.


John

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RE:[cayugabirds-l] FW: New post published Meeting on Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Plan

2017-08-18 Thread John Confer
HI Dave,

It still surprises me that even among environmentalists, biodiversity is 
still a matter of contention. There are ecological reasons to support 
biodiversity, often thought to enhance the mega goal of biostability.

The Young Forest Initiative is intended to increase biodiversity. I love 
diversity of species from Monarch Butterflies and Field Sparrows to Wood 
Thrush. You couldn’t see the former two species walking in a totally forested 
habitat. Although the YFI is a new program, it comes from an increased 
awareness that forests alone only support a fraction of New York’s wildlife, 
and that to fulfill the older state mandate for biodiversity requires a 
diversity of habitats. I think that cutting 10% of the forest in ten years 
provides a reasonable balance of different habitats.

I know that in the Hammond Hill management, areas of old, mature forest were 
designated to be left alone, and that areas with high ecological value as they 
were, such as areas with high concentration of orchids, were left alone.  
Cutting was assigned to areas of younger forests and those portions of the 
forest where the current tree species would encourage rapid regeneration. Oaks 
provide an especially valuable food source for wildlife and food chains that 
start with eating an acorn. In locations where they occur,  Goshawk and Timber 
Rattlesnakes obtain a major food source from chipmunks in years of chipmunk 
eruption following acorn mast years. Blue Jays, Red-headed Woodpeckers and 
Red-bellied Woodpeckers, deer, bear, owls, and far more species are enhanced by 
oaks and their acorns. Oaks regenerate in areas with at least 30% full 
sunshine.  For Hammond Hill, some of the areas with selective cutting were 
designed to leave some mature oaks to provide a seed source.

You mention creation of 100 acres of meadow as part of the list of reasons you 
oppose the management plan. Across New York grassland species are declining. 
Given the 11,000 acres of Connectiuct Hill, where else would it be more 
appropriate for the state help declining grassland species. Many grassland 
species are area-sensitive. They simple do not nest in anything but large 
patches of grassland. 10 10-acre patches of grassland will support practically 
no grassland species. One 100 acre grassland might well support grassland 
species, even Bobolinks, and meadowlarks and courtship grounds for woodcock.

I love to walk through grasslands and shrubby fields and young forests as well 
as mature, old forests. Looking/listening for early successional species can 
provide real pleasure. In addition to personal pleasure, enhanced biodiversity 
is widely supported for ecological stability and by many hunting groups. Across 
New York grasslands and early succession habitat is declining as are the 
animals that depend on such habitat. As part of many examples, the National 
Turkey Foundation endorses clear cuts as they provide food for young turkey. 
Deer populations are enhanced by feeding in winter in recent clear cuts. For 
Hammond Hill, local residents who are long time deer hunters complain about the 
decline of deer in Hammond Hill State Forest as the early successional fields 
have succeeded into older forest. I know from personal experience that we once 
routinely saw  several Ruffed Grouse visiting our yard at once (and we live 
contiguous to Hammond Hill State Forest). Ruffed Grouse feed primarily on aspen 
buds in winter and their population has locally declined as forests have 
matured and aspen have declined. Truly, forest management that provides 10% of 
the land in early succession would do much to enhance biodiversity, including 
species that have much appeal for non-hunters and hunters alike.

As far as I can tell your reasons for opposing such forest management is that 
it would alter what you are accustomed to seeing and that it would add a 
campground. Adding a campground to increase public enjoyment of state forests 
is not my personal priority, but I am willing to accept it in appropriate 
locations as a reasonable use of forest land owned and managed by the state for 
wildlife and human use. I suggest your appreciation of wildlife and natural 
habitats could be enhanced by accepting different ecosystems as an addition and 
not a loss.

By the way, I think I have said more than enough on this topic. I will not 
respond further.

Best wishes,

John

From: Dave Gislason [mailto:dgif...@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:32 PM
To: John Confer <con...@ithaca.edu>; CAYUGABIRDS-L 
<cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: FW: New post published Meeting on Connecticut Hill Wildlife 
Management Plan

I respect that you obviously have much more experience and knowledge in this 
area, and that maybe in the long term it is good and necessary, and everything 
will be alright. But, this is a huge project that over the 10 years will 
greatly change the experience of this 11, 237 acres of land.  The State 
pro

[cayugabirds-l] FW: New post published Meeting on Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Plan

2017-08-16 Thread John Confer
The DEC periodically updates management plans for each forest unit. I don’t 
know the details of Connecticut Hill, but I did become involved with the 
Hammond Hill plans. I met with DEC personnel to suggest some alterations in 
their plans for successional habitat. On balance I strongly support them. The 
intention is to create habitat that supports a greater diversity of wildlife. 
In particular, for Hammond Hill State Forest there is a conscious attempt to 
create more early succession habitat by forest cutting. The background is that 
in New York most forest species are increasing while most successional species 
are declining. Even so called forest species frequently use or even require 
successional habitat for part of the annual diet. Bear fatten on berries, 
turkey feed their poults on seeds of successional plants, tanagers feed on 
berries, and deer browse on small woody stems as an important and perhaps 
critical winter food. etc. Of course, early successional habitat supports a 
variety of early successional species, but it also provides forage for deer and 
many other forest species for parts of their annual life. I offer these 
thoughts after 35 years of research on successional species. I wouldn’t throw 
out the baby with the bath water on this effort.

John Confer

From: bounce-121728155-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-121728155-25065...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Dave Gislason
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:11 PM
To: Martha Fischer <m...@cornell.edu>; CAYUGABIRDS-L 
<cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] FW: New post published Meeting on Connecticut Hill 
Wildlife Management Plan

They're just telling us about this now, but they've been working at it for a 
couple of years at least. Living close by, I've seen 3 areas turned into YFIs 
(one a camping area), and 3 areas of clear-cutting. There other areas with the 
telltale Blue paint marks indicating "treatments" to come. I would say that 
communication with the public has been quite poor so far. Only recently did 
they construct a couple of message boards with a flyer on the Young forest 
Initiatives -after they had cut down many trees. Maybe they've been barraged 
with questions and/or complaints.



On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 9:03:46 AM EDT, Martha Fischer 
<m...@cornell.edu<mailto:m...@cornell.edu>> wrote:


Here’s an FYI…

There's a new post at TownOfEnfield.org. Meeting on Connecticut Hill Wildlife 
Management Plan
Meeting on Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Plan
Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Newfield Fire Dept., 77 Main St. Newfield, NY
NYSDEC will host an open house to provide information on a recently finalized 
habitat management plan for Connecticut hill Wildlife Management Area located 
in the Towns of Catherine, Cayuta and Hector, ...
You may view the latest post at 
http://townofenfield.org/meeting-on-connecticut-hill-wildlife-management-plan/
You received this e-mail because you asked to be notified when new updates are 
posted.

Thank you.
Town of Enfield


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin Nesting 2017: brief and nest by nest

2017-07-27 Thread John Confer
 SYNOPSIS OF Merlin nesting success in 2017 in the  Finger Lakes region and 
nearby.
This summary of Merlin nesting success is only possible because of reports from 
others who let me know of the location for nesting behavior they noted first,  
and in one case continued to monitor the nest. Thanks so much.
For 2017, 5 of 7 monitored nests fledged young. In the previous 2 years, only 7 
of 14 nests fledged young. The sample size remains small, but even the higher 
nest success rate this year is much lower than other studies and may not be 
high enough to sustain our population without emigration from more successful 
areas. I did not have the time (or perhaps energy) to monitor the nests 
frequently enough to determine the number fledged per nest. Perhaps help next 
year would yield more complete data.
NEST BY NEST SPECIFICS
N. Titus Rd. Nest in 2015 discovered by Ken Humphreys, was in top of 1 of 2 
tall White Pine and fledged 4 or 5 young. In 2016 a pair nested in a White Pine 
less than 100 m distant in nest stolen from Fish Crow, but failed. In 2017 
Merlin stole Fish Crow nest in the other of the two tall White Pine. Nest was 
destroyed by major wind storm. This could be the same pair for 3 years, or at 
least 1 bird from the same pair. For 2 adults to fledge only 4 young in 3 years 
is very low nesting success.
Lake Rd Dryden, NY. Courting pair first reported by Fred Rimmel. Fledged at 
least 2 young in 2017. This nest is was in a spruce tree and was about 450 m 
from successful nest in a spruce tree last year on Kimberly Rd. It seems 
probably that 1 or both of the pair for this year came from the pair last year.
City Cemetery. Nesting activity first reported by Andy Zepp. This nest in a 
White Pine failed as did 2 other nests in the City Cemetery in preceding years. 
I wonder if there could be a resident Great Horned Owl that eats Merlins or 
Merlin eggs.
Tioga Point Cemetery. Nesting activity reported by Bill Howe. Bill is retired 
from a career of working with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Some may remember 
his name from his undergrad years at Cornell. This nest fledged young from a 
nest in a spruce tree. This large cemetery had Am. Crow, Fish Crow and Merlin. 
It seems unusual to have all three species hanging out in the same location.
Maplewood Rd. Crow monitoring crew first reported this Merlin pair as they 
stole a nest built this year by American Crow. (While the Merlin-watching 
people appreciate the service provided to Merlins by crows, it is not clear the 
feeling is reciprocated by crow-watchers:).) This nest in a spruce tree fledged 
young, probably four. This was the most flimsy, tiny nest I have observed used 
by Merlin. Over-topping branches covered only about 10% of the nest from 
passing predators, such as Red-tailed Hawks. I didn't think it could make it, 
but it did.
Etna, NY. Courtship behavior, i.e., calls, reported by Chris Hynes. The nest in 
a spruce tree fledged 4 young. It took me about 4 trips to find where the birds 
were nesting, which can usually be found in 1 or 2 trips to an area with 
courting birds.
Endicott, NY. Nest reported and monitored by Mike Jordan. Apparently fledged 
several young.
Merlin are one of the few species, the only species I know, that has expended 
into NY from the North in the last 30 years. It's progress into PA and its 
nesting success are intriguing to follow. All nest I have heard about are in a 
decidedly urban location. All nests are in conifers planted perhaps 50-100 
years ago. All nests were built by crows, as far as we can tell. Many of them 
have been stolen from crows in the spring that the crows built them. 
Fascinating. Thanks for your help and interest. Hopefully we can do this again 
next year.


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin misfortune

2017-06-27 Thread John Confer
Perhaps you, too, had a major wind storm Sunday night. Two of the nests I have 
been monitoring were in the tip top of tall conifer trees. I had the concern 
that the severe wind could have destroyed a nest, particularly the two nests in 
the tip top.

Shortly after I arrived at the nest between Sycamore Dr. and Maplewood Drive, 
the male called as he brought food in. The female responded and left the nest 
for the food exchange. In a few minutes the female, after decapitating the prey 
and removing a wing or two, which makes identification of the prey difficult,  
took the prey up to the nest and fed four nestlings. Nice.

The nest on North Titus was in the terminal part of a very tall White Pine. The 
terminal branch had broken off earlier and the nest was placed between three 
lateral branches and exposed 100% to the sky. It was immediately evident that 
one of the lateral branches was broken, and the nest was largely dismantled. 
After courtship and displacing a family of Fish Crow that built the nest, and 
after laying ~4 eggs (~5-7 days), and after 30 days of incubation, and after 
about 25 days of protecting and feeding the young, and about 4-6 days before 
fledging the nest was destroyed. It is hard being a Merlin. It is also hard 
being a Merlin nest monitor.

