Cayuga Bird Club Newsletter -  March 2017
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March 2017

In This Issue:

Cayuga Bird Club Meeting, March 13
Speaker: Jody Enck
Sister Bird Club Network: Linking Clubs in the US and Honduras through the Neotropical Migratory Birds We Share

From the President
Jody Enck


Cayuga Basin First Records

Marie Read photo exhibit, Free Spirits 

Rescission of Club Vote for Expenditure

Stewart Park Bird Walks

March CBC Field Trips

CBC Interview: Lynn Leopold

Field Trip Report, Around the Lake
Ann Mitchell

Field Trip Report- Feb 26
Suan Yong

March 6 CLO Seminar: Dr. Andrew Farnsworth

INLS Symposium March 10-11

Spring Field Ornithology 2017


Mar. 4  Bird Walk at Stewart Park, 9:00 am 
Leader: Jody Enck
Meet at Stewart Park, west end 

Mar. 6  Monday Night Seminar, 7:30 pm
Speaker:  Dr. Andrew Farnsworth
Perspectives on Nocturnal Bird Migration: What we've learned from BirdCast
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Mar. 10 - August 31 Free Spirits, Bird Photography by Marie Read, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Mar. 13  Opening Reception for Free Spirits, Bird Photography by Marie Read,
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Mar. 13  Cayuga Bird Club Meeting, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Speaker:  Jody W. Enck, PhD, Conservation Social Scientist, and President, Cayuga Bird Club
Sister Bird Club Network: Linking Clubs in the US and Honduras through the Neotropical Migratory Birds We Share
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Mar. 18  Bird Walk at Stewart Park, 9:00 am
Leader: Jody Enck
Meet at Stewart Park, west end 

Mar. 19  Field Trip to Oswego River, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Leader: Meena Haribal
Meet at Cornell Lab of O. parking area

Mar. 26  Owling Field Trip, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Leader: John Confer
Meet at Cornell Lab of O. parking area

Apr. 3  Monday Night Seminar, 7:30 pm
Speaker:  Dr. Juan Pablo Culasso
A World of Sound
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Apr. 8  Field Trip to Dryden Lake, 7:30 am - noon
Leader:  Ann Mitchell
Meet at Cornell Lab of O. parking area

Apr. 10 Cayuga Bird Club Meeting and Seminar, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Speakers:  Bruce P. Smith and Kit Muma, Biology Dept., Ithaca College
Kiwis and Kokakos: Wildlife Conservation in New Zealand
See our Web Calendar for more events and field trips.
First-of-Year Birds Reported during February for the Cayuga Lake Basin
Listed below are Cayuga Lake Basin first arrivals reported last month.
Feb. 5    Thayer's Gull
Feb. 5    Eastern Phoebe
Feb. 10  Pine Siskin
Feb. 16  Golden Eagle
Feb. 19  Eurasian Wigeon
Feb. 22  Killdeer
Feb. 22  American Woodcock
Feb. 23  Black Vulture
2017 total count to date:   129 species
Thanks to Dave Nutter for compiling these records for the club. Details are available on the CBC website

Free Spirits,
Bird Photography by Marie Read

Wildlife photographer (and Cayuga Bird Club member) Marie Read will be exhibiting a collection of bird photographs, Free Spirits, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology from March 11 through August 31, 2017. The public is invited to the opening night reception for the exhibition at the Cornell Lab on Monday March 13, 5:30-7:30 pm (before the Cayuga Bird Club monthly meeting).

