[cayugabirds-l] Muckrace 2021 & early deer season

2021-09-09 Thread gagekm


I also posed the question of the possibility of
Knox/Marcellus/Puddlers Marshes being closed on Saturday to hunting to
refuge management and staff. Below are excerpts of their response
which illustrates the reasoning behind the decisions to allow hunting
and birding for the Muckrace. 

_

“We actually do not have as much capacity to modify rules/dates as
you think. In order to do so, it has to be justified and approved in
our Hunting and Fishing Plan. Otherwise, we have to follow state
regulations. If conflict does occur (not assumed that it will occur),
then our Manager has the discretion to close an area if needed.

We understand that some people are uncomfortable with sharing the
area with hunters, but in the eyes of the state, and the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, that is not a valid justification to close an area
to hunting. We had to fight not to become completely open to hunting,
which is done on other refuges (Iroquois is a good example; they are
open to hunting/multiple use much more widely than we are).

The Knox-Marsellus and Puddler Marshes are areas generally closed to
the public, except for hunting, which again, is in our Hunting and
Fishing Plan and overall management plan. We have responded to
birders' requests for access into those areas by offering the guided
shorebird walks and by opening the dikes to the Muckrace. This is a
privilege we have extended under special circumstances.

If we chose not to open Knox & Puddler to multiple use this weekend,
then it is highly likely that we would have to close it to non-hunters
based on our approved management plans. We do NOT want to do that! And
we do not see a reason that would be needed. Multiple use occurs on
state lands all around us. DEC statistics show a downward trend of
hunting-related injuries and the majority of those injuries are
self-inflicted by the hunters themselves. We cannot say that multiple
use is unsafe.

We CAN notify groups that the multiple uses are occurring. We can
offer advice to wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink; hunters
are required to do so. We can offer our supply of fluorescent orange
vests to Muckrace participants. And we have done all of that.

Further, this September hunt is an effort by the state to improve
deer management in order to protect habitat and to create conditions
for healthier herds. We support and use deer hunting as a management
tool. The overpopulation of deer disrupts bird and other wildlife
habitat from the ground to mid-canopy.

Just FYI, I will be at the Visitor Center on Saturday from 10 am to 3
or 4 pm. Also, our Federal Officer, Tom Wolabough, will be here for
the weekend and is aware of both the Muckrace and the September deer
hunt. I am not sure which state officer will be around; I think JT
Rich. So if there is conflict, notify Tom. His number is 757-894-8048
(his number will be on the signs I will put up at the check station
and at the visitor center letting people know that hunting and the
Muckrace are both occurring).” 

_

Again, please take proper safety precautions while participating in
the Muckrace and be aware that you are sharing space with hunters.
Wearing blaze orange is recommended and there will be vests available
for use at the MAC. We look forward to an enjoyable and successful
event!

Kyle Gage

(Acting) President FOTMWC


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[cayugabirds-l] Muckrace 2021 & early deer season

2021-09-09 Thread gagekm


I contacted the DEC's Frank Morlock who heads the Northern Montezuma
Field Office on Morgan Rd. and below are excerpts of his response re:
WMU's open for the early antlerless deer season. Frank has been very
supportive of the Muckrace and has installed signage and alerted
hunters to the fact that there will be numerous birders as well as
other members of the public on state WMU’s on 9/11. 

This early deer season news came last minute to the FOTMWC and
apparently even to many DEC personnel (who assumed it would be
implemented in 2022, not this year).

Please note what I’ve underlined/highlighted in red:




"Below is the link that describes the deer hunting seasons in
NYS...including this new September season.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html [1]

A legal description of the WMU boundaries is below. 


https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I21bfafb6c22211ddb7c8fb397c5bd26b?viewType=FullText=documenttoc=CategoryPageItem=(sc.Default)
[2]

Most people aren't going to read through these unless they're hunting
near the border of two different WMUs, in which case it's important to
know which one you're in. For the Muckrace this might be helpful. 
However, I think it's safer, given that a large part of the Complex is
in WMUs 8F and 8J, for participants to assume that they will likely be
birding where there is an active antlerless deer hunting season
occurring on the 11th.

The Montezuma Audubon Center or the land it sits on is not owned by
NY Audubon, rather it is owned by NYS and managed by the DEC's Bureau
of Wildlife (Northern Montezuma Field Office on Morgan Rd). There is
however a No-Hunting zone around the Audubon Center. The land owned by
TNC on Carncross allows deer hunting by permit only. I do not know if
they allow it during this early September season, but the permit only
allows for deer hunting in the woodlot on the west side of their
property. 