By the way, the Merlin nest with the newly constructed swimming pool on Lake 
Rd. in Dryden is still feeding young. I was able to show the home owners and 
their three kids the nestling Sunday morning. This nest is not near the top of 
the nest tree, a spruce, and I think it is likely it managed to survive the 
storm.

Still ,5 of 7 nests I have been monitoring have young, by last check. Keep your 
fingers crossed.

John


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nests

2017-06-08 Thread John Confer
One persistent pair of Merlins!

One of the nests I am monitoring is likely by a pair that successfully raised 5 
young last year in a nest about 400 m from the current nest. The current nest 
is in the back yard of a family with three, young kids. Two days ago, I walked 
up to check on the nest and found that the land owners were gone. However, a 
new raised swimming pool had been installed about 15 m from the base of the 
nest tree and a tree frequently used by the pair was cut down, which provided 
more sunlight for the pool. I was sure that the birds would have abandon the 
nest. But, there they were. The male called as he brought in food and the 
female responded. Amazing.
So far, four of the five nests I am monitoring this year are still active. 
Young should be hatching about this week. Previously most failures of a nest 
occurred by this stage in the nesting cycle. So, I am hopeful for a better year 
this year than the last two years.

As eggs hatch and nestlings become noisy and demand frequent feeding, the 
adults become conspicuous. I don't know if any nest has nestlings yet because I 
don't get to every nest every day, but there will be young soon. By the way, if 
anyone finds a Merlin nest location, I would love to know about it off 
cayugabirds at con...@ithaca.edu, thanks.

Kak, Kak, Kak, Kak,
John


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[cayugabirds-l] How many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks?

2017-05-02 Thread John Confer
I have suspected that the red pattern and the variation in black-to-brown 
coloration on the wings made many individual Rose-breasted Grosbeaks 
distinguishable. This year I decided to try to take digital images of every 
RBGR that I saw that perched on the feeder at a position so that I could 
photograph its front and, if possible, also its side. So far I've downloaded 
sets of images for 10 RBGR that perched appropriately. After 
examining/comparing the images of the first 10 birds, 9 of them were distinctly 
different individuals. We only saw two males at a time so without a photo album 
I would have only counted 2 males, plus two females also. I'm still making my 
photo album of them, and repeats are still uncommon. Who knows how many it will 
add up to.

Fun with birds.

John



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[cayugabirds-l] Red-tail incubating

2017-04-15 Thread John Confer
The red-tail is in a nest near the top of tall White Pine in East Lawn 
Cemetery, about 100 m north of the nearest edge of hawthorn orchard, and about 
40 m up main entrance into cemetery from MItchell Rd.


I walked through the area because of a Merlin nest two years ago, and hoping 
for another. Now that there is a nesting red-tail, I'm pretty sure that the 
red-tail would eat the Merlin, particularly a bird on the nest while 
incubating, and that there would never be a Merlin nest there.


Win some, loose some.


Good birding


PS. This morning I saw a Red-shafted Flicker in the City Cemetery (west of 
North Campus) near the center from east to west but on the southern edge. 
Probably a migrant, but it could stay around for a while. Incidentally, I 
didn't hear/see a Merlin although Andy Zepp has been hearing one in that 
location.

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin - Help please

2017-03-29 Thread John Confer
As many of you know, I have been following the nest success of local Merlins 
for the last two years. Thanks in large part to reports from subscribers to 
this list serve, I have been able monitor nesting success of 14 nests, which 
had about 50% nesting success. Great fun, and good information. I have provided 
summaries of the nest success to the list serve. I would like to do that again 
this year. If you know of any probable nesting area, would you please let me 
know of the location as precisely as you can, off-list at 
con...@ithaca.edu<mailto:con...@ithaca.edu>.

Thanks,

John Confer
W) 274-3978
H)  539-6308

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[cayugabirds-l] Cayuga Bird Club Owl Prowl

2017-03-20 Thread John Confer
Cayuga Bird Club Field Trip. All are welcome.
Shush! OWL PROWL. Sun, 26 March, 7:00-~9:30.
Meet at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Parking Lot
Weather Forecast: Temp. dropping toward freezing, light rain possible. Dress in 
winter-weather clothes. We'll drive to several locations, and use owl 
playbacks. This will give us a chance to get a response from a couple of the 
fairly easy to hear species as well as a couple of the less common species. 
But, reality is that we will do well if we get two species, although one of our 
stops has had a saw-whet respond on two occasion in recent weeks. North Wood 
Rd., Star Stanton Hill, Park Preserve are on our list of stops. Since owls get 
tired of hearing tapes and don't respond a multiple of times, please don't test 
these sites for owl in the preceding week, thanks. John Confer


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Feeder birds

2017-03-15 Thread John Confer
On southern end of Hammond Hill, four Fox Sparrow seen at once at our feeder, 
but no White-throats nor Song. Several dozen junco, but fewer goldfinch than in 
recent past. Over 100 b'birds: mostly red-wings, several grackles, 1 cowbird, 
and a few starlings


Sitting at the window in this weather beats going out to watch starving birds.


John



From: bounce-121336216-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Peter 

Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:11 PM
To: Dave Nutter; CayugaBirds-L b
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Feeder birds

I have a song sparrow as well Dave.along with 2 white throats (of
different flavors) along with lots of blackbirds (red wings, grackles,
starlings) and a female cardinal eating suet!!

Stay warm all. Can Spring be far away?
Pete Sar


On 3/14/2017 10:30 PM, Dave Nutter wrote:
> I, too, did some feeder-watching this afternoon. I was hoping for a Fox 
> Sparrow, a species which I saw in my yard a few years back during a late 
> heavy snowstorm. My hopes were raised briefly by what turned out to be a Song 
> Sparrow, which eventually fed on a suet/seed block, a behavior I hadn't seen 
> before. I guess that bird must innovate to stay fed.
>
> I also saw an Icterid which I expected to be a local Red-winged Blackbird, 
> since they have been in the area and even sung from my yard, where they nest. 
> Instead it turned out to be a Rusty Blackbird, a new species for my yard, 
> although there is a bit of woods and wetland adjacent. I think it was 
> visiting feeders at my neighbor's.
>
> --Dave Nutter
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[cayugabirds-l] Rusty Blackbird

2017-03-10 Thread John Confer

A single Rusty Blackbird among red-wings, grackles and starlings yesterday; 
3/09. I haven't noted before the distinctive "prancing" steps of Rusty as this 
bird showed.

Today, a foxy Fox Sparrow dug a fox hole in a slight layer of snow.

Cheers,

John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] HHOWLS banding summary

2016-12-14 Thread John Confer
Hammond Hill Owls (HHOWLS) 2016 tally (south end of Hammond Hill 2.2 miles east 
of Slaterville Springs):
This year HHOWLS captured 121 individual Northern Saw-whet Owls, exceeding the 
previous high by 19 birds. We tried to capture owls on only 15 nights, fewer 
than in other years. On several nights we had very high capture rates, and we 
didn't get skunked on any night. We caught two foreign recaptures: one banded 
by John and Sue Gregoire near Watkins Glen last year, and one banded this year 
about 200 miles north of us. We caught two of our birds: one banded last year 
and one from three years ago. The age distribution was 58% hatch year birds, 
19% second year birds, 21% after second year. Banding records show that the 
proportion of hatch year birds is considerably higher for most very good years. 
Analyses of blood samples for parasites are incomplete. Preliminary analyses 
suggest our birds have less than a 50% incidence of parasitism. Our birds, 
which come primarily from Ontario, have a lower incidence than surveys taken 
with birds to the east and to the west of us. Over 30 individuals helped with 
the banding. The results and the great pleasure of banding depends on these 
incredible participants. THANKS SO VERY MUCH. John and Karen Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] CBC owlers with good ears

2016-12-14 Thread John Confer
HI Folks,

I have this fascination with owls and I believe I have gone out on some 60 
Christmas Counts in pre-dawn hours looking/listening for them. I find that my 
hearing isn't as good as it once was and I can't hear owls that are calling 
from as great a distance as I once could. I would enjoy some company, with 
individuals either with or without great hearing.

   I don't want to take any owls from the route/back yard of someone else. I 
hope to do the area roughly bounded by 96B,King Rd-Yaple Rd. and Rt 96 
including the lower portion of Treman St. Pk. Please let me know if you would 
like to do part of this area on your own, or if you are unsure of potential 
overlap with any area for owling that you would like to do.

   I would like to start at 4:15 in the parking lot for Buttermilk St. Pk. 
Adjacent to King Rd. Now I know there may be hundreds who would like to join me 
at this hour, but owling has to be limited to a small group. So, do hurry and 
make your reservations.

John Confer

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Screech-Owl in Caroline now

2016-12-13 Thread John Confer
I drive by the Slaterville Dandy store, and often get a coffee. I always look 
for the screech owl. I haven't seen it yet this season. However, as I left the 
store a few days ago there was a flock of calling and apparently agitated 
titmice flying around the hole and seeming to peer in it. I didn't see the owl, 
but I bet the titmice did.


John Confer


From: bounce-121080741-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
<bounce-121080741-25065...@list.cornell.edu> on behalf of Anne Marie Johnson 
<annemariejohn...@frontiernet.net>
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 10:57:45 AM
To: Cayuga Birds
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Screech-Owl in Caroline now

I finally saw the Eastern Screech-Owl for myself. I left it 5 minutes ago
sitting in the tree cavity behind the Dandy Mart in Slaterville Springs.

Anne Marie Johnson

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[cayugabirds-l] Niagara 26 Nov-few gulls - BUT!~

2016-11-28 Thread John Confer

We visited with some Canadian friends at Niagara over t-day. In two trips past 
the Adam Beck Power Generating Facility, the roof over the outflow didn't have 
a single gull, which was sort of typical of our gull luck. Better luck for the 
CBC trip.

On packing the car in the rear parking lot of the Imperial Hotel and Suites on 
Victoria Ave., a falcon called overhead repeatedly. Without binocs, I could 
clearly see it was a heavily streaked, medium to small falcon, calling like a 
Merlin and almost certainly the size of a Merlin. It was diving at another 
raptor perched on the edge of the roof. After the Merlin quit its diving passes 
and left, I dove into the car to retrieve binocs packed under the seat and got 
perhaps 2 seconds view of the larger raptor. It had heavy streaking on the 
breast and sideburns, which at least is compatible with reports of two nesting 
pair of Peregrines in the gorge area.  I dove back into the car to remove 
luggage from the trunk to get to the scope and when attached and pointed where 
the P. Falcon had been, it was gone. However, 3-4 crows dove several times at a 
location a few feet back from the precipice where the P Falcon had been. I have 
to wonder what got the Merlin and crows excited. Probably something involving a 
kill, maybe kleptoparasitism by the Peregrine from the Merlin, which others 
have reported, or maybe a kill by the Peregrine. 
After a wonderful visit with friends, but poor number and diversity of 
gulls, Karen and I found this a very satisfying end to a very pleasant trip.

But, more to come!!! 

