Cayuga Bird Club Newsletter -  June 2016
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June 2016

In This Issue:

From the President, Jody Enck

Cayuga Bird Club Picnic, June 13

2016-2017 CBC Budget


Cayuga Basin First Records

Upcoming Field Trips

May Meeting Minutes

Photos of local nests and fledglings

Field Trip Report: Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve
Wes Blauvelt

Field Trip Report: Hawthorn Orchard
Chris Tessaglia-Hymes

Field Trip Report: Shindagin Hollow
Laura Stenzler

Field Trip Report: Robinson Hollow
Meena Haribal

NYSOA Meeting September 9-11

Duck Stamps at Work: new additions to Wildlife Refuges


June 4  Field Trip to Connecticut Hill
Meet at Wegmans parking lot near the inlet at 7:30 am or  at the intersection of Connecticut Hill Rd., Boylan Rd., and Lloyd Starks Rd at 7:50 am.
Leader: Suan Yong

June 13  Cayuga Bird Club Picnic, 6:30 pm
Myers Point, Pavillion A, Lansing. Dish-to-pass dinner.

Sept. 9-11 NYSOA Annual Meeting
Riverview Holiday Inn, Elmira

Sept. 12  Cayuga Bird Club Meeting, 7:30 pm
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

See our Web Calendar for more events and field trips.

Annual Cayuga Bird Club Picnic, Monday, June 13
Our end-of-year Cayuga Bird Club dish-to-pass picnic will once again be held at Myers Point Park (off Route 34B in the town of Lansing) on June 13 at 6:30 pm.
Come meet and socialize with your fellow bird club members! Bring a generous dish-to-share, your own place setting, beverage, and binoculars, and join us at the pavilion close to the spit at Myers Point.  We will have a short walk to look for birds in the park after dinner.

First-of-Year Birds Reported during May 2016 for the Cayuga Lake Basin
Listed below are Cayuga Lake Basin first arrivals reported during the month of May, 2016. 
May  1   Willet
May  1  Long-billed Dowitcher
May  1  Red-eyed Vireo
May  1  Chestnut-sided Warbler
May  3  Semipalmated Plover
May  3  Cerulean Warbler
May  3  Wilson's Warbler
May  3  Scarlet Tanager
May  4  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
May  4  Hooded Warbler
May  6  Prothonotary Warbler
May  6  Clay-colored Sparrow
May  7  Mourning Warbler
May  7  Canada Warbler
May  8  Eastern Wood-Pewee
May  8  Philadelphia Vireo
May  8  Swainson's Thrush
May  8  Golden-winged Warbler
May  8  Tennessee Warbler
May  8  Orange-crowned Warbler
May  8  Cape May Warbler
May  9  Hudsonian Godwit
May  9  Yellow-billed Cuckoo
May  9  Black-billed Cuckoo
May  9  Worm-eating Warbler
May 10  Stilt Sandpiper
May 10  Short-billed Dowitcher 
May 10  Grasshopper Sparrow
May 12  White-rumped Sandpiper
May 12  Common Nighthawk
May 12  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
May 13  Acadian Flycatcher
May 13  Willow Flycatcher
May 13  Bay-breasted Warbler
May 14  Black Scoter
May 14  Least Bittern
May 14  Semipalmated Sandpiper
May 14  Red-headed Woodpecker
May 14  Olive-sided Flycatcher
May 14  Alder Flycatcher
May 20  Black-bellied Plover  
May 20  American Golden-Plover
May 21  Whimbrel
May 26  Wilson's Phalarope
May 26  Eastern Whip-poor-will
May 29  Laughing Gull
2016 count to date:   254 species
Thanks to Dave Nutter for compiling these records for the club.  Details are available on the CBC website

Upcoming Field Trips

On June 4, Suan Yong will lead a Cayuga Bird Club field trip to Connecticut Hill. Meet at 7:30 am at Wegmans parking lot (away from the store, by the inlet) or at 7:50 am at the intersection of Connecticut Hill Rd., Boylan Rd., and Lloyd Starks Rd. Plan to finish by noon. Bring water and a snack. Insect repellent may also be helpful.