Wildlife photographer and author Marie Read is known for her exquisite bird photos that often tell a story as well as being beautiful. Her images appear in magazines (including Living Bird, Bird Watching, Nature’s Best, and National Wildlife), books, calendars, websites, and educational exhibits worldwide. While Marie is best known for her photos of backyard birds, Free Spirits includes a selection of her more evocative images—birds as graphic elements, as part of environmental patterns, or portrayed under unusual lighting conditions.
February Cayuga Bird Club Meeting Minutes
are available at the CBC website
Good Intentions Conflict with Club's Non-profit Status

At our January Club meeting, a motion was made for the Cayuga Bird Club to support Marie Read’s photography exhibit by providing $230 to cover the cost of renting the space at the Lab of Ornithology for the opening reception. After brief discussion in support of the idea, the motion passed. However, it was later brought to the attention of the club's executive committee that using our funds for this purpose is in violation of our status as a charitable non-profit organization, as the funds would primarily benefit an individual member of the club. The executive committee had a lengthy discussion trying to find a workable solution. In the end, they made the decision to rescind the vote of the membership for this proposal.  

This was a learning experience for us, and we would like to ensure that future proposals for expenditures are in compliance with club by-laws before they are brought to a vote. In the future, if a club member has an idea for a club expenditure that they would like to propose, they should submit the motion in writing to the Club President who will share it with executive committee members (i.e., Vice President, Treasurer, and Directors) for review, to ascertain that the proposal is in keeping with our by-laws and the rules that govern our nonprofit status. After approval by the board, the motion can then be introduced at the next club meeting.

Bird Walks at Stewart Park
Please join the Cayuga Bird Club and Friends of Stewart Park as we welcome back migrating birds in Stewart Park this month. Bird walks will be led by Jody Enck on Saturday, March 4th, and Saturday, March 18th, starting at 9:00 am. Meet at the west end of the park by the boathouse. No birding experience necessary, just come have fun!
CBC Field Trips 
Mar. 19 and Mar. 26 

The Cayuga Bird Club has scheduled two field trips in March. These trips are open to all.

On Sunday, March 19, Meena Haribal will lead a full day trip (8:00 am - 4:30 pm) to Oswego River and Oswego Harbor (or to other areas depending on the weather). We will be looking for wintering waterfowl. Meet at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology parking lot at 8:00 am. Bring lunch and something to drink; we will also make a stop to purchase coffee and food. Dress warmly for the weather. For questions, contact Meena at or phone 607-229-8710. Bring a scope if you have one.
On Sunday, March 26, John Confer will lead an evening trip to look for owls. This is the middle of the nesting season for some owls or courting season for others. 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 be lucky to get more than two species. Meet at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology parking lot at 7:00 pm. North Wood Rd., Star Stanton Hill, Park Preserve are on our list of stops. Remember, it can be cold standing around waiting for an owl to answer.
P.S. Since owls get tired of hearing tapes and don't respond a multiple of times, I'd appreciate it if these sites were not tested for owls in the preceding week. 
Thanks. - John Confer

Please check the Cayuga Bird Club calendar for updates in case there are date changes for these or any other field trips.

CLO Monday Night Seminar

When: March 6, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road

Speaker: Dr. Andrew Farnsworth, Research Associate, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Title: Perspectives on Nocturnal Bird Migration: What we've learned from BirdCast

Description: Bird migration is a spectacular global phenomenon that has long captured the attention of human observers. But it wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that ornithologists realized the magnitude of migration that occurred at night. Now in the early 21st century, several technologies have advanced sufficiently far to allow us to achieve new understandings of the magnitude and characteristics of nocturnal bird migration across a broad range of scales in new and different ways. The BirdCast project is a collaborative effort between ornithologists and computer scientists to further our understanding of the biology of bird migration by using state of the art machine learning and computer science techniques in combination with data collected with remote sensing methods, like radar and acoustic monitoring, to achieve these understandings. Dr. Andrew Farnsworth will speak about some of the novel insights gleaned and results produced so far from this fascinating project.

This talk is being streamed live. Bookmark this web page to watch live seminars and sign up for alerts about upcoming presentations.