WMU 8J being mistakenly omitted from the list, but included in the
map was a simple error and has been corrected. From what I understand,
8J was always part of what was proposed. Keep in mind these WMUs are
included because they fail to meet population objectives.

Hunters in NY are statistically an extremely safe group. While deer
hunters can now legally begin shooting starting 1/2 hour before
sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset, they're also now legally
responsible for wearing blaze orange or pink. These two changes fall
in line with regulations in most other states."


___

Meanwhile, the Friends Of The Montezuma Wetlands Complex recommends
that participants be aware of their surroundings while birding and
encourages team/team members to wear blaze orange. Extra vests/hats
will be available at the MAC for use during the event. If an area
seems active with hunters and you are uncomfortable then it may be
best to move on to another location. It is unfortunate that Muckrace
participants may have to make these concessions, but we are confident
the event can proceed as planned and look forward to your
participation.

Kyle Gage

(Acting) President FOTMWC


Links:
--
[1] https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html
[2]
https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I21bfafb6c22211ddb7c8fb397c5bd26b?viewType=FullText=documenttoc=CategoryPageItem=(sc.Default)


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[cayugabirds-l] Muckrace 2021 & early deer season

2021-09-04 Thread gagekm


Muckrace Participants,

We’d like to make all Muckrace participants aware of an early gun
season for deer which will start on September 11th, during the
Saturday portion of the Muckrace. NYSDEC Wildlife Management Units in
the Northern Complex fall within the areas open for hunting as well as
parts of the Montezuma NWR. Hunt times will run from ½ hr before
sunrise to ½ hr after sunset. 

WMU’s will include any that are normally open to hunting during the
regular deer season, including Howland Island. Howland Island will be
open to birders however and Muckrace participants will be able to open
the gate to drive onto the island. Please close and lock the gate
behind you after entering/exiting. 

On refuge property, Knox/Marcellus Marsh and Puddlers Marsh will be
open to hunting as well as birders while the Esker Brook Trail, South
Spring Pool Trail, the Wildlife Drive and Seneca Trail will be closed
to hunting but are open for birding. Any areas other than
Knox/Marcellus & Puddlers Marsh which are normally off limits to the
public remain that way.

Please be conscious of the fact that you will be sharing the space
with hunters during your Muckrace birding and the use of blaze orange
vests/hats/jackets is encouraged/recommended (new regulations require
hunters to wear blaze orange or pink). Signage has been posted
alerting hunters that there will be birders and other members of the
public enjoying our public lands that day as well.

This year the Muckrace date had been set before this new hunting
season was approved and implemented. In future years we will work to
plan the date of the Muckrace so as not to have this overlap. However,
hunting seasons such as small game have coincided with the Muckrace in
past years so please don’t let this new season discourage you from
participating. 

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you next Friday and Saturday
for the 24th annual Muckrace!

Kyle Gage

(Acting) President FOTMWC

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[cayugabirds-l] MUCKRACE 2021- STILL ON (but with some modifications)

2021-08-08 Thread gagekm


First and foremost, the Muckrace fundraiser/birding event WILL take
place on September 10-11th 7pm-7pm!! However, given the rise in
Covid-19 and Covid-19 variant cases and the subsequent recommendations
of state and federal health departments we have decided NOT to have
the pizza dinner and wrap-up gathering at the end of the event (this
means you’ll get home sooner!).

 At the end of the event teams will drop off their checklists at the
Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah. Volunteers will compile and
verify the checklists there and the results will be published on the
Friends Of The Montezuma Wetlands Complex website 

(https://friendsofmontezuma.org/projects-programs/muckrace/ [1])
within a day or two. Results will also be emailed to each team. Please
remember to write down your highlights (maybe the Wood stork or
Roseate spoonbill will still be around!) and lowlights (oftentimes
this is mosquitoes on Howland Island!) and memorable quotes by teams
or team members and submit them with your checklist. We will have
those forms available at the MAC.

Camping will still be available at the MAC and the Hunter Check
Station on Rt. 89. We ask that while you are inside the building at
the MAC that you please wear a mask, regardless of your vaccination
level, and to practice social distancing and adhere to any health
guidelines that are in place at the time. Registration on Friday
evening and throughout the day Saturday at the MAC will remain the
same and t-shirts for team members can be picked up there. We are also
hoping to have Muckrace hats (not specific as to the year like the
t-shirt) available for purchase.