This trip is open to both members and non-members of the Cayuga Bird Club.  All levels of experience are welcome.

Field trips may be scheduled later in the summer; these will be posted on the Cayuga Bird Club website and/or to the Cayugabirds Listserv.

May Cayuga Bird Club Meeting Minutes
recorded by Becky Hansen are available at the CBC website.  

The Ithaca Journal also reported on the new City of Ithaca ban on feeding waterfowl and other efforts to manage the Canada Goose population that were discussed by Josephine Martell and Rick Manning at the CBC meeting on May 9.
It's Nesting Season!
The migration season is slowing and the nesting season is getting into full swing.  This is the time of year to appreciate the birds that build their nests and raise their young here in the Finger Lakes region of New York. You may have American Robins, House Wrens, or Northern Cardinals nesting near your home, or you may see woodpeckers, swallows or chickadees going into nest cavities. Larger birds may be nesting in tree-tops, such as our local Merlins, Red-tailed Hawks, and American Crows.

Below are some recent photos of nests, hatchlings and fledgings in our area.

Wild Turkey nest with 11 eggs, photo by Donna Scott

American Robin nest, photo by Nancy Cusumano

Mourning Dove nest, photo by Suan Yong

Red-tailed Hawk nest with two hatchlings, photo by Suan Yong

Great Horned Owl fledglings, photo by Suan Yong

Barred Owl fledgling, photo by Paul Pflanz

Killdeer parent with chick, photo by Suzanne Horning

Note: Audubon has recently published helpful guidelines for photography of nesting birds to maintain their safety during the vulnerable process of rearing young. 

Duck Stamps at work
On April 20th the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) met to approve expenditures of $10.8 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF) to conserve 7,200 acres for six National Wildlife Refuges, through purchases of fee-title land and conservation easements. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as "Duck Stamps". The stamp program, of course, is waterfowl-driven, securing wetland and grassland habitat for the NWRS. But by default, the MBCC decisions benefit many other species of birds - shorebirds, long-legged waders, raptors, songbirds, and more - as well as broad selection of other wildlife.  
The NWR projects selected by the MBCC at last month's meeting were the following:
  • Cache River NWR, Arkansas - acquisition of 978 fee acres for $2,391,000.
  • Neches River NWR, Texas - acquisition of 952 fee acres for $1,476,351.
  • Nisqually NWR, Washington - acquisition of 809 fee acres and 140 easement acres for $3,466,000.
  • Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, California - acquisition of 160 fee acres for $560,000.
  • Umbagog NWR, Maine - acquisition of 4,091 fee acres for $2,583,000.
  • Willow Creek-Lurline NWR, California - acquisition of 115 easement acres for $402,000.
If you bought a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp last year, your investment in wetland and grassland conservation is paying off with these recent Refuge System acquisitions.


From the President 

Summer is Just Another Season for Birding

Hello Cayuga Bird Club Members, 

The big pulse of spring migration is past us now. Many of the birds that nest here in our area are well on their way to producing some fledglings (or even a second batch of fledglings by now). A few songbird species that nest in the Boreal Forest of North America are still trickling overhead, and the last big waves of shorebirds are winging their way to the Arctic for breeding. If you are like me, you enjoy these seasonal changes in the characters on Nature’s grand stage. 

Most of us have our own annual rhythms that we follow. Some of those rhythms are linked to the four seasons, some are linked to important days in our lives, or certain events. For me, nothing says “turn the page on the calendar” quite like paying attention to the comings-and-goings of the birds in my local patch. Summer is a busy time for birds locally. There still are territories and mates to defend, young to feed, and individual nutritional needs to attend (in advance of molting later in the summer).

