Field Trip January 22nd, 2012

- by Bill Baker

I was joined by 12 very hardy souls for this half-day trip on Sunday. It was 3 degrees when we met in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology parking lot. After a brief discussion, we decided to go up the west side of the lake to look for the Snowy Owl reported the day before. Although we didn’t find the Snowy Owl, we did find a number of nice birds, with several people seeing life birds.

East Shore and Stewart Parks were very quiet, with the three expected gull species and Canada Geese but very little else. We did find several Common Mergansers at Stewart Park. The mist off the lake definitely interfered with viewing.

Next we drove to Ovid with hopes of a Snowy Owl but were disappointed, as were several other groups looking for the bird. We got good views of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs on Wycoff Road near Rock River Road. Thanks to tips from various people, we had good views of a Short-eared Owl perched low in a small spruce in the first yard north of Wycoff Road on Rock River Road. The Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Short-eared Owl were life birds for various people in the group.

We headed north on back roads and then to the lake on Route 128. We found a few ducks on the lake, including several American Black Ducks. We initially overshot the ice edge, ending up north of it, but the benefits were a large number of Tundra Swans (roughly 200 or more) seen on the ice and an adult Bald Eagle being chased by crows at a turnaround place near Cayuga Lake State Park.

Our last stop was Red Jacket Yacht Club. Here we added two Snow Geese, a large number of Mallards, a male Greater Scaup, a couple of Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, four more Bald Eagles, Common Loon, and a heard-but-not-seen Belted Kingfisher.

All in all we had a good, though very cold, morning of birding.