So form your team now and get ready for the 2021 Montezuma Muckrace!
The birds will be there, we hope you are too!!


Links:
--
[1] https://friendsofmontezuma.org/projects-programs/muckrace/


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[cayugabirds-l] Montezuma Muckrace 2021

2021-07-06 Thread gagekm


After cancellation last year due to Covid-19 concerns the Montezuma
Muckrace is back on! We are scheduling the event for September
10-11th, 7pm-7pm. 

The Muckrace is a 24 hour birding event in which teams (or
individuals) search the Montezuma Wetlands Complex trying to see or
hear as many species as possible. The event is also a fundraiser for
the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. 2019 brought out 34
teams (151 total participants, a new record) which totaled 176 species
seen and/or heard and raised over $11,000! 

Money raised goes towards bird conservation, wildlife habitat
improvement and public access in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. Teams
pay a registration fee and gather donations and/or sponsorships for
this fundraiser. There are several categories under which a team can
register including; Competitive, Recreational, Low-Carbon,
Family/Mentor, and Photo. 

T-shirts will be available for $12 per team member and a pizza dinner
following the event is included in the registration fee. During the
dinner a wrap-up of the event will be presented along with a wide
assortment of prizes.

Please visit
https://friendsofmontezuma.org/projects-programs/muckrace/ for
information on past Muckrace events and where you’ll be able to
register your team soon for this year’s event!

Kyle Gage

(Acting) President FOTMWC


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[cayugabirds-l] Neotropic cormorant (waaay OOB but worth it)

2020-09-06 Thread gagekm
Yesterday (9/5) I was fortunate to come upon a Neotropic cormorant at
the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant. The bird was associating with
numerous Double-crested cormorants and was fairly active, never
staying in one spot for long. I originally located it in Pond A-2. I
then saw it briefly in Pond S-1 before it was relocated some time
later, again in Pond A-2. It then moved to the bank of Pond S-1 & was
last seen in Pond S-2. 
A map of the ponds can be found here:
https://www.batavianewyork.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif286/f/file/file/batavia_wastewater_treatment_facilities_3.pdf
During this time of Covid they are not requiring visitors to sign in
but you should call the number posted on a sign out front
(585-345-6400) and either speak w/the staff member or leave a
voicemail stating your name and that you are a visitor. Gates close at
3pm (although there is some discrepancy about the time with signs in
the facility stating 3pm but a Google search showing 2pm) so be out of
the facility by then. You are permitted to drive on all the dike roads
around the ponds.
Kyle GageCanandaigua NY

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[cayugabirds-l] 2020 Montezuma Muckrace cancelled

2020-08-11 Thread gagekm
To all you loyal participants of the Montezuma Muckrace:
After considering our options, and various ways we might run the
Muckrace this year with changes to accommodate recommended safety
issues, we have concluded that it seems both prudent and reasonable to
cancel the event this time around. 
We will miss the fun of this annual event, but we will be putting
together plans for 2021. 
 As always, we appreciate any and all donations in the continuing
support of the wetlands complex, but we know everyone has a lot on
their plate this time around.
Happy Birding!Steve Benedict Treasurer FOTMWC

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[cayugabirds-l] Lindsey Parsons Preserve-Olive-sided flycatcher (and ticks)

2020-05-20 Thread gagekm
A search this morning from the top of the hill where the worm-eating
warblers breed did not yield the worm-eating for my friends and I. We
heard song several times but after seeing an eBird report from Lindsey
at the base of the hill about the same time we were at the top which
said they were able to call in a worm-eating we couldn't be sure that
the playback was not what we heard. A search from the bottom slopes
later on also yielded negative results. Consolation was numerous
singing Prairies & Blue-winged warblers and an Olive-sided flycatcher
hunting from a snag in one of the ponds.Just a word of caution and
reminder to thoroughly check yourself for ticks after visiting Lindsey
Parsons Preserve. Everywhere I've been this year has been tick-free
(for me at least) but not so at LPP and surrounding areas today. After
finding a Mourning warbler on Bald Hill Rd. I removed 2 ticks from my
pant legs. Then after walking some of the trails at the Preserve I
discovered one partially embedded when I got home. This area is known
for having a plentiful tick population unfortunately.Kyle Gage

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[cayugabirds-l] MNWR hunting/fishing comment period