Sure, birds are quieter now than in the Spring, and overall are less noticeable. But they are still out there. By the end of nesting season, a greater number of individuals of these nesting species will be here than at any other time of the year. Summer is a great time to bird locally. Get to know your bird neighbors. Take some notes. Take pictures, and share them with your friends on the Club’s Facebook page. Submit a checklist to eBird or follow the fate of some nests and submit them to NestWatch. Use YardMap to map out the bird habitat in your local patch. Summer is a great time to bird, so get out there and enjoy their company.
Please enjoy the company of your fellow Club Members, too, at our annual, dish-to-pass picnic on Monday June 13th. We’ll be gathering between 6:00 and 6:30 pm that evening at Pavilion A in Myer’s Point Park in Lansing. We’ll plan to eat around 6:30. Bring your binoculars as we’ll go on a little bird walk after eating. Please bring a main course, appetizer, or dessert to share, bring your own place settings, and something to drink.
As you enter the park, stop at the traffic booth and let them know you are attending the Cayuga Bird Club picnic. The Club is charged per car, so I strongly encourage you to consider car-pooling. I can take up to three other people in my car. One idea would be to meet at the Mall on Triphammer Road, and I could drive from there. I will facilitate the car-pooling idea as much as possible. If you either can offer a ride, or need a ride, please email me at and I will coordinate the effort.

See you at the picnic!

2016-2017 Budget 
Susan Danskin
At the May 9 Cayuga Bird Club meeting,the membership voted to approve the budget shown below.


Wes Blauvelt

Twelve club members and birding enthusiasts joined Ann Mitchell and me for a walk about the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve on Saturday, May 7, 2016. The morning started out with clear skies to the east and a strong morning sun, but as the day progressed the skies became overcast. The early light enhanced our observations of a Prairie Warbler and Veery near the entrance to the preserve. Along the path through the woods we encountered additional Prairie Warblers, along with Chestnut-sided Warblers and an early morning chorus of other song birds. From the path across the meadow we listened to singing Black-and-White and Blue-winged Warblers and heard the first of several Brown Thrashers. At Coleman Lake and the Beaver Pond overlook we observed Great Blue Heron, Solitary Sandpipers and a Killdeer, while the “Pleased, pleased, pleased to meetcha” calls of the Chestnut-sided Warbler and “squeaky” wheel of the Black-and-White Warblers continued. The first of several Wood Thrushes made its presence known here and Ruffed Grouse joined in the chorus with their muffled drumming.  Along with the grouse, an occasional gobble from a distant Wild Turkey could also be heard. Continuing along the trail, we observed Eastern Kingbirds, Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers around the kettle ponds and we heard our first Common Yellowthroats of the day. The trail through the honeysuckle shrubs produced additional warblers including Yellow and Yellow-rumped along with several Gray Catbirds.

We continued on the trail, working our way across the stream and railroad bed,  uphill into the forest and around Celia’s Cup. Ovenbirds were ever-present with their “teacher-teacher” calls and Wood Thrush and Veery also made their presence known.
Ovenbird photo by Becky Hansen

The blue trail through the forest produced Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Pileated Woodpeckers,  along with numerous Ovenbirds and our only Black-throated Blue Warbler of the day. This gem was difficult to find initially, but its continuing song lead us to finding it foraging high up in a stand of hemlocks.

As we worked our way back through the forest and meadows, we added Nashville Warbler to our count and several sparrow species, including White-throated, Field, and Song Sparrows and an Eastern Towhee. The species count for the day totaled 54.

May 14 and 15 Field Trips to the Hawthorn Orchard
Chris Tessaglia-Hymes

On Saturday morning, May 14, I led a Cayuga Bird Club trip at the Hawthorn Orchard. There were 27 participants, which made for an interesting challenge of getting people to see various birds, but I greatly thank everyone for helping each other out spotting birds that were seen – this was definitely teamwork! I especially want to call out Bob McGuire who stepped in to help out with the other end of the group: thank you, Bob!!