We crossed at Rainbow Bridge and went south on Niagara Scenic Parkway. At the 
waterfowl viewing pull-off, we, or course, pulled over. Exactly on schedule for 
us,  I was astounded to see 4 Harlequin Ducks fly by the viewing area. They 
landed briefly at one end of the viewing area, allowing me to get the scope, 
which was already unpacked in order to scan the considerable number and 
diversity of waterfowl at the viewing area, centered on two of them and then 
they flew by again this time going upstream to the upper portion of the viewing 
area. I was mesmerized by watching the adult, definitive plumage of the leading 
two males. I barely scanned the trailing two when they first flew by. When they 
returned, the trailing two were far enough apart that they could not be seen in 
the same field of view and seeing them in the binocs would have required 
loosing visual contact with the leading two males. The first viewing of the 
birds gave me literally a fraction of a second to see all four together and I 
thought they were all adult males. What incredible plumage, and luck. Merlin, 
Peregrine, and then four Harlequin, all after we were done birding and had 
packed our gear.

Sharing the never ending pleasures of birding,

John and Karen

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[cayugabirds-l] Assisting banding saw-whets

2016-09-08 Thread John Confer
Don't get me wrong, I love warblers. But, tired of trying to see if the bottom 
of the foot of a warbler in the top of a fully-leafed tree is flesh colored or 
dark. Shorebirds, too, are really great. But, tired of trying to see if the 
beak is straight or slightly down-curved when the bird itself is so far away 
you can barely see it?
How would you like to see a bird so close that you have to use your reading 
glasses? Consider assisting a banding project for migratory Northern Saw-whet 
Owls. Banding will extend from 2 October to 13 November on nights with suitable 
weather. This spans 8 weeks, but suitable weather occurs on about 6 out of 8 
nights. Participants might come out on the same night of the week, or about 6 
nights out of the 8 weeks.  Please contact John Confer at 
con...@ithaca.edu<mailto:con...@ithaca.edu> for further information.

Hoot,

John


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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nesting update

2016-06-16 Thread John Confer
Not good news, overall, for Merlin nests.


The Titus Ave. nest, and the Dryden nest, and the City Cemetery nest have all 
failed. I saw red-tails in the vicinity of two of the nests. The sticks in two 
of the nests were dis-assembled, allowing light to penetrate where it had been 
opaque, suggesting a struggle with a predator.


The Wells College nest, the Christopher Lane nest, and now maybe, perhaps the 
new Congregational Church nest, may still be active. I never located the 
possible nest near Freeze Rd. despite 4 trips of over an hour each from 
~6:30-7:30. Darn. Thanks for the input!


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nests including Wells C.

2016-05-25 Thread John Confer
It is a ittle premature to count my eggs before they hatch, but ... .


Last year at this time 2 of seven Merlin nests in our area had failed, probably 
predation.


This year 5 of 5 are still going strong, including the easily accessed nest in 
the top of a white Pine on South Titus St. behind Meadow Court Lodge. This can 
be watched from your car without disturbing the pair, which are already exposed 
to lots of human activity. The first eggs of any nest will probably hatch in a 
little more than a week.


I found the Wells College nest thanks to someone who said they had heard a 
Merlin on campus, which was passed on to me, which inspired me to spend a 
pleasant half hour walking around the campus. It is about an hour drive one way 
for me, which is a little hard for monitoring survival a couple times a week, 
or better even monitoring prey brought to the nest.


I am trying to determine Merlin nesting success in urban areas near Ithaca, and 
the prey species brought to the nest. Anyone interested in monitoring that nest?


Ki KI KI KI


John Confer 274-3978



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[cayugabirds-l] (Released?) quail in yard.

2016-05-07 Thread John Confer
In the last 10 days Karen and I heard a quail once and several days later saw 
it once at our feeder. Given the many hours we watch, it does not make many 
visits to our feeder or we would have seen it more often. We live on the south 
end of Hammond Hill. I wonder if anyone knows who may have reared and released 
the bird near us? I think Steve Kress did this some time ago, but his house is 
nearly 4 miles from our house. Just curious.


John Confer


PS Since I'm virtually certain this is a released bird, I didn't add it to our 
yard list.

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[cayugabirds-l] Incubating Merlin - S Titus Ave

2016-05-07 Thread John Confer
A pair of Merlins are incubating in White Pine on South Titus AVe. The nest and 
the favorite plucking tree = sentinel tree are easily seen from public land, 
particularily the dike along Six-mile Creek (beware of dog poop). The nest is 
in the western-most block of S. Titus Ave., behind Meadow Court on south side 
of road.


The nest was built this year by a quartet of Fish Crow.


Respect private property, please.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Incubating Dryden Merlin - fairly photogenic

2016-05-06 Thread John Confer
I watched this nest in the evening of 5 May and the female was not incubating. 
This morning, 6 May,  she was. When she came into the nest and sat down on it, 
she was totally invisible: big, deep nest with a angle of vision that looks up. 
Once incubation starts, I think the Merlins don't care at all about minor 
disturbance due to human presence.


Male brought in Red-winged Blackbird at 8:30. He called, ate part of it in 
spruce snag, flew by nest with remains, landed in alternative plucking tree, 
called again, flew by nest back to spruce snag and dropped prey. Female got off 
the nest and flew to spruce snag, and after 5 minutes she went back to nest. My 
interpretation is that male had already brought breakfast for her, usually 
around 7:00, and that this was his breakfast that he offered to share but she 
wasn't interested. Nice guy, huh.


In Dryden, at intersection of Mill St and Recreation Trail:

Plucking perches:

1. dead spruce snag on Mill St. near auto bridge over creek and

2. across old railroad bridge now Recreatinal Trail foot bridge going westward 
about 30 m past end of bridge on south side of trail.

Nest:

In second of two spruce on north side of trail and west end of bridge, between 
two favored plucking perches. Doesn't look like much.


John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] McLean Merlin nest - help.

2016-05-02 Thread John Confer
A friend told me of twice seeing a Merlin in McLean. I went out this morning, 
got out of the car, walked 100 m and heard/saw a Merlin. I watched it for an 
hour until the rain got hard.


The Merlin flew within the triangle formed by Elm Tree Inn at the apex, and Rts 
104 and 180 and Cemetery Lane, closer to 180 than 104. It flew up to the 
southern edge of the cemetery. I guess the nest is very near this area. But, I 
haven't found it and can't monitor the survival and prey brought to the female 
and nestlings unless I do.


Any help would be appreciated. The male usually brings breakfast to the 
incubating female some time between 6:30 and 7:30.


Thanks,


John Confer

con...@ithaca.edu, confergoldw...@aol.com

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nest - City Cemetery

2016-04-30 Thread John Confer
There is an incubating Merlin in the City Cemetery. From east to west, it is in 
about the middle. From north to south it is in the northern half. It is in the 
more northern of a pair of very tall White Pine. Neither the nest, nor the 
frequently used plucking post in adjacent, tall spruce can be seen from 
underneath the tree. They are visible as far as I can tell only from the 
northern side of the cemetery. Incubation began yesterday or the day before, 
and if successful the eggs should hatch in 26-28 days.


Any observations sent to con...@ithaca.edu would be appreciated.


John

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin nests

2016-04-28 Thread John Confer

I am again this year trying to monitor nest location, nesting success, and prey 
brought to nests by Merlin. Last year thanks to the help of many on the 
listserve, I, Mark Witmer, Madeline Ulinski, Ann Herzig, and Sam Ayers reported 
on 7 regional nests  in the article "NESTING MERLINS (Falco columbarius) IN AND 
NEAR ITHACA, NEW YORK, 2015" in the September issue of The Kingbird. Our sample 
of 7 nests was interesting to find for the Ithaca area, but is not 
statistically very meaningful.

So far this year, with help from several people, particularly the crow people, 
I have located five nests or nesting areas. As of this morning, I watched three 
females sitting near a nest and occasionally flying up to the probable nest, 
but not sitting on the nest for a prolonged time. The male and female drive 
other birds and squirrels away, perhaps because the female has laid an 
incomplete clutch and they are trying to protect the eggs prior to incubation. 
I am reluctant to share these nest locations until the female starts prolonged 
sitting on the nest, indicative of a complete clutch and a high probability of 
staying on the nest, which greatly decreases the probability of abandoning the 
nest area. When incubation starts, I will be glad to share these locations of 
the nests of these attractive and photogenic birds then. Last year, the 
earliest known incubation was on 4 May. The tally of five nests includes a 
report of Merlin on Wells College campus, as last year. I don't have time to 
get up there to monitor that nest. Any takers?

In the mean time, I am trying to add to that small sample again this year. Any 
reports of the location of nesting behavior by Merlins would be appreciated. 

Kee kee kee kee kee

John Confer
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Re:[cayugabirds-l] Fields

2016-03-18 Thread John Confer
I have published over a dozen 10 professional articles on shrublands, including 
extensive surveys of birds nesting in different stages of early succession from 
abandoned field up to sapling forest. I have had several grants about 
management for Golden-winged Warblers and I am going to a conference on 
shrubland management for GW this weekend. This is my thing.


I'll try to be brief. There is no one-stage-of-succession or 
frequency-of-mowing that is best for all bird species. Some species like fields 
with practically no woody stems and others like over 75% cover by woody plants 
(Confer, J. L. and S. M. Pascoe. 2003. “The avian community on utility 
rights-of-ways and other managed shrublands in northeastern United States”. 
Forest Ecology and Management  85:193-206.). Hay fields might best be mowed in 
mid-July allowing second broods of, e.g,  meadowlark and bobolinks, a chance to 
fledge and allowing grasses to produce seed heads that might feed winter birds, 
or even mice and then raptors. My surveys in the Finger Lakes National Forest 
showed that maximum diversity of shrubland birds is probably obtained at about 
50% cover by vegetation growing from woody stems. Mowing a field cuts woody 
stems, but usually does not kill them. This leads to regrowth from the 
established roots of woody stems making the field gradually more woody, and 
less herbaceous. In time, perhaps 20 years, a repeatedly mowed field is all 
woody stems. At this point an occasional plowing that allows reestablishment of 
herbaceous plants is good. There are some grassland species that won't nest 
unless the acreage is really large. On the other hand, there are some shrubland 
species that use or even like or require forest edge and 5 acres is quite fine, 
depending on the vegetation growing on the perimeter.


John Confer





From: bounce-120273450-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
<bounce-120273450-25065...@list.cornell.edu> on behalf of Michele Emerick Brown 
<m...@cornell.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:14 PM
To: Michael O. Engle; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Fields


The mowing information/resource is very interesting. It seems to be directed to 
people with 15 acres or more. I have a 5 acre field that used to be in hay, but 
which is slowly going to scrub (right now it’s mainly goldenrod) because we 
stopped having it cut. Could someone direct me to information to help me figure 
out what would be best for birds? Should I get it cut, leave it alone, plant it 
with something else? I think Red-winged blackbirds usually nest in it.



I live out in Caroline so there are a lot of other fields being rotated between 
corn and hay.



Thanks,

Michele



From: bounce-120268837-3493...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-120268837-3493...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Michael O. Engle
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 4:03 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L <cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>
Subject: RE:[cayugabirds-l] help determining the time to mow fields



I’m fine with the discussion taking place on the list. I think it would be 
good, in the end, if one person could work directly with the livestock guy I 
talked with to advise/train/support him over time. It’s certainly a useful kind 
of knowledge for livestock producers who manage fields for hay. I wonder if the 
county extension folks are a useful resource to help out and provide support 
with this topic.