Admission: Free

Ithaca Native Landscape Symposium March 10-11, 2017
Cinemapolis Downtown Arts Theater

The Ithaca Native Landscape Symposium is still open for registration. This event is intended for anyone with an interest in native plants and their use in the landscape.Ten speakers from the northeast will present over two days, on native plant topics ranging from design challenges, availability, installation, the nursery industry, plant selection, pollinators, created habitat, natural habitat and more. Registration can be for one day or both.

Keynote Speaker:  Catherine Zimmerman
Catherine Zimmerman is an award-winning director of photography, celebrates her 40th year as a documentary filmmaker, working primarily on education and environmental issues.

2017 INLS Speaking Topic:  Creating Habitat Heroes Across the Nation
Zimmerman and film crew spent two years traveling the country to create the documentary film:  Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home.  Zimmerman’s film features renowned entomologist Dr. Douglas Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures on the use of non-native plants in landscaping, sound the alarm about habitat and species loss. This presentation will discuss the success stories and works in progress, that re-awaken and redefine our relationship with Nature.
Featured Speaker: Janet Allen, PhD
Janet is president and co-founder of the local Wild Ones chapter Habitat Gardening in Central New York (HGCNY).  Janet has contributed articles to the Wild One’s Journal, Upstate Gardners’ Journal, Woodlands and Prairies Magazine, National Wildlife Federation's Habitats Newsletter, and many more. 
2017 INLS Speaking Topic:  Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard
Learn how to provide the basic habitat elements birds need: food, water, cover, and places for them to raise their young. Learn about the vital role of native plants in providing for their needs. Finally, learn how you can provide a safe place for birds in your yard and in the world beyond.
Cayuga Bird Club members can receive a special discount with these promo codes: 
$20 off the 2-day registration fee for Cayuga Bird Club members and friends:  GROUPCBC.
For a special $35 half-day rate for Saturday (morning or afternoon attendance), including the lunchtime film, use code:  FILMPLUS.
For more information or to register, visit the INLS website

Discover birds of the Cayuga Lake region and beyond!

March 29 - May-21, 2017

The 2017 Spring Field Ornithology course taught by Stephen W. Kress is open for registration. This popular 8 week course features lectures, weekend field trips and special overnight trips to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Cape May, New Jersey.

For more information, see the course website at

Cayuga Bird Club Meeting, March 13

Sister Bird Club Network: Linking Clubs in the US and Honduras through the Neotropical Migratory Birds We Share


Speaker: Jody Enck, PhD, Conservation Social Scientist and President, Cayuga Bird Club

Jody is a lifelong birder and current President of the Cayuga Bird Club. In October and November of 2016, he traveled around Honduras meeting with nearly all the bird clubs there to "test the waters" about the idea of establishing a sister bird club network. Clubs in Honduras enthusiastically jumped on-board with the idea. Jody will share pictures and stories about the birds and birders he met during almost 5 weeks in Honduras. In particular, he will share ideas from the clubs in Honduras about how a sister club network might play out. He will pass along some of the things he learned about how "our birds of summer" behave and use habitat so differently when they are on the wintering grounds. He also will share ideas the Honduran clubs have for hosting birders from our club in the near future.

The meeting will be held at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Doors open at 7:00 pm and there will be cookies and conversation starting at 7:15. Bird club business begins at 7:30 pm followed by the presentation. All are welcome.

From the President 

Jody Enck

Hello Cayuga Bird Club,

I always look forward to March each year, and it’s not just because my birthday is in March. For me, March is the noticeable beginning of spring migration! Early in March, I expect to see flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles streaming overhead like the run-off from melted snow. Wintering flocks of diving ducks and grebes on the Lake will be joined by a growing diversity of dabbling ducks like Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal, and Northern Pintails. Huge flocks of Snow Geese will pass overhead and mass on Cayuga Lake and in the north end of the Cayuga Lake Basin like icing on the waterfowl migration cake. And all this is just the beginning of an unstoppable flow of migration that will grow in size and diversity for the next couple of months. I hope that this bi-annual pulse of bird migration makes you feel as connected to Nature as it does for me.

