Monday, July 04, 2016

Birthday Birds

As a sort of an early birthday treat, Alan took me up to Montezuma yesterday. We "unwrapped" an amazing array of birdie gifts ..... Three lifers in one day for me. At least four for Alan.

Just the road into the place offered Osprey nests in rows, some with adult birds perched on them, one with nestlings peering over the edge. We spotted thirteen species of birds before we left the parking lot at the entrance.

Of course, we quickly discovered the requisite unidentifiable LBB. Little brown bird. There is one on every trip... I think, after perusing the one foggy photo Alan was able to nab as it flitted in and out of the cattails, that it is a Marsh Wren. It never actually showed itself to me......wrong side of the car.....I have it up on the Facebook Bird ID Group of the World The members thereof have held my hand through a lot of tough birds and taught me a lot about how to look and what to look for. Where was the Internet when I was a kid learning to bird? *Update: Marsh Wren confirmed.

Once into the refuge proper, although numbers of birds were a bit thin, rarities abounded.

Cheerful Purple Martins are busy near the entrance. Note the chicks in nest number 12

First, we saw Black Terns. These are NYS endangered birds that nest there, which we had not before seen. We were scoping out one of the pools that could be fairly well seen from the road (cattails obscure the view in a lot of places) and they came swooping in in good numbers. What a thrill! 

There were American Coots in great numbers, Pied Billed Grebes everywhere, a few Blue Winged Teal, and best of all, many had chicks and ducklings. We had previously seen a grebe here and a grebe there on our visits, but they were everywhere yesterday.

Most people are quite courteous, but this guy had that NASCAR thing going on,
racing around the roads and even going the wrong way on the one-way parts.
There's one in every.....
We crept around very slowly, with cars passing us constantly. Didn't matter, we were getting the birds. A couple of Common Moorhens noodled around the mats of vegetation with the coots.

Over at the Tschache Pool, we climbed the tower, as always. (This time I managed not to slice my hand open on the railing) Thanks to the one what brung me, who has incredible eyesight, which I much envy BTW, I got to see a bucket list kind of bird, which I had despaired of ever actually finding. 

Way down on the now-dry pool, two cinnamon-colored birds grazed together at the edge of some dry vegetation. Not lifers for me, as I saw plenty of them in the west and south on long ago trips, but I had wanted to see Sandhill Cranes in my home state, and there they were. Oddly, we only saw the young birds, no adults, but a very distant photo Alan was able to take assured me that they were just what we hoped that they were. That was a biggie for me.

Next we drove over the May's Point Pool, which never seems to disappoint. Before we even parked Alan pointed out big white birds sitting on top of muskrat houses (every house seems to sport nests of some kind, or at least groups of birds perching on them.)

At first we were pretty sure they were Trumpeter Swans, but after second guessing for a while, I have them listed for the experts. There were cygnets..... Cute, fluffy cygnets. I had never seen any before. Update: confirmed Trumpeters

All in all, it was, as usual, a great day. Who knew that after all these years of listing, I could tick off three life birds in one quick day trip right here in our home state? Ain't life grand?

Any takers to ID this little blur? 
And, perusing some really distant shots of little birds on the edges of little pools, I found a something....smallish rail-sized, but white with a dark head and wings and a curved bill. What could it  be, what could it be.....stay tuned.

Little birders. Peggy has her baby on the windowsill watching birdies.

Here's our list for the day:


Red-tailed Hawk
Tree Swallow
Purple Martin
Fish Crow
European Starling
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Yellowthroat
Brown-headed Cowbird
Song Sparrow
Great Blue Heron
American Robin
American Goldfinch

*And then we left the parking lot for the actual refuge*

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue-winged Teal (ducklings)
Virginia Rail
Chipping Sparrow
Eastern Kingbird
Common Grackle
Canada Goose
American Coot (chicks)
Ring-billed Gull
Pie-billed Grebe (chicks)
Black Tern
Barn Swallow
Common Moorhen
Tufted Titmouse
L. Yellowlegs
Mourning Dove
Black Duck
Herring Gull
Turkey Vulture