Michael



+

Michael Engle,

Reference and Instruction Librarian

Selector, Olin/Uris Reference and Anglo-American News

106 Olin Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Email: m...@cornell.edu<mailto:m...@cornell.edu>; Telephone: (607) 255-1884



From: Donna Lee Scott
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 3:39 PM
To: Michael O. Engle <m...@cornell.edu<mailto:m...@cornell.edu>>; CAYUGABIRDS-L 
<cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu<mailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>>
Subject: RE: help determining the time to mow fields



While I can understand why Michael wants to keep the conversation with the 
livestock person off the list, I think it would benefit many of us if we knew 
what are the recommendations are for when is the best time to mow hay or grass 
fields with regard to protecting nesting grassland birds and their offspring.



I would like this information to be posted on the list.

I often toy with the idea of trying to convince some local landowners here in 
Lansing to mow large grass expanses in later summer, but I don’t know what the 
cut-off date is.



Donna L. Scott

Lansing Station Road

Lansing, NY



From: 
bounce-120268126-15001...@list.cornell.edu<mailto:bounce-120268126-15001...@list.cornell.edu>
 [mailto:bounce-120268126-15001...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Michael O. 
Engle
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 2:24 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L 
<cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu<mailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>>
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] help determining th

[cayugabirds-l] Saturday CBC field trip

2016-03-07 Thread John Confer
Bob Horn, Ruth Yarrow, Susan Soboroff, Jae Sullivan-Whey (if I have that 
correct) had a very enjoyable trip around the lake on Saturday. I did some 
scouting up the the lock on Friday. Every place that was good on Friday iced 
over during the night and the waterfowl were way out there. So much for the 
close looks at Ruddy Duck and numerous other species seen on Friday. By the 
way, there were several Fish Crow near the tip of Farley's Point on Friday, and 
during Saturday we had a pair of Raven fly over near Twin Oaks.


We did see thousands of waterfowl including several distant rafts of Snow 
Geese. Several eagle nests had white heads on the top, including the Aurora 
nest. (One of us did see several white heads while some others remained 
skeptical casting aspersions about someone's imagination.) Bob picked out a 
Northern Pintail. (I didn't say I doubted his pintail.) We saw several Northern 
Harrier, including an adult male, several first winter birds and one bird close 
enough to be certain that it was an adult female: a nice day for seeing 
plumages of harriers.  Near Cayuga State Park, we watched 3 Bald Eagles 
fighting over a Snow Goose carcass. Perhaps it was a cripple from the hunting 
season, which I think goes until 1 April. Four crows hung around the perimeter 
trying to steal little pieces of goose. Seybolt Rd. did not yield any Snowy Owl.


We saw a few Horned Lark and quite a few redtails.


We did solve several of the world's pressing problems, including a 
unanimous agreement about global climate change in the context of political 
positions.


Cheers,


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge - proposal

2016-02-29 Thread John Confer
The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a new and unique kind of National 
Refuge. This refuge will be created of separate parts across several states, 
and it will be created to manage for early successional habitat. I think both 
aspects are unique. Details are available at

http://www.fws.gov/northeast/refuges/planning/lpp/draftlppea.html<http://www.fws.gov/northeast/refuges/planning/lpp/draftlppea.html>


The NWR System is soliciting comments on the proposal. I recommend this to your 
attention and potential support.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin downtown

2016-02-11 Thread John Confer
I drove around South Titus near the Meadow Court Motel for 10-15 minutes 
yesterday. The White Pine and Eastern Hemlock that are close to each other and 
just northeast of the motel had a Fish Crow nest last year. I was hoping to see 
Merlin activity as an indication of potential nesting. AND THERE IT WAS!! A 
male Merlin flew around Inlet Creek in the vicinity of the tall pines. This is 
very near a Merlin nest from last year. Merlin courtship starts in early April 
and I am hoping to monitor nesting success again this year. An optomistic 
beginning.


John Confer




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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Bobcat!

2016-02-02 Thread John Confer
Awesome!

How disappointing that you didn't get a saw-whet. (Just joking)

Yesterday, I tried Thomas Rd for abut 1.5 hrs for screech and saw-whet and got 
a screech, but no bobcat. A lot of commute traffic starting at about 6:00.

John Confer


From: bounce-120118738-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
<bounce-120118738-25065...@list.cornell.edu> on behalf of bob mcguire 
<bmcgu...@clarityconnect.com>
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 8:51 PM
To: Cayugabirdlist
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Bobcat!

I just returned from a nighttime walk in the Park Preserve (south portion) 
listening for saw-whet owl. No owl - but very much to my surprise I heard the 
call/scream of a bobcat. It came from the north,  just across the small stream 
that runs along the orange trail.

Bobcat? Here is one that I recorded several years ago outside of San Jose, CA. 
It’s the same call that I heard tonight.

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176488

Bob McGuire
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[cayugabirds-l] CBC Owl Prowl

2015-12-15 Thread John Confer
Hi Folks,

 For a couple decades, I tried a Cayuga Bird Club Christmas Bird 
Count owl prowl (That would be CBC CBC OP) in the higher elevations 
around Hammond Hill on 1 Jan. The results were usually not very good and 
sometimes even dismal and always cold!

 Last year I picked an area that is about 1000 ft lower, and 3-7 
degrees warmer, and with considerable less snow cover, all features that 
I guess make it better for owl survival. I tried owling in the area of 
lower Buttermilk Falls SP, Stone Quarry and Sandbank Rds, Land Trust 
Preserve at Lick Brook, Ithaca Beer Drive, lower Treman S.P. and  in the 
area along Rt 34 near the soccer fields and lower Buttermilk Falls SP, 
and along parts of Rt 13A = Floral Ave.

 I worked up a very productive route: 17 stops for 12 screech and 1 
great horned.  That is a hustle since it works out to be about 6 minutes 
audio playing per stop and 4 minutes drive between stops starting at 4:00.

If this is the backyard of anyone who is going to try owling, please let 
me know and we can work something out. Don't worry, there are more 
potential stops than there is time.

Otherwise, I would like try the same area again.

 My hearing is not as good as it once was. I'm sure I miss some owls 
because I did hear a couple that were just at the very limit of my 
hearing, and I know others can hear better than I.*I would love to have 
someone with young ears join me at Buttermilk Falls at the parking lot 
adjacent to King Rd. at 4:00 AM, Jan 1.

Good birding,

*John Confer
539-6308

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Re:[cayugabirds-l] Loon watch and foy here

2015-11-14 Thread John Confer
Hi Meena,

  Good to see you at Taughannoch. 

   John and Sue Gregoire and I thought that some of the big, loose flocks of 
loons that were well north of the point we stood on at Taughannoch was far more 
likely to take them over the southern tip of Seneca Lake than to the southern 
tip of Cayuga  Lake. As I look at Google Earth, that seems a much more likely 
location that they fly over over than the southern tip of Cayuga. Measured in 
Google, it looks to me that the southern tip of Cayuga Lake is more than 10 
miles east of due south from the tip of Taughannock.

Cheers,

John


From: bounce-119895794-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Meena Madhav Haribal 

Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2015 4:00 PM
To: k...@empacc.net
Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re:[cayugabirds-l] Loon watch and foy here

John,
I am not sure if they are following Susquehanna or they are just taking a 
direct route. If you look up on the map, it seems they can fly directly to 
Chesapeake Bay in direct line, they don't need to follow Route 15 as we do.  
Route 15 is at least 20 miles left to their target destination in our area. 
Also, as I mentioned earlier the Cayuga Lake southern tip bends to east 
substantially by about  4 or 5 miles to the east from Taughannock State park if 
draw straight line south.  They know what they are doing!

Cheers
Meena

Meena Haribal
Ithaca NY 14850
42.429007,-76.47111
http://www.haribal.org/
http://meenaharibal.blogspot.com/
Ithaca area moths: https://plus.google.com/118047473426099383469/posts
Dragonfly book sample pages: http://www.haribal.org/dragonflies/samplebook.pdf





From: John and Sue Gregoire 
Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2015 3:03 PM
To: Meena Madhav Haribal
Cc: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: Loon watch and foy here

Meena pls pass to Wes and Diane. Sue and I continued on to Seneca Lake where we
found no loons. In thinking about those high Southwestward flyers we believe 
they
had plenty of altitude to spot the Susquehanna and thus took a bit more direct 
route
down Rte 15! (runs alongside the river from Corning south).

At home we also had Fox Sparrow and our FOY American Tree Sparrow.

Terrific morning with good company!

John
--
John and Sue Gregoire
Field Ornithologists
Kestrel Haven Avian Migration Observatory
5373 Fitzgerald Road
Burdett,NY 14818-9626
N 42 26.611' W 76 45.492'
 Website: http://www.empacc.net/~kestrelhaven/
"Conserve and Create Habitat"

On Sat, November 14, 2015 10:37, Meena Madhav Haribal wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> Today morning Loon Watch trip somebody seem to have lost the eye piece cap 
> for Nikon



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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Cayuga Bird Club Loon Watch

2015-11-14 Thread John Confer
Great job, Wes.


From: bounce-119896078-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 on behalf of Wesley W. Blauvelt 

Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2015 7:58 PM
To: cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Cayuga Bird Club Loon Watch

With temperatures hovering a few degrees above freezing and winds gusting from 
the NW at 20+ knots, conditions seemed perfect for a substantial loon flight 
this morning. The 20+ Cayuga Bird Club members and observers who arrived at 
Taughannock State Park around dawn were not disappointed. Dividing into two 
watch stations; the traditional location at the confluence of Taughannock Creek 
with Cayuga Lake and another approximately 100 yards south along the lake 
shoreline, observations were started 15 minutes before sunrise (6:31 AM). Over 
the course of the next two hours approximately 2,200 Common Loons were 
observed…….plus one Red-throated Loon. Using 15 minute intervals, two distinct 
flights were observed. Birds from Cayuga Lake were believed to comprised the 
first flight, with there numbers declining by 7:15 AM. A second flight, 
presumed from Lake Ontarion, began to arrive around 7:30 AM with numerous waves 
of 60 to 70 birds arriving from the NNE just below the cloud cover. This flight 
continued for approximately 45 minutes. A summary of the counts from the south 
watch station follows: 6:30 AM - 19; 6:45 AM - 75; 7:00 AM - 277; 7:15 AM - 57; 
7:30 AM - 151; 7:45 AM - 218; 8:00 AM - 102; 8:15AM - 10; 8:30 AM - 27;  and 
8:45 AM - 14. Count total = 958. The reported count for the traditional 
location was 1,200. One observer noted that there where too many birds to 
count! On that note, I would say it was a very successful Loon Watch. Thanks to 
all who participated (and to the loons) and let’s try to keep this great 
traditional alive in future years.


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[cayugabirds-l] Saw-whet migration (Confer's usual, rambling monologue)

2015-10-15 Thread John Confer
Hi Folks,


Hammond Hill Owl Station, HHOWLS, has been banding saw-whets this fall, as 
usual. So far, this year is either very bad or very late. A major binding 
station several hundred miles north of us has done alright. A major banding 
station 100 miles north of us is way low. We have caught only 10 birds, boo, 
hiss.