2020-03-30 Thread gagekm
FYI. Montezuma NWR is Seeking Public Input on Proposed Updates to
Hunting & Fishing Plans. 
Draft plan documents are available online at the refuge's website
homepage https://www.fws.gov/refuge/montezuma/. There you will find a
link to the proposed changes and updates. The comment period is open
until May 1st. Updates include: species changes, hunting area changes,
regulations, and season changes.
While this pertains to hunting/fishing the refuge staff would like to
hear from all its constituents, including birders. These are your
public lands so if you have comments re: the hunting/fishing updates
please submit them in writing to: 
 Montezuma NWR 3395 US Rt. 20 East, Seneca Falls, NY 13148. You may
also send comments via email to Andrea Van Beusichem, Visitors
Services Manager, andrea_vanbeusic...@fws.gov. 
Thank you to the refuge staff for all they do! 
Kyle GageCanandaigua



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[cayugabirds-l] 2019 Montezuma Muckrace results

2019-09-30 Thread gagekm


Some final numbers for the 23rd annual Montezuma Muckrace which took
place 9/6-9/7: 

34 teams took part with a total of 152 participants! 176 species
overall were recorded including a 1st for the Muckrace, Laughing gull.


Top team in each category; 

COMPETITIVE- Wind Birders- 119 species 

RECREATIONAL- Hovering Howlands Harriers- 130 species 

FAMILY/MENTOR- Silky Flycatchers- 113 species 

COLLEGIATE- Tofurkey vultures- 56 species 

LOW CARBON- Terns & Conditions- 51 species 

PHOTO- Shutterbirds- 70 species 

$10,978 was raised for the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex.
 This money helps support a variety of projects within the complex
including habitat restoration/enhancement, construction of observation
platforms, research projects, a MOTUS tracking system, among others.
THE TOP FUNDRAISING TEAM- Arrogant Bustards- $1900 

Thank you to all the teams and participants! 

Kyle Gage 

FOTMWC

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[cayugabirds-l] nesting outcomes (OOB)

2018-08-06 Thread gagekm
My nestboxes on the property (3 acres) here at home in Canandaigua were pretty 
successful for the most part this yr. 3 pairs of Bluebbirds were successful in 
fledging 27 young this yr. 1 pair nested 3 times fledging a total of 13 young 
(they lost 1 nestling in a brood of 4 during the inclement weather early in the 
season), a 2nd pair nested twice fledging 10 young. The 3rd pair nested twice 
but the 1st clutch had a House wren remove the 1st egg laid. The Bluebirds laid 
3 more eggs however but none hatched & I suspect they were infertile. This pair 
(I'm reasonably sure it was the same pair) moved to another house & raised a 
brood of 4. 5 of the 6 Bluebird broods were raised in a PVC style nestbox. 
Another pair nested on adjacent property in a house I installed but I didn't 
monitor that nestbox. 
A Chickadee was successful in raising 6 young and 2 House wrens nested, raising 
9 young total. A Tree swallow lost a clutch of 6 eggs (possibly removed by a 
Purple martin, nest was in a martin complex. Martins did not nest). The 
swallows did not renest unfortunately.
The Bluebirds and Chickadees were supplemented with daily (sometimes twice 
daily) offerings of mealworms and the adults and fledglings are still coming 
for them. 
A very interesting & enjoyable nesting season overall. 
Kyle Gage
Canandaigua

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[cayugabirds-l] Muckrace volunteers needed

2018-07-25 Thread gagekm
My name is Kyle Gage. As a member of the Muckrace Committee, I am tasked with 
recruiting volunteers for the 22nd Annual Muckrace. The Muckrace is a 24-hour 
birding event sponsored by the Friends of Montezuma, which takes place on 
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR), Department of Environmental 
Conservation (DEC), and Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) lands. This year's event 
will take place September 14th & 15th, 7pm-7pm, with a dinner/awards ceremony 
afterwards at the MAC. 

All volunteer positions would be at the MAC (2295 State Route 89 Savannah, NY). 
I am looking to fill the following positions:
*9/15: 2-5pm Registration
*9/15: 5-8pm Registration
*9/15: 6-8pm Checklist Verifier/ Compiler- 4-5 people needed

I have posted to the geneseebirds listserve and filled a couple of photography 
positions that were needed through that outlet.

If you are interested in volunteering for any one of these positions, or have 
any questions regarding the duties they entail, please contact me at 
gag...@twc.com or text or call 585-755-9820.

Thank you,
Kyle Gage
Canandaigua, NY


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