The highlight was most certainly the abundance of Tennessee Warblers (18-20 individuals). This species was seen and heard well by all. The abundance of this species presented an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how to estimate the number of individuals being seen or heard from a single location. By the end of the trip, everyone was confident in the identification of Tennessee Warblers both by sight and sound.

We saw or heard 68 species on Saturday, including 15 warbler species.  In addition to Tennessee Warblers, we found Blue-winged Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Nashville, Magnolia, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Blue, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll and Wilson's WarblersCommon YellowthroatAmerican Redstart,  and Northern Parula. Additional species of note included two Scarlet Tanagers, a singing Philadelphia Vireo, two Indigo Buntings, a Merlin flying over, a quiet Swainson's Thrush, several singing Wood Thrushes and a very accommodating pair of Purple Finches feeding on berries in the wooded ravine near the northeast corner. Several people also heard Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling from the Northeast corner. (Bob and Joan Horn heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in this area on Sunday as well).

On Sunday, May 15, fifteen souls braved the crisp WNW winds for a second morning walk at the Hawthorn Orchard. Despite the conditions, everyone got really nice looks at several accommodating individuals.  Highlights included 10 warbler species, fewer than Saturday, with Tennessee Warbler once again being the most abundant species.  We also saw several very showy Northern Parulas, one very cooperative Black-throated Blue Warbler and several American Redstarts, including at least one 1st-year male. Despite the cold and blustery conditions, we identified 47 bird species here on Sunday.

Thanks to everyone who joined me at the Hawthorn Orchard for these trips!

eBird reports with full species lists for each of these morning walks at the Hawthorn Orchard can be viewed here:
eBird checklist May 14
eBird checklist May 15

photos by Bob McGuire

May 21 Cayuga Bird Club Field Trip to Shindagin Hollow State Forest
Laura Stenzler

Ten people joined me on Saturday, May 21, to explore Shindagin Hollow south of Ithaca. A number of the participants had never been to this birding hotspot before, which made it especially fun for me! We met at the Lab of Ornithology at 7 am and carpooled to the northern end of the unpaved part of Shindagin Hollow Rd. We left four of the 5 cars there and dropped one about a mile further south. We then proceeded on a leisurely and productive walk to the second car. We heard and saw many of the breeding birds including Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Canada, Hooded, American Redstart, Mourning, Ovenbird and Chestnut-sided Warblers. There were many singing Veery and Wood Thrush and we also enjoyed a great look at a Scarlet Tanager. Many people were working on honing their song-ID skills, so we spent some time on that, sharing hints on remembering the differences. At one point, someone found a perched Broad-winged Hawk, which are known to breed in the area, and we also saw a Common Raven flying low in the trees. Once we reached the car, all drivers received a ride back to the start point to retrieve their cars, which allowed us to proceed another mile or so to the cedar swamp where we enjoyed the hillside full of white Trilliums. It was a great, birdy morning with wonderful company!
May 22 Field Trip to Robinson Hollow State Forest
Meena Haribal
Four participants - one club member and the rest members of the Haribal family - went to Robinson Hollow on this rainy day looking for birds. Initially, it drizzled and then it was more intense, so most of the time we birded from the car. We drove to Robinson Hollow Road (a seasonal road) and from there to Creamery Road and Seamons Road. Then via Hartford-Slaterville and Snyder Hill Road we returned to East Hill Plaza. We stopped for a few minutes at Goetchius Preserve on Flatiron road.
Highlights were Canada, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Blue-winged Warblers, two intensely fighting Veeries as well as other Veeries, and two singing Louisiana Waterthrushes along Robinson Hollow Road. We also saw and heard a few Bobolinks and a Yellow-throated Vireo on Seamons Road. On Flatiron Road we got a good look at a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,  three Eastern Kingbirds, and a beautiful Wood Duck. Overall we ended up seeing/hearing about 50 species of birds in spite of the continuous drizzle.
Come to Elmira September 9-11, 2016 for the NYS Birders Conference & NYSOA Annual Meeting
The Chemung Valley Audubon Society will host the 2016 Annual Meeting of the New York State Ornithological Association and the New York State Birders Conference. The conference will take place September 9-11 at the Riverview Holiday Inn, 760 East Water Street, Elmira, NY. As the hotel’s name indicates, the venue is on the shores of the Chemung River.
Friday afternoon, John James Audubon himself will take early arrivers on a bird walk along the river starting at the Holiday Inn. The target species is the Labrador Duck. The last report of the species was from the Chemung River in 1878. Mr. Audubon, portrayed by renowned historic person reenactor Brian Fox Ellis, will also take us back to his own past when he addresses attendees following the Friday night buffet dinner.
Saturday morning will begin with field trips to some of our local hot spots with hopes of finding numerous neotropic migrants. The Meeting of Delegates will take place later that morning while non-delegates continue their birding quests. The afternoon will feature the Paper Session.

