Cayuga Lake and Montezuma, November 19th 2011

Leader: Jay McGowan

Fifteen enthusiastic birders joined me for the Cayuga Bird Club field trip today. As promised, we drove up the east side of the lake and Montezuma. It was very windy along the lake and much of Montezuma, but we had a great day of birding. Some of the highlights:

Myers Point - Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser; not too much of note.

Aurora Bay - flock of about 12 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS with at least two SURF SCOTERS and two LONG-TAILED DUCKS mixed in, two Horned Grebes, lots of Common Loons.

Union Springs Factory Street Pond - EASTERN SCREECH-OWL sunning in the mouth of the box, three Gadwall.

Union Springs Mill Pond - seven Bufflehead, two male Redhead

Harris Park at Cayuga - very little; rather large flock of apparent scaup along the shore of the marsh but the wind and waves were such that we couldn't make much out; a few American Wigeon.

Montezuma Visitor Center - 14 DUNLIN, many Northern Shovelers, great looks at a family of four TUNDRA SWANS that flew in and landed in front of us.

Viewing from Towpath Road

Montezuma Wildlife Drive - practically no waterfowl on the main pool; one American Coot, one Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Shovelers, several Norther Harriers.

Montezuma Benning Marsh - 24 DUNLIN, one SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, Green-winged Teal.

Montezuma Mays Point - beautiful looks at a juvenile PEREGRINE FALCON perched in the dead snags over the canal, nothing unexpected among the many geese and ducks on the pool.

Montezuma Towpath Road - flock of perhaps 5000 SNOW GEESE in Knox-Marsellus, in which I was eventually able to pick out one adult ROSS'S GOOSE, one juvenile ROSS'S GOOSE, and one ROSS'S X SNOW GOOSE HYBRID, along with the usual assortment of Snow Goose variation. The hybrid I was on may have eluded the majority of the group, but I think everyone got great (well, pretty good considering the distance!) looks at the immature Ross's. Also 14 SANDHILL CRANES, ~500 TUNDRA SWANS, lots of Northern Pintail and other ducks, and an excellent little CACKLING GOOSE picked out by Andy Johnson at Puddlers.

Savannah Mucklands - three Bald Eagles, a PEREGRINE FALCON perched on the ground, Northern Harrier, probably the same group of 14 SANDHILL CRANES that flew over from Towpath area.

Rt. 89 a mile south of 5&20 - MERLIN perched on a telephone pole.

Deans Cove (west side of Cayuga Lake) - the resident LESSER BLACK-BACKED was sitting on the water off the point and then flew to the south. One male Ring-necked Duck and a few Common Loons on the lake.

Sheldrake Point - three female LONG-TAILED DUCKS, one WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, three Hooded Mergansers flying south down the lake, more Common Loons.

I think we ended the day with 68 species, and I know that one participant got 11 life birds today and another not far below that. All in all, a very enjoyable (and not TOO cold) day of November birding.