Last night we caught three birds, a modest number, but we had a nearly 
unbelievable sequence of recaptures. I wouldn't dare send this out for fear of 
being labeled a delusional madman, except that several witnesses including Bob 
McGuire and Wes Blauvelt who were part of the data recording.

We caught one banded bird with a dull, oxidized band. Now it is common to 
recapture a banded bird within a few days of banding, but their bands are 
shiny. I knew instantly that this was a bird banded some long time before. That 
brief look at the band, got me really excited. So, in the banding shed we read 
the number by rolling the band between fingers.  The prefix number was 1015- 
(interesting because that is part of the band sequence I have for my bands) -54 
(what!!?) 627 (No, that can't be, but after several rechecks by young eyes 
using a magnifying lens, yes it was.) That was one of my bands we put on a bird 
two years ago. Further it was a bird initially banded on 27 Sep. as an After 
Second Year female. This is really early for migration and we opened nets at 
this time because I couldn't resist starting early. The next night, 28 Sep., it 
was re-captured, and re-re-captured on 10 Oct, and re-re-re-captured on 18 
October, and finally re-re-re-re-captured on  4 Nov. Saw-whets do not, usually, 
have explicit flyways, but this one did. Now please enter into your suspension 
of disbelief. The next net check, there was another bird with an old, oxidized 
band in the net. As we started to read the band in the banding shed, it was 
1015-(Come on!) 54 (This can not be!!) 667. Understand that bands are 
assigned in a sequence by hundreds. Again, I call upon my witnesses to verify 
that we had another bird we banded two years ago as an ASY female. Not only 
that, the second bird was banded on 4 Nov., the same night as the last time the 
first bird was caught.

I will gladly entertain any explanation of this sequence. Is this purely 
coincidence? Birds that nested just north of us on Hammond HIll? Or simply a 
wild fluke? Etc. We'll never know, but it you can take your pick.


Not conceptually earthshaking, but sure fun, rewarding for all the effort, and 
interesting.


John Confer

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] hummers

2015-10-01 Thread John Confer
I, too, had a hummer this morning, after a long time with no sighting. 
Oddly, it flew with very direct line from plants with flowers in the 
front lawn to flowers that were out of line of sight in the backyard 
making me wonder if it was the return of a summer resident. Don't know. 
Interesting.

John Confer

On 10/1/2015 8:27 AM, Marty Schlabach wrote:
>
> I just saw two hummingbirds at our feeder in Interlaken.  We haven’t 
> seen a hummer at our feeders since Sept 13.  These both look like 
> female or young male ruby throated hummingbirds to me, but then I’ve 
> been wrong before! 3 years ago we had a rufous hummingbird visit us 
> for several weeks.  I’ve got some poor pictures, which I might post to 
> Cayuga Bird Club facebook page.  Perhaps the weather brought in a 
> couple of late migrants.
>
> Marty
>
> ===
>
> Marty Schlabach m...@cornell.edu
>
> 8407 Powell Rd. home  607-532-3467
>
> Interlaken, NY 14847   cell315-521-4315
>
> ===
>
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[cayugabirds-l] Merlins galore - thanks

2015-07-28 Thread John Confer
*Thanks to assistance from participants in the cayugabirds-l,* Mark 
Witmer, Maddie Ulinski, and I were able to monitor 7 Merlin nests this 
spring-summer. The Briarwood Lane nest fledged the third of three 
nestlings this morning (28 July). Five nests were in Ithaca, one in 
Dryden and one of Wells College campus. Three of the nests were 
predated. Although this is a statistically tiny sample, it provides a 
very high rate of nest failure in comparison to other, large surveys. 
The dominant prey species at all nests was the House Sparrow. 
Interestingly, House Sparrows have been declining very rapidly, a 
decline that started long before Merlin started to nest and increase in 
abundance in New York.

It is nice to have our little urban falcon zipping around the town/city, 
picking off a lot of species but mostly House Sparrows.

Thanks again for directing us to nest locations.

John, Mark, and Maddie

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[cayugabirds-l] Christopher Lane Merlin nest failure

2015-07-06 Thread John Confer
Maddie and I visited the nest at the corner of Christopher Land and 
Christopher Circle on 20 June and saw the female move on the nest. 
Numerous subsequent visits have detected nothing. It is almost 
impossible for nestlings to have fledged and dispersed without being 
detected on the visits after 20 June. But before counting this as a 
failed nest,

Did anyone see or hear fledglings are activity at the nest after 20 
June?? Maybe reply off line at con...@ithaca.edu, thanks.

As the male would say, ka, ka, ka, ka

John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin update

2015-07-06 Thread John Confer
N. Titus Street nest: Fledged 5
 29 June, Monday: At least two probably three flying and two 
nestlings climbing around branches successfully became free-flying. I 
was fairly certain that I heard begging calls from two different 
directions while watching a third out of the nest on the day when two, 
ready-to-fledge nestlings were climbing around branches and flapping.

Dryden School Yard: Likely to fledge five.
  5 July, Sunday: Two climbing around branches. Two free-lying 
fledglings, with the possibility of one remaining quite during visit.

Cascadilla Avenue: Four nestlings
 4 July, Saturday: Female fed four nestlings. Look at the link below 
for great pictures of Merlin nestlings as they age. Based on those 
pictures, the nestlings were probably 16 days old on the fourth and 
likely to fledge at ~28 days, at around ~15 July. Nestlings don't all 
leave at the same day.

Nestling images at 
http://www.eurapmon.net/sites/default/files/raptors_2nd_ed_027_chick_development.pdf

Counting your chickens before the fledge, 3 of 5 local nests may fledge 
or have already fledged 13-14 Merlins for 2.6 to 2.8 young per nest.

John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Urban Merlin fledgling compressed images

2015-06-29 Thread John Confer
HI Folks,


The fledgling Merlin was ~10-15 m from me as I took images of it. At one 
point it was trying to climb up an immense pine tree trunk using its claws, 
beak, and wings. Not very efficient, but ultimately successful. The originals 
are really nice, but ~8 mb. I tried to send them without compressing them and 
they didn't go through. So, I used the edit command for Microsoft Image Viewer 
to compress them for sending. The result was a disaster. I really am a 
technological troglodyte.


I thought the images were charming and spoke for themselves, so I added no text.


Sorry to waste your time.


John



From: Anne Clark anneb.cl...@gmail.com
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2015 8:37 PM
To: Meena Madhav Haribal
Cc: Peter; John Confer; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Urban Merlin fledgling.

It had two pictures of a young merlin attached.  I think that, since it had no 
text in the body of the message, save the Cayuga list material, and two 
attachments, some email programs reacted and stripped the attachments.  That 
seemed to be what Peter's did.  Mine came through with clearly .jpg 
attachments, which seemed reasonable for the subject line, so I opened them.  
They may have been sent from a phone, perhaps one like mine, which is not very 
smart and takes low-pixel pictures.

Anne
On Jun 28, 2015, at 7:07 PM, Meena Madhav Haribal wrote:

After your question i did not dare to open. So i cant answer your question.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

- Reply message -
From: Peter psara...@rochester.rr.commailto:psara...@rochester.rr.com
To: John Confer con...@ithaca.edumailto:con...@ithaca.edu, 
CAYUGABIRDS-L 
cayugabird...@list.cornell.edumailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Urban Merlin fledgling.
Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2015 5:52 pm



Hi folks.
Can any out there tell me if this is a legitimate email from John. It is very 
similar to one I received recently from another group member. I don't know why 
she or John would be sending it.
Many thanks.
Pete Saracino

On 6/27/2015 5:01 PM, John Confer wrote:


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[cayugabirds-l] Urban Merlin fledgling.

2015-06-27 Thread John Confer


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[cayugabirds-l] N., Titus Merlins fledging

2015-06-26 Thread John Confer
The Merlin nest in the 400 block of N. Titus is fledging yesterday/today.

At least one, probably two, fledged yesterday. There are three on the nest or 
nearby branches. This is about as large a clutch as has been reported. 
Fledglings, with light brown chest and downy tufts on their head, are quite 
beautiful. They make a lot of begging calls, as adults fly nearby.


Young are likely to hang around in the vicinity for over a month, but activity 
is more focused in a smaller area today than it will be in the future.


More Merlins for the future!!


Thanks to Kurt for originally locating the nest vicinity.


John Confer

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[cayugabirds-l] Update on 6 Merlin nests

2015-06-05 Thread John Confer
There are four Merlin nests in Ithaca.

The N. Titus St nest, which I thought might have been abandoned, has had 
lots of recent activity. Perhaps this change in parental activity 
reflects a change in the nest status; maybe the eggs hatched. Please do 
not go off the sidewalk along N. Tutus and do not stay there long, thanks.

The probable nest for the Christopher Circle/Lane appears to have been 
destroyed and I haven't heard any activity there for on the last two 
mornings.

The Cascadilla Creek nesting pair seems to ignore all the nearby car and 
pedestrian traffic, and is quite nicely seen from the bridge over 
Cascadilla Creek looking west along the north side of the creek in a 
tall White Pine. Many local land owners know about the noisy pair and 
one seems to accept a rain of feathers their yard.

The East Hill Cemetery nest is active, but on private grounds. Too many 
visitors to the immediate vicinity of the nest might lead the 
owners/managers to forbid monitoring the nest, as I am trying to do.

This morning I discovered a nest in Dryden in the front yard of the 
elementary school. I followed the flight line of a Merlin seen on two 
mornings in April and soon heard the beautiful ka ka ka ka ka. Since the 
pair accepted this nest while hundreds of recess kids were screaming 
around the area, I think they are fairly immune to human disturbance.

There is a nest on the Wells College campus. It is being monitored as 
part of a senior thesis, and it would be nice not to disturb this one 
too much.

So far, there have been 9 identifiable prey, 7 of which were House Sparrows.

I still would appreciate additional nest monitors. Someone did call 
about doing this, but the phone message got lost. Do contact me via 
email, thanks.

Imagine: the 1980-'85 Breeding Bird Survey for New York with 300,000 
person hours of field work did not find a single Merlin nest. The more 
recent survey found ~60, and now we have 6 known territories close to 
us. All of these are urban, partially because we birders spend more time 
in an urban situation. But no nests in wild situations doesn't represent 
the time we birders spend in the wilds. They certainly are an urban bird.

John





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[cayugabirds-l] Wanted: Merlin nest monitors

2015-06-01 Thread John Confer
Unlike many raptors, Merlins select nest sites in the immediate vicinity 
of a great deal of human activity. Merlins do not seem to be too 
disturbed by human presence at perhaps 40 m from the nest, and in 
monitoring the nest success of urban-nesting Merlins.

  I would like to get a reasonably large sample of the prey species 
brought to the female, (which one person can't do). Eggs may hatch in 
early June and young fledge in early July.
This provides an easy opportunity to obtain obtaining information on the 
prey brought to urban raptor nests, especially Merlins.  Males often 
bring food to the incubating female, she gets off the nest for her meal, 
and the male incubates for a few minutes. This provides a chance to 
identify and record the prey species as the female rips away. This often 
happens around sunrise, and intermittently throughout the day.

I would like to determine when the nest fledges young to the exact day 
or as close as possible, or when the nest fails to the day, and even why 
is possible, (which one person can't determine).