Another way to feel connected to Nature is to see some great photos of birds and other wildlife. I am not much of a photographer, but I do enjoy the photographic talents of others. Please plan to come early to our March 13th meeting to see some of these talents on display. Our very own Marie Read is having a reception and opening for an art show of her work in the auditorium at the Lab of Ornithology. The show is called “Free Spirits: Bird Photographs by Marie Read.” Doors will open at 5:30 pm that night for the reception. Refreshments will be available. Come and enjoy spectacular photography before our monthly Club meeting.

And speaking of the March Club meeting, don’t forget that I will be talking about my recent trip to Honduras on the search for some of our migrating birds of summer which (sensibly) spend the winter in tropical Honduras. Those of you who followed the blog posts of my trip that I shared on the Cayuga Bird Club Facebook page know that I also was in Honduras to explore the idea of establishing a Sister Bird Club Network that would connect Clubs throughout the Western Hemisphere that are linked by the Neotropical migratory birds that we share. If you can’t wait until our meeting to find out more about this idea, please visit the webpage for the network at  

In the meantime, look out your window, go for a hike, take a friend, and go birding!


An Interview with Lynn Leopold 
Diane Morton

Last month I met with Lynn Leopold, a long-time Cayuga Bird Club member, at the home that she and her late husband, plant biologist and conservationist Carl Leopold, built in the woods above Cayuga Lake. Lynn is well known for her work on Recycling in Tompkins County and is now President of Finger Lakes ReUse. I asked her to tell me more about Finger Lakes ReUse, birding, and other interests. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.

I know you’ve been involved in lots of environmental projects—

Mostly things to do with trash. I worked for the Tompkins County Solid Waste division as a recycling specialist, which meant I did a lot of education and outreach and tours. I was kind of the one who harangued everybody to recycle. I was going into classrooms, teaching about recycling. I did that for about fifteen years.

Then I sort of stepped upward in the hierarchy of managing materials to the Finger Lakes ReUse Center. I am President of the board of that now. We have a store in Triphammer Mall and a store down on Elmira Road.

became aware of the ReUse Center when someone was helping us on a remodeling project and they took things to the ReUse center. It’s a wonderful idea.

You know, even with remodeling, we will come and strip stuff out for you. We do deconstruction; we’ve actually taken buildings apart board by board, and salvaged as much as we possibly can, including things like fiberglass insulation, flooring, windows and doors, appliances, fixtures, all of that. If it’s usable, we’ll sell it. We will charge for the deconstruction, but then you get the write-off for the materials being donated. It’s a win-win situation. We keep those materials local and the money pretty much stays local. It’s a fabulous project!

How did the ReUse Center start?

We started in one store at Triphammer Mall and then very quickly we realized that we couldn’t possibly accommodate everything we were getting…. We knocked out a big hole in the wall and now two stores at Triphammer are joined… And we’re about to build a four-story or more addition to the building down on Elmira Road. It’s a big joint project with Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and Tompkins Community Action. We have a huge state grant from NYSERDA. We can build it and then turn the actual housing and management of it over to the local agencies that do housing. We would use at least two floors of the building, sales on the ground floor and administration on the second floor. Part of our building plan includes a big pole barn that will be accessible by forklift for all of the lumber and building materials.

People are just donating so much stuff. We’re now at around 80 percent self-supporting.  We still take a lot of grants. We’re about to go into a capital campaign to raise the rest of the money to both pay off the building we’re in and for the rest of the money we’ll need to build this new building.

How is what someone brings to the ReUse Center different from what someone would bring to the Salvation Army, for example?