The keynote speaker following Saturday evening’s dinner will be Dr. Richard (Rob) Bierregaard who will be presenting Tracking Ospreys in the Age of Silicon: Migration, Ecology, and Conservation. Dr. Bierregaard has radio tagged 52 juvenile and 43 adult Ospreys in order to learn the answers to questions such as: How far from home do they go to catch fish? When they migrate, do they follow the same path each year? Do they winter in the same locations? Where in the migratory cycle does most mortality occur? Are there bottlenecks where conservation intervention might help the species? How do young birds find their way to South America? Is the timing and relative importance of different sources of mortality the same for adults as it is for juveniles on their first migration south? His studies—the first to collect a significant body of data on juvenile migration—have led to surprising discoveries about the dispersal and migration of naïve Ospreys as they leave their natal territories and explore the world around them. Ever-more sophisticated satellite transmitters have enabled us to document in unprecedented detail the hunting behavior of adult males feeding their families. 
Osprey with young, Larry Master,
From 1995 to 2011, Dr. Bierregaard taught Ornithology and Ecology in the Biology Department of UNC Charlotte, where he was the major advisor for 6 M.Sc. students. Previously (1988-1993) he managed the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP) out of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. Dr. Bierregaard was the original field director of the BDFFP in Manaus, Brazil. While running the project for 8 years (1979-88), he and his students collected data from over 50,000 mist-net captures of 25,000 individual understory birds in continuous and fragmented rainforest habitat.
Dr. Bierregaard focuses on the conservation and ecology of raptors and Neotropical birds. His papers have been published in a number of scientific journals, including Conservation Biology, J. Raptor Res., Ornithological Monographs, and BioScience. Dr. Bierregaard co-authored the Osprey account for the Birds of North America Project, wrote the 81 species accounts for the Neotropical Falconiformes in the Handbook of Birds of the World, and edited Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management and Conservation of Fragmented Communities, as well as Lessons From Amazonia: The Ecology and Management of a Fragmented Forest. His present research focuses on Osprey population dynamics in southeastern New England and the migration of Ospreys in eastern North America.  He has presented papers at annual meetings of the American Ornithologists' Union, Society for Conservation Biology, Brazilian Ornithological Society, International Ornithological Union, Ecological Society of America, Raptor Research Foundation, and International Association of Landscape Ecology. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union and was recently re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Raptor Research Foundation. In 2011 he moved from Charlotte to Wynnewood, PA, where he is now a research associate of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Watch for further details about the meeting on the NYSOA website at

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. To join, send a check (made out to “Cayuga Bird Club”) to Cayuga Bird Club Treasurer, c/o Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. Online payment option is available at the Cayuga Bird Club website.

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
Stay in touch with the Cayuga Bird Club through our Facebook page and Cayuga Bird Club Website
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Cayuga Bird Club
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca NY 14850