Monitors would be expected to be able to commit to having a strong 
likelihood of
 Visiting the nest area at least once a week until fledging,
 Visit the nest for approximately an hour, most preferably from 
~5:30- 6:30 AM,
 Provide a scope for determining prey species,
 Provide digital record of observations at nest each week.

Of the four nests (five if you count Dryden) in our imediate area, it 
may be that two have failed, while the Dryden potential is unknown. 
Further, the one Merlin nest I monitored last year on Hudson St. also 
failed. This sample size is too small for statistical analyses, but the 
first take on the failure rates is that it is high. It contrasts with a 
high success rate for urban nests in Saskatoon. I don't know why any of 
the nests failed, since it never happened while I was there.

Please contact John Confer at con...@ithaca.edu.

Thanks,

John



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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin preempt Fish Crow nest.

2015-05-18 Thread John Confer
  Bob McGuire described hearing Merlin along Cascadilla Creek between 
Aurora and Tioga on 3 May. Since then I have made 6 visits to find the 
nest because I wanted to monitor it and determine nesting success. I 
heard/saw Merlins on 5 visits in the the block between Aurora and 
Tioga.  On 5 May, I watched very noisy Fish Crows, about 4, involved in 
taking small branches to top of tall pine between Tioga and Cayuga on 
north side of the creek. I saw Fish Crow on a few, subsequent visits. 
Twice I saw Merlin fly into spruce near corner of Aurora St. and 
Cascadilla Creek. A stick nest is visible in top of spruce from Aurora 
and I was sure that I had found the nest. On Sunday, I visited the area 
between Aurora and Tioga with Stefan Karkuff (who says hello). As we 
walked up to the supposed Merlin nest, I casually said there was a Fish 
Crow on the tip of the tall pine and emphatically pointed upstream and 
said there is where the Merlin nest is located. Stefan said , John, that 
bird on top of the pine is a Merlin.

Today (Mon) I watched the Merlins exchange at the nest and the male 
settled in as the female flew off. Definitive sign of incubation, 
probably the second or third day, given time to lay the complete clutch. 
In this case this is a real example of alchemy and I really am not 
crazy. Either the Fish Crows abandoned the nest or the Merlins drove 
them away. How could a pair of Merlin drive off 4 Fish Crow?

The nest can be easily watched from the bridge over Cascadilla Creek 
looking downstream on the north side of the creek in a tall White Pine.

John


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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Basin Big Day Saturday- Congratulations

2015-05-11 Thread John Confer
What an exceptionally great day. Thanks for taking the time to compile 
the observations.

John

On 5/10/2015 4:26 PM, Jay McGowan wrote:
 Livia and I had a fun day yesterday. We had a few setbacks: slow 
 migrant birding in Ithaca; missing some know stakeouts like Upland 
 Sandpiper, Rusty Blackbird, and Palm Warbler; almost no raptors 
 whatsoever, despite favorable winds and sun; and generally hot and 
 windy conditions all day. Even so, we had a good morning for breeders 
 and got most of our targets at Montezuma in the afternoon, so we were 
 able to end the day with 175 species.

 Highlights:
 --Challenging but decent night migration at home in Northeast Ithaca, 
 including an early GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, HERMIT 
 THRUSH, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and VIRGINIA RAIL.
 --Good night birding, with over 10 AMERICAN WOODCOCK, EASTERN 
 SCREECH-OWL, BARRED OWL, and GREAT HORNED OWL.
 --Productive morning at Park Preserve and Hammond Hill, with 15 
 species of warblers and most of the essential forest birds like Ruffed 
 Grouse and Winter Wren, as well as Pine Siskin.
 --Slow going at Sapsucker Woods but a nice singing WILSON'S WARBLER on 
 the Wilson Trail.
 --Continuing CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on campus, not singing but quickly 
 found.
 --Lindsay-Parsons added WORM-EATING, BLACK-AND-WHITE, and HOODED 
 WARBLERS but little else, making it rather a time sink in the overall day.
 --Hot and windy at Stewart and Myers, but managed to pick out a LESSER 
 BLACK-BACKED GULL on the jetty and several ORCHARD ORIOLES singing 
 around Myers.
 --Despite challengingly shimmery lake conditions, we were able to find 
 BONAPARTE'S GULLS and a few lingering RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS off the 
 Aurora bluffs, as well as 14 COMMON and a single FORSTER'S TERN on the 
 marina breakwall in Union Springs.
 --An adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER on Lake Road just a few houses north 
 of Long Point State Park that flew across the road in front of us. An 
 awesome bird, if overall unhelpful for the day considering the 
 cooperative one at Mays Point (saving us all of about 30 seconds).
 --Continuing SNOW GOOSE at the Visitor Center.
 --Extensive mudflats on the Main Pool hosting almost 100 LESSER 
 YELLOWLEGS, 400+ LEAST SANDPIPERS, DUNLIN, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and 
 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER.
 --EURASIAN WIGEON, LESSER SCAUP, CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, RING-NECKED 
 DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, and all the expected dabblers at Montezuma. A male 
 COMMON GOLDENEYE is also apparently around, but we missed it.
 --Two GREAT EGRETS flying around Knox-Marsellus from East Road, as 
 well as BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS from Towpath at dusk.
 --Continuing PROTHONOTARY WARBLER on Armitage Road, singing as we 
 drove up.
 --Singing ORCHARD ORIOLES on Lake Road south of Aurora and Van Dyne 
 Spoor Road. One was also reported on the Wildlife Drive.
 --Two BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and lots of the same shorebirds in the 
 fields on Carncross Road.

 Our biggest misses were all Accipiters, Broad-winged and 
 Red-shouldered hawk, Rusty Blackbird, Palm Warbler, Upland Sandpiper, 
 American and Least bittern, many migrants that seemingly just showed 
 up today (Bay-breasted, Cape May, Blackpoll, Philadelphia Vireo, Alder 
 Flycatcher, cuckoos, and frustratingly White-crowned Sparrow), and 
 worst of all, Carolina Wren! With so much time spent in upland spots 
 in the morning, we didn't realize this was going to be a challenge 
 until it was too late. This morning I saw at least six species we 
 missed yesterday. Oh well. No sign of Friday's Glossy Ibis nor the 
 Little Blue Heron.

 Good birding,
 Jay

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] House Sparrow advice - hire Merlin

2015-05-10 Thread John Confer
Hire a Merlin. So far all the prey I have identified, i.e., a small sample of 
3, have been House Sparrows.

John

__
From: bounce-119150749-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
bounce-119150749-25065...@list.cornell.edu on behalf of Melanie Uhlir 
mela...@mwmu.com
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 5:07 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] House Sparrow advice

I can't remember who it was that posted about dealing with House
Sparrows. I have a question/concern:

A pair of these murderous little creeps seem to be trying to move in to
a nestbox nailed to our house to cover one of the numerous carpenter
bee/woodpecker/squirrel holes. My husband plugged the hole to prevent
them from entering. My concern/question is: Will preventing their access
to that nestbox be more likely to cause them to attack the nearby House
Wrens? I don't think the House Wrens are nesting yet, but I hear little
Mr. House Wren(s?) singing quite a bit and at least one box is packed
with sticks.

I have another box out back that has a LOT of various nesting material
in it (feathers, grass, something fluffy, a few sticks). Once, when I
was trying to figure out what was in there a small, brown bird was
flushed, but that's all I got a chance to see.

Many thanks for guidance.

Melanie

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[cayugabirds-l] N Titus Merlin nest - location correction for Fish Crow.

2015-05-06 Thread John Confer
N. Titus x Plain x Center Sts: I watched the male Merlin fly toward, 
briefly perch, and fly away from a bundle of sticks in an exceptionally 
tall Sycamore along Center St., which parallels N. Titus and is the next 
street north. Not proof, but an indication of an actual, active nest. 
The nest might be 70-80 feet high in the western part of the crown of an 
immense tree, which is itself the western-most of a row of sycamores. It 
really seems impervious to human disturbance partially because of the 
height and partially because there is already disturbance from cars, 
bicycles, kids, and adults with barking dogs under the nest. I'd love to 
know of confirming observations of activity at the nest. It may well be 
that incubation is just starting and will last ~30 days, so feeding of 
nestlings is a long way away.

Probable Fish Crow nest with activity today (05/06/15) is in a tall pine 
just east of Meadow Court Motel, not behind restaurant as I said previously.

Cheers,

John

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[cayugabirds-l] 4 downtown merlins, Fish Crow nest with rambling story

2015-05-05 Thread John Confer

4 Merlin:  How nice it is to see two pair of Merlin in downtown Ithaca 
this morning! One pair in the block NW of N Titus and Plain Sts, and 
another between Cascadilla Creek-Court St.-Tioga St. in backyard of 
Finger Lakes Land Trust office.
FISH CROW: There is a tall White Pine just off S. Titus to the east of 
what was A Taste of Thai. For a couple weeks there has been a lot of 
Fish Crow activity in that tree, including two flying into the tree 
almost at once this morning and then staying there.

Ramble

I would like to monitor the nesting success of urban raptors, i.e., how 
long the birds incubate successfully and how long the pair feed 
nestlings, but I'm being befuddled by the nests of the Merlins. This is 
complicated by not wanting to walk into someone's backyard with a 
telescope and binoculars at 6:30 in the morning. So far, the residents 
on this block I have encountered include the former director of Env. 
Studies at IC, a former employee at the Lab, an environmental studies 
graduate, and a former instructor on environmental energy policies at 
IC, which was all well and good, until I met a woman whose house was 
robbed a couple weeks ago. I am not uniformly welcome. It is awkward  
trying to get a good view of potential nests but avoiding wandering 
around outside someone's bedroom window.

Bob first posted about hearing a Merlin in the block to the NE of Court 
and Tioga Streets. This morning, ~7:15, a male Merlin flew in with a 
House Sparrow in its talons, landed in a non-leafed out deciduous tree 
providing a great view and proceeded to pluck it. In about two minutes 
it was joined by the female and I thought how nice it would be if they 
shared. No such thing. The male flew off NE and appeared to circle to 
the north. I found the marvelous walkway along Cascadilla Creek and 
walked along it continually looking back southward where I lost sight of 
the male until I glanced almost overhead looking northward. Just across 
the creek the pair of Merlin were sitting on a branch with the male 
carrying the prey with joggers going by nearly underneath. Again I 
thought what a nice pair-bonding experience it would be to share. The 
male then proceeded to fly away to the west carrying all of the pretty 
much plucked clean prey and the female sat in the tree for several 
minutes for as long as I had patience. I expect the FLLT staff to eat 
lunch on the delightful walkway adjacent to the creek about a half-block 
from their office and report back about finding the nest.

The pair in the block NW of N. Titus and Plain Sts. continues to defy me 
about where their nest is. I saw both members of the pair again in the 
same block this morning.



Cheers,

John Confer




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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Montezuma Thursday + Eurasian Widgeon

2015-05-01 Thread John Confer
We also saw an Eurasian Wigeon in Knox Marcellus. There were many Green-winged 
Teal feeding on the mud flats, and for a second there my heart got excited with 
the possibility of large flock of large sandpipers, but, sad to say, no such 
luck.