We certainly differentiate ourselves from the Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and any of the other ReUse operations. Significant Elements is another one— a project of Historic Ithaca. Our mission is enhancing community, economy, and environment through ReUse. We have this triple bottom line. The economy for us is local and regional- keep this money local, where it can do the most good. And it’s about reducing the amount of material that goes to the landfill, and also cutting back on the environmental cost of making new things— which is huge. And then there is the community, the people we serve. We now have a workforce of 24 people, a lot of them full-time; many of them never had jobs or were very unemployable. We have a training program, called ReSET Tech, where they learn how to diagnose computer problems and work on electronics.  We take electronics, we take them apart, we salvage what we can, we pirate stuff and use it in other things. We will strip down computers, wipe everything off the hard drives, reload software, and sell them. So these people are learning these kinds of skills. We work with Workforce New York- we’re training people to get into the workforce. It’s small, but every little bit helps. And there is the housing that we’re going to do— supportive housing, we think, for people who have no homes, or they’re coming out of incarceration. There’s not enough of that kind of housing. We’re really interested in serving the under-served. We do it both through our job skills training and we hope through the housing project. In that way we differentiate ourselves from the other parts of the ReUse community. But we’re all in it together.

How did you first get interested in birds?

I started birding in Colorado, where I lived, with a couple of really close friends who were avid birders. I had noticed birds growing up and my mother knew a few birds but “birding?”— as a sport, as an activity, as a pastime— that didn’t cross my radar until I was probably about 30. Then I got really, really interested and I took the old Cornell Home Study course [in Ornithology], back in the days when you got sent a packet of pages in the mail, and you filled them all out and you sent them back. Somebody up there at the old lab actually went through and graded your pieces and sent them back to you!  And then I got more and more interested in it. I ended up working at a nature center in Colorado Springs for a couple years, so birding was one of the things that I got better and better at. I got very active with the local Audubon chapter. I remember meeting Steve Kress. Back in the old days Audubon used to have this lecture tour system, before people saw all the nature films on television. You saw them by going to a theater, and the lecturer would come and talk to you about this marvelous place that they had been and they’d have this beautiful film. Well, Steve came and talked to us about the Puffin Project. So I met Steve in probably the early ’70’s… he was just starting on the Puffin Project then.

Then I came here for grad school. My husband Carl was already a member of the Cayuga Bird Club, when I moved here in ’79, and then I joined. We’ve always been involved in the Christmas Bird Count, since I first came here.

I was also a trip leader for Steve, for the Spring Field Ornithology class. Now I’m on the board of the Greensprings Natural Cemetery, which is where my husband is buried. He helped found that cemetery. Spring Field Ornithology comes out and spends two days at Arnot and they come up to Greensprings because we’re right next to Arnot. I’m usually out there when the groups come so they can get a little orientation to the place.... The birds out there are fabulous. We’ve got Bobolinks over the meadows, and lots of other birds. I’m trying to develop a decent species list for what’s seen there in terms of breeding birds, and what passes through— why the habitat is important.

What are some of your favorite places to bird locally?

A lot of the [Finger Lakes] Land Trust holdings are wonderful places to bird. Lindsay-Parsons is probably my most favorite, because there is the most variety there and Carl and I loved going there. You hit so many different kinds of habitat; it just a very rich place. I remember when Chris Tessaglia-Hymes found the first Worm-eating Warbler out there. And apparently they’re out there almost every year, up on the hillside…. That’s pretty amazing to me— that’s got to be the northernmost spot for them.

Of course, the idea behind Lindsay-Parsons really came from Tom Eisner. He was a fantastic insect ecologist at Cornell, and a very dear friend of Carl’s. Tom wanted the scientific world that’s doing all this biological prospecting in the tropics-- looking for the next cure for cancer, the next wonderful antibiotic or something-- to do prospecting like that in temperate forests. He managed to get a grant from one of the big pharmaceutical companies to help fund purchasing that land. He had some grad students who went out there looking at fungi and all kinds of insects and a lot of different things. I don’t know how much research is actually being done out there anymore. But that was the main idea.

Are there other activities that you can tell me about?