John


From: bounce-119116854-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
bounce-119116854-25065...@list.cornell.edu on behalf of bob mcguire 
bmcgu...@clarityconnect.com
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 5:49 PM
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Montezuma Thursday

John Confer and I spent the morning helping out with the Refuge’s marsh bird 
survey. Our route covered the south end of the Main Pool and on west into Black 
Lake. We drove north on the dike directly across from the Visitor’s Center, 
parked opposite the Center and saw immediately that we were in for a slog. We 
donned chest waders, took the canoe off the top of the car, and set out to pull 
it a couple hundred yards west through the fallen cattails. Along the way we 
heard the first of two MARSH WRENs for the day and flushed a pair of SANDHILL 
CRANES that may well be setting up a nest. That, of course, would be great for 
all the visitors because their calls will be heard easily from the viewing deck.

It was another slog through fallen cattails to our next point where, in 
addition to responses from several VIRGINIA RAILS we heard our only SORA of the 
day. Shortly after that we came out onto open water (4 - 6” deep!) and were 
able to paddle to our remaining three points. All in all we encountered 6 
Virginia Rails and two AMERICAN BITTERNs. Other than that, a couple of American 
Coots, numerous Swamp Sparrows, and eagles and ospreys flying over. The south 
end of the Main Pool was surprisingly quiet. No Least Bitterns yet.

The Refuge is draining the Main Pool for the season at a couple of inches per 
day so it is questionable whether or not we will be able to conduct the next 
two required surveys (two weeks apart). Nevertheless, it was great to be out 
there: warm temps, no wind, and clear blue skies.

We checked Knox-Marsellus Marsh on the way home. There were at least 20 Bald 
Eagles but only one shorebird (Greater Yellowlegs) on all of the exposed mud, 
and hundreds of ducks, mostly teal and shovelers.

Finally down Rt 90 near the Aurora Shoe Company, an EASTERN KINGBIRD flew up 
from the ditch to a overhead wire.

Bob McGuire
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[cayugabirds-l] Downtown Ithaca Merlin pair

2015-04-25 Thread John Confer
Ken Kemphues first noted Merlins in the 400 block of N. Titus. At about 7:15, a 
pair was sitting in a tree in the middle of the block between N. Titus and 
Center Street. I moved to get a better view and the female disappeared as my 
view was blocked so I don't have a clue about the nest location. The male 
called very infrequently. He actually flew in and perched over my head, looking 
down at me as if he certainly was aware of my presence and perhaps concerned 
about me being there even on the sidewalk. 

The birds are obviously accustomed to some human activity and can be seen 
from the sidewalk without having to get closer. I would love to know where the 
nest is so that I could monitor nesting success.

Cheers,

John



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[cayugabirds-l] Merlins

2015-04-22 Thread John Confer
Well I'm hopeless looking for raptor nests. I went by Christopher Lane 
between 6:30 and 7:00 when I thought would be the best times, and didn't 
see the Merlin once. Nice that Mark saw it though. I would like to know 
of other Merlin sightings, please. (Not that I'm going to see it.)

John Confer

During the week after Anne Clark posted about the Merlins along 
Christopher Lane in our neighborhood in northeast Ithaca, I would see 
one Merlin atop a tree every time I passed.  But I haven’t seen any 
Merlins there for more than a week now.

Mark Chao



 
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Re: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction: owls there Thursday 4/16 morning.

2015-04-20 Thread John Confer
Well, I'll be darned. It certainly does sound as if there were two raptor 
nests. They would have to be very close to each other. In fact, I was pretty 
certain I was looking at the same nest/location where I saw the adult owl about 
10 days ago. The two nests must be really close. I'll have to go back to try to 
see both nests. I'm still not completely convinced I was looking at a different 
nest because in location and structure, it certainly looked like my memory of 
the owl nest.

Life is interesting.

Cheers,

John


From: bounce-119070192-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
bounce-119070192-25065...@list.cornell.edu on behalf of Dave Bulatek  Teresa 
Wagner Bulatek bula...@twcny.rr.com
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 9:04 PM
To: Noe Fernandez Pozo; CAYUGABIRDS-L
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction: 
owls there Thursday 4/16 morning.

There is a Red-tailed hawk nest not far from the owls' nest.  We have photos
of the owls from Friday evening, April 17.
Teresa
- Original Message -
From: Noe Fernandez Pozo noeis...@gmail.com
To: CAYUGABIRDS-L cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 7:58 PM
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction:
owls there Thursday 4/16 morning.


Hi,

I saw the GHO on the nest today.

Cheers,
Noe


 On Apr 19, 2015, at 7:19 PM, Susan Danskin dans...@twcny.rr.com wrote:

 A friend sent me a photo of the chick in the nest time stamped 10:45 am
 today.  is it possible John’s group was looking at a different nest?  I
 know Gary K said he spent a bunch of time looking at the wrong nest a
 couple of weeks ago.
 Susan





 On Apr 19, 2015, at 7:02 PM, Paul Schmitt pschmi...@gmail.com wrote:

 Well, I have photos of both chicks and adult from Saturday morning.  This
 report does not match.

 Paul Schmitt

 Sent from my iPad

 On Apr 19, 2015, at 6:15 PM, Marie P. Read m...@cornell.edu wrote:

 Correction: I was at the GH Owl nest THURSDAY morning, around 9:00 am.
 One adult and one large nestling were visible in the nest.
  I was there myself on Friday morning when the owls were definitely in
 residence.

 Marie




 Marie Read Wildlife Photography
 452 Ringwood Road
 Freeville NY  13068 USA

 Phone  607-539-6608
 e-mail   m...@cornell.edu

 http://www.marieread.com

 Author of Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake BasinAvailable here:

 http://marieread.photoshelter.com/gallery/Sierra-Wings-Birds-of-the-Mono-Lake-Basin/GNlCxX37uTzE/CBPFGij6nLfE
 
 From: bounce-119069866-5851...@list.cornell.edu
 [bounce-119069866-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Marie P. Read
 [m...@cornell.edu]
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 6:08 PM
 To: John Confer; CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: RE:[cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest

 John Confer wrote:

  We drove over to the golf course and first stopped to see the Great
 Horned Owl nest. To our total surprise, , although there was no owl in
 sight, there was a Red-tailed Hawk flat on the nest as if incubating. I
 know some species reuse the nest of other species, but two raptor
 species in the same season? If the red-tail is incubating, it must have
 started laying almost immediately after the GHOW left, because it was
 there just two weeks ago.

 Well that is totally bizarre, because some friends of mine said they saw
 the GH Owls on that nest Saturday afternoon (I think) and I was there
 myself on Friday morning when the owls were definitely in residence.

 What happened?

 Marie


 Marie Read Wildlife Photography
 452 Ringwood Road
 Freeville NY  13068 USA

 Phone  607-539-6608
 e-mail   m...@cornell.edu

 http://www.marieread.com

 Author of Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake BasinAvailable here:

 http://marieread.photoshelter.com/gallery/Sierra-Wings-Birds-of-the-Mono-Lake-Basin/GNlCxX37uTzE/CBPFGij6nLfE
 
 From: bounce-119069750-5851...@list.cornell.edu
 [bounce-119069750-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of John Confer
 [con...@ithaca.edu]
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 4:56 PM
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L; John Confer
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy

  The warbler team had a moderately good day. We did not find many
 migrants: one White-throated Sparrow as we were leaving the Lab and then
 a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker calling as we got into the cars. The swan pen
 at Stewart Park had few birds and the waterfront produced the more
 common waterfowl. An ornithology class from Binghamton did find a Ruddy
 Duck, which we missed. We heard and saw Fish Crow, at least 5 around the
 picnic tables near the band shelter.  We did hear the wheesey call and
 see glimpses of two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers along the west band of Fall
 Creek.


  We drove over to the golf course and first stopped to see the Great
 Horned Owl nest. To our total surprise, , although there was no owl in
 sight, there was a Red-tailed Hawk flat

Re:[cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction:

2015-04-20 Thread John Confer
Well, live and learn. I must have missed the email about the RTHA nest. 
Sorry for missing someone's effort to be helpful (I guess that was was 
Gary). My, it would have been so nice to see for myself and to show the 
SFO both nests. I will go back.

Thanks for all the helpful comments.

Hoot,

john Confer

On 4/20/2015 9:59 AM, Gary Kohlenberg wrote:
 Hi John,
 Yes the nests are very close. From the buss garage the RTHA nest is easier to 
 see. It is in the tree with the painted 150 yd. marker. It was only after 
 people reported seeing Owls after I left that I started to get suspicious.
 Gary
   



 On Apr 20, 2015, at 7:23 AM, John Confer con...@ithaca.edu wrote:

 Well, I'll be darned. It certainly does sound as if there were two raptor 
 nests. They would have to be very close to each other. In fact, I was pretty 
 certain I was looking at the same nest/location where I saw the adult owl 
 about 10 days ago. The two nests must be really close. I'll have to go back 
 to try to see both nests. I'm still not completely convinced I was looking at 
 a different nest because in location and structure, it certainly looked like 
 my memory of the owl nest.

 Life is interesting.

 Cheers,

 John

 
 From: bounce-119070192-25065...@list.cornell.edu 
 bounce-119070192-25065...@list.cornell.edu on behalf of Dave Bulatek  
 Teresa Wagner Bulatek bula...@twcny.rr.com
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 9:04 PM
 To: Noe Fernandez Pozo; CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction: 
 owls there Thursday 4/16 morning.

 There is a Red-tailed hawk nest not far from the owls' nest.  We have photos
 of the owls from Friday evening, April 17.
 Teresa
 - Original Message -
 From: Noe Fernandez Pozo noeis...@gmail.com
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 7:58 PM
 Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest - correction:
 owls there Thursday 4/16 morning.


 Hi,

 I saw the GHO on the nest today.

 Cheers,
 Noe


 On Apr 19, 2015, at 7:19 PM, Susan Danskin dans...@twcny.rr.com wrote:

 A friend sent me a photo of the chick in the nest time stamped 10:45 am
 today.  is it possible John’s group was looking at a different nest?  I
 know Gary K said he spent a bunch of time looking at the wrong nest a
 couple of weeks ago.
 Susan





 On Apr 19, 2015, at 7:02 PM, Paul Schmitt pschmi...@gmail.com wrote:

 Well, I have photos of both chicks and adult from Saturday morning.  This
 report does not match.

 Paul Schmitt

 Sent from my iPad

 On Apr 19, 2015, at 6:15 PM, Marie P. Read m...@cornell.edu wrote:

 Correction: I was at the GH Owl nest THURSDAY morning, around 9:00 am.
 One adult and one large nestling were visible in the nest.
  I was there myself on Friday morning when the owls were definitely in
 residence.

 Marie




 Marie Read Wildlife Photography
 452 Ringwood Road
 Freeville NY  13068 USA

 Phone  607-539-6608
 e-mail   m...@cornell.edu

 http://www.marieread.com

 Author of Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake BasinAvailable here:

 http://marieread.photoshelter.com/gallery/Sierra-Wings-Birds-of-the-Mono-Lake-Basin/GNlCxX37uTzE/CBPFGij6nLfE
 
 From: bounce-119069866-5851...@list.cornell.edu
 [bounce-119069866-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Marie P. Read
 [m...@cornell.edu]
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 6:08 PM
 To: John Confer; CAYUGABIRDS-L
 Subject: RE:[cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy - GH Owl nest

 John Confer wrote:

  We drove over to the golf course and first stopped to see the Great
 Horned Owl nest. To our total surprise, , although there was no owl in
 sight, there was a Red-tailed Hawk flat on the nest as if incubating. I
 know some species reuse the nest of other species, but two raptor
 species in the same season? If the red-tail is incubating, it must have
 started laying almost immediately after the GHOW left, because it was
 there just two weeks ago.

 Well that is totally bizarre, because some friends of mine said they saw
 the GH Owls on that nest Saturday afternoon (I think) and I was there
 myself on Friday morning when the owls were definitely in residence.

 What happened?

 Marie


 Marie Read Wildlife Photography
 452 Ringwood Road
 Freeville NY  13068 USA

 Phone  607-539-6608
 e-mail   m...@cornell.edu

 http://www.marieread.com

 Author of Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake BasinAvailable here:

 http://marieread.photoshelter.com/gallery/Sierra-Wings-Birds-of-the-Mono-Lake-Basin/GNlCxX37uTzE/CBPFGij6nLfE
 
 From: bounce-119069750-5851...@list.cornell.edu
 [bounce-119069750-5851...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of John Confer
 [con...@ithaca.edu]
 Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 4:56 PM
 To: CAYUGABIRDS-L; John Confer
 Subject: [cayugabirds-l] SFO learns alchemy

 The warbler team had a moderately good day. We did not find many

[cayugabirds-l] Horned Grebe courtship-song + Merlin Aurora

2015-04-13 Thread John Confer
Sunday, 12 April,

The Wells College boathouse provided:
 50+ Horned Grebes close to the dock. Some in breeding plumage and 
even began their courtship dance and song. Fabulous.
 A Merlin, or possibly two, called off and on for about two minutes 
from about 100 yds east of boatchouse and about 100 yds east of Rt 90 
from direction conifer trees just northwest of the large/tall red 
steeple and along the crescent-shaped, one-way road that passes through 
part of Wells South Campus. Further info on hawks appreciated.

Cayuga Village Clerk Office
 Rough-winged Swallow.

Cheers,

John and Karen Confer

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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Cayuga Lake Ospreys

2015-04-09 Thread John Confer
This is just awesome. I can hardly wait to see the map by you and Karen. 
Is there some way we general public could contribute to some guesstimate 
of the number fledged from all these nests? And to think, in the middle 
of the DDT usage, there were no active Osprey nests in upstate New York. 
Sometimes we win an environmental issue!

John



On 4/9/2015 12:11 PM, Candace Cornell wrote:
 This is a great time to get out and watch the ospreys performing their 
 tandem courtship flight swooping, looping, and circling together in 
 the wind. It's also the time when the males perform their spectacular 
 sky dances above the nests. These behaviors only last for a few weeks 
 so enjoy them while you can.

 All the established local osprey nests in the Ithaca (Union Fields, 
 Treman Marina, and Game Farm Rd) and Lansing (Portland Point and Salt 
 Point) areas have been reclaimed by their owners. The new platforms at 
 Stewart Park, the Newman golf Course, and the two at Portland Point 
 are still not occupied, but the season is just starting. However the 
 platform on Myers Hill and the new one at Salt Point (now there are 
 two) have both had ospreys bringing sticks to them. Whether they'll 
 successfully establish nests and attract mates is still up in the air, 
 but the prospects look good. Many of the nests from Union Springs to 
 the Montezuma area were reclaimed by last weekend and I expect the 
 rest to be occupied any day now.

 *If anyone sees any osprey nests on the west side of the lake, please 
 send me an email with the location.*

 On the west side there are nests at Dean's Cove, on Footes Corners Rd 
 in Interlaken, and at the Seneca Golf Club, but other than that, I 
 haven't found any more. The shallow shelf where the ospreys can fish 
 is narrower on the west side than on the east side and at the ends of 
 the lake, but it still should support some ospreys. So far I have 
 documented 53 nests around the lake, although I don't know yet how 
 many of them will be used this year.

 Karen Edelstein and I are developing an interactive Cayuga Lake Osprey 
 Trail map showing the locations of the nests visible from public roads 
 for every one's viewing pleasure. We should have it ready within the 
 month so stayed tuned.

 Thank you all for your help!
 Candace
 cec...@gmail.com mailto:cec...@gmail.com
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[cayugabirds-l] Merlin - Dryden Rite Aid - GHOW RTLoon continue

2015-04-06 Thread John Confer
On consecutive 15 min. visits to the parking lot at Rite Aid in Dryden: 
two Merlin flying into spruce trees just to the east of Rite Aid at ~ 
4:00 PM Sunday, and on Monday ~7:`15 one flying from trees to the south. 
~7:15 AM. More info appreciated.

Great Horned Owl actually winked as class watched at golf course (Thanks 
to whomever for the posting - I've forgotten name).

RT Loon ridiculously close at marina on Sunday sfternoon: best views of 
my life, and an incredible treat for a class. (Again thanks for post).

Sunday morning; About 6-7 meadowlark on Burdick Hill Rd.

John Confer



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[cayugabirds-l] Serendipitous raptor observations- long rambling

2015-03-21 Thread John Confer
serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things 
not sought for, refers to the fairy tale characters who were always making 
discoveries through chance.


Cayugabirds-l  has carried two recent reports of serendipitous raptor 
observations.


A+ ratings: Kevin McGowan posted photo-documentation of an immature Bald 
Eagle eating a rat observed near the game farm, an unprecedented observation. 
Diana Whiting posted intriguing photos of a fight between two adult Red-tailed 
Hawks (both in banders terminology being after second year birds) along 
Ledyard Rd. where a third bird seen moments earlier. Both instances involved 
going beyond just serendipity; putting oneself into the locations where the 
odds were better than average that some serendipitous wildlife event might 
occur, and even further, by giving attention to surrounding events, and by the 
Boy Scout prepardness of having camera gear at the ready and also the skill to 
use it.


B- rating:I was coming home from a root canal job that cost $1160 (rest 
assured this is pre-insurance). Further, having fallen over the dog and into a 
wooden chair, which I knocked down onto the dog and, on which I landed while it 
was on the dog, which broke three of the dog's foot bones, which cost $341 so 
far (of course no insurance), and which led me to wrench my back, bruise my 
chest and scrape my side just two days earlier, I was not feeling good but was 
feeling sorry for myself, and being a little ahead of schedule, (well actually 
not having any schedule), I turned into the Mulholland Widlflower Trail parking 
space at Giles Street, which put me in a location where some serendipitous 
wildlife event might be observed. Now my wife and I buy an exorbitant amount of 
bird seed, sometimes 300 lb weekly throughout several winter months. This feeds 
chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, 
Mourning Doves, and other raptor food items. This has led to hearing the 
piteous squeals of a dying prey as an accipiter plucks feathers on several 
occasions, a sound one is not likely to forget. Unfortunately, in the last two 
weeks my wife or I have scared an accipiter off a dying prey on two occasions 
thereby leaving the prey to die an even slower death and the hawk to go off to 
kill another bird or to starve. As I turned off WSKG, I heard the familiar 
dying squeals and looked out my window to try to locate the origin. So, I was 
paying attention and thereby, facilitating serendipity. Almost immediately a 
small accipiter flew up and landed nearly over the top of my car so that I had 
to bend forward and lower my head below the top of the steering wheel to see 
the hawk, which had no prey in its talons, almost over my head - sort of nice 
if my back hadn't been hurting. I was surprised to hear the continued squeals 
coming from the ground about 10 yards away. I located the area with stirring 
leaves, and watched as a Red-tailed Hawk flew up and landed on a fallen log 
with some bird in its talons, which it preceded to pluck, dismember, and eat. 
Unfortunately, and this is where Kevin and Diana leave me embarrassed, I didn't 
have any camera with me, but even worse, I didn't have any binoculars. Lacking 
any means to verify this story, my serendipitous moment rates only a B-. All I 
can do is provide a little word picture.


You can guess, as well as I, what happened before I arrived. I guess that the 
most likely event was that the sharpie made a kill and the red-tail stole it. 
Further happy beginnings are imaginable.



Cheers,



John






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Re: [cayugabirds-l] Bradfiled Peregrines?

2015-03-11 Thread John Confer
I checked Bradfield twice on Sunday, 8 March, once at about 7:45 and 
once at about 4:00 with no luck. Whitewash, which I guess was from 
Peregrines, was all over the brick walls with a few places of 
concentration. One of the three students whom I picked up, Menachem, 
said he saw a Peregrine fly by as he walked across campus that Sunday 
morning in the vicinity of college town.

Tom Cade's first Peregrine release sites was at Taughannoch St.Pk. That 
site turned out to be a disaster as two (or three?) of the released 
young were killed, presumably by a Great Horned Owl. I think that is the 
last time Peregrines fledged near here. It was the last time a release 
was tried at that site. Subsequent release sites were moved to 
intertidal marshes to avoid Great Horned Owls. Wouldn't it be nice to 
have a local nest where the fledglings would be defended by an adult, 
i.e., the adults would attack and drive away an owl during daylight 
hours. A long time ago, I tired to get IC approval for a release site on 
the roof of one of the IC towers. The administration said no because the 
falcons might attack coeds and the dead pigeons might carry a disease 
that students could contact. Academia is not immune to ignorant prejudices.

Cheers,

John

On 3/10/2015 9:39 PM, Dave Nutter wrote:
 I last saw a single Peregrine on the east side of Bradfield Hall on 
 the afternoon of Monday 2 March, and it was a quick poor view as I was 
 driving and looking back and up through trees over my shoulder. I had 
 checked thoroughly without success twice earlier that day. Previous to 
 that I saw 2 on Bradfield on 25 February. I have checked without 
 seeing any every other day or so since then. Yesterday as I was 
 checking I talked to a couple of people whom I don't know who were 
 photographing or videoing one of the Red-tailed Hawks, whom they 
 called Big Red, as it brought a stick to its nest. They said they 
 hadn't seen Peregrines at Bradfield for several days but said the 
 Peregrines were downtown catching pigeons. They also said they didn't 
 know where the scrape is, which I assume meant they thought the 
 Peregrines are nesting somewhere using a typical shallow scraped area 
 in gravel on a cliff or building.

 This afternoon about 2:45 I was at Myers Point with Bob McGuire and 
 Ann Mitchell when a Peregrine Falcon flew out near the lighthouse then 
 back toward land and alit in a tree near the Finger Lakes Marine 
 Service private marina. I had a brief view in flight, then it was 
 rather obscured by branches where it perched, so I couldn't tell the 
 gender, but I think it was an adult - blue gray back in flight, bold 
 pattern on face.
 --Dave Nutter

 On Mar 10, 2015, at 01:42 PM, Meena Madhav Haribal m...@cornell.edu 
 wrote:

 Has anyone seen the Peregrines lately? I went during lunch and did 
 not see any.

 Meena

 Dr. Meena Haribal

 409, Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI)

 Ithaca NY 14853 USA

 Phone 6073011167

 Email: m...@cornell.edu mailto:m...@cornell.edu

 http://haribal.org/

 http://meenaharibal.blogspot.com/

 Ithaca area moths: http://tinyurl.com/kn6q2p4

 Dragonfly book sample pages: http://www.haribal.org/140817samplebook.pdf

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