I am also a musician. Music was my first love; I majored in it in college. I left music to go into environmental education when I came here. It was kind of a big switch around for me. But music has always been part of my life. I sing. I used to be in an early music group, Luscinia, for about five years. I’ve been sitting in on a bunch of different choral groups; I actually joined a group with one of my friends who moved to Washington. I went with her in the fall, with a choral group out of Washington DC, to Berlin and Gdansk, and sang in cathedrals. That was really, really fun. We learned some wonderful choral music. 

I saw the shopping bags you’ve made from birdseed bags- what a creative reuse idea!

I think of all the birdseed bags that get thrown away every year. It makes me crazy! I love creative reuse. There is no limit to the goodies that are out there in the waste stream that you can play with. 

Even something small like that gets people to think more about what they might be able to reuse instead of throwing away.

We’re just not thinking very much about the nature of stuff and the life of materials that we buy and where they come from. That’s what a lot of this is about, is getting everyone to think a little more deeply about the part that they play in our consumer culture, and the ultimate negative impacts that all has.  

Thank you so much for talking with me today.

Around the Lake - February 11
Ann Mitchell

Seven very enthusiastic birders met me at Stewart Park for an all day trip around Cayuga Lake on February 11. We started at Stewart Park where we saw Redheads, Canvasback, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Wigeon, Common Goldeneye, Black Ducks, Bufflehead, Mallards, and two species of Mergansers. There were also two Tundra Swans which was surprising. Our next stops were Ladoga and Myers Point where the only new species we found was Ring-necked Duck. After that we cruised the back roads for field birds. The only place we saw any was at Belltown Dairy on Mahaney Road. We saw 70 or so Horned Larks and around 100 Snow Buntings in a far field. There was at least one Lapland Longspur that only one person saw. Before anyone else could get on it, all the birds flew.

At Lake Road Bluffs in Aurora, we counted 15 Horned Grebes. Driving toward the Boathouse, we spotted a Merlin in a tree. We speculated that it might be one of the Merlins that nested there last year.

There was nothing new around the Aurora Boathouse, so we headed to Factory Pond in Union Springs. There we saw 3 new species; 1 Gadwall, 1 Coot, and 3 early Green-winged Teal. The next stop was Mill Pond where there were some ducks, but nothing new for the day. North of Cayuga at Mud Lock we saw at least 100 Tundra Swans, 200 Ring-necked Ducks, and some Northern Pintails. A Bald Eagle was sitting in a nearby tree. 

After lunch we drove by Millennium Marsh where there were two light-phase Rough-legged Hawks flying around. One landed in the field which gave everyone great scope views.

We then went to Cayuga State Park to we if we could add anything new to our day list. There were two Mute Swans and a couple Great Blue Herons there. Some of the participants hadn't seen the Snowy Owls this winter, so we went to Lott Farm and the Seneca Falls Regional Airport, but all we saw were lots of crows. Too bad! We went to Hoster Road where the Gyrfalcon has been roosting. Unfortunately, it wasn't there. I started scanning the field on the other side of the road and found some Horned Larks. After much searching, we found two Lapland Longspurs. I looked at the time and was surprised to see it was 4:00. Boy, time flies!

I wanted to show people where the Northern Shrike hangs out at the corner of Seybolt and Canoga Roads. The bird was at the place I usually see it - on the wire!! Everyone got great looks! We ended the trip with more than 55 species which was pretty good for a winter's day outing.  Thanks to everyone who came!!

Group photo by Ann Mitchell, Merlin photo by Diane Morton, Rough-Legged Hawk photo by Dave Nicosia.

Around the Lake, February 26 
Suan Yong

After a spell of unseasonable warmth reaching into the 70s, this Sunday morning's 30-degree temps accompanied by a sudden mini snow squall did not deter four hardy participants from joining my full-day around-the-lake field trip.

We started at Ladoga Point where 19 Tundra Swans loafed offshore while a larger group flew past, and a raft of American Coots was accompanied by a lone Lesser Scaup. We also saw the first of many Common Grackles we would see in the area, back up north earlier than normal. In the windy spit at Myers Park were some American Pipits foraging amid the gulls, and when they eventually took off as a group their numbers reached possibly as high as 25. There were also at least two noisy Killdeer, many American Robins working the lawns, plus Northern Flickers, Eastern Bluebird, and Belted Kingfisher.

Next, we drove down Sweazey Road to find the Eastern Screech Owl happily roosting in its cavity. After posing nicely for photos and scope views, we turned around from various individual distractions to find that it had quietly disappeared. We couldn't tell whether it had flown off or just retreated deeper into the cavity.

We zig-zagged our way to Indian Field Road where we stopped a few times to scope out Horned Larks, Northern Harriers, and American Kestrels, but did not find our hoped-for snowy owl. Cutting back across Poplar Ridge, we paused by a field hosting a "small" flock of around 100 Snow Geese, en route to the Aurora boathouse from where we scanned into the blustery wind, finding a couple of American Goldeneye, some distant Horned Grebes, and some closer Buffleheads.

After a break at the Village Market, we continued to Union Springs. The Factory Street Pond had a Northern Shoveler, some Buffleheads, and two sleeping ducks postured in a way that made for a fun identification challenge: Green-Winged Teals. In the harbor we watched endless skeins of Snow Geese arriving from the north to land in an enormous white mass in the middle of the lake; soon that mass erupted in spectacular fashion, flushed by a distant large raptor, likely an eagle. The Mill Street Pond was quiet save for three Redheads and some Buffleheads.

In the village of Cayuga we scoped from above the park at the modest scattering of Aythyas, with all the expected species represented (Canvasback, Greater Scaup, and Ring-Necked Duck being new for the day), plus American Wigeon and Gadwall. At Mud Lock we could discern the head of a roosting Bald Eagle on the nest, the yellow of its bill sometimes visible. Here there was a gathering of birders to exchange notes, like the Eurasian Wigeon just seen at Lower Lake Road.

After a quick lunch break, we went to Lower Lake Road to scan its large Aythya raft, again with all expected species represented, but despite much effort from multiple vantages we were unable to locate the Eurasian Wigeon. We drove west to Seybolt Road where at the corner with Canoga Road we quickly found the Northern Shrike perched atop a tree; it soon sallied about and landed on the power lines in various spots for great views. Feeling lucky again, we scanned the quarry on Hoster Road hoping for the Gyrfalcon, but only managed to find a very distant upright shape that we concluded was a Cooper's Hawk.

Driving south to Reese Road, the gas well did not host any snowy owls. At Dean's Cove we counted over 100 Red-Breasted Mergansers, and also quickly located the resident Lesser Black-Backed Gull hanging out with some of them. This rounded out a nice full day of birding with great company.

Cayuga Bird Club

Educating and inspiring the birding community of the Cayuga Lake Basin and Central New York since 1914

The Cayuga Bird Club meets on the second Monday of each month, September through June, beginning with refreshments at 7:15 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Johnson Center on Sapsucker Woods Road. All meetings and most field trips are free and open to the public. Membership costs $15 annually per household, $10 for students, payable in September. Payment may be made via Paypal at or by mailing a check to
Cayuga Bird Club, c/o Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca NY 14850.
Please include your email address (or addresses for family memberships) with your membership application to receive the club newsletter.

Members receive via email the monthly Cayuga Bird Club Newsletter, from September through June. Newsletter submissions may be sent to Diane Morton, Of particular interest are articles about local bird sightings, bird behavior, birding hot spots, book reviews, and original poetry, art, and photos.  

Cayuga Bird Club Officer Contact Information is available on the Cayuga Bird Club website.  

Chickadee illustration in masthead by Karen Allaben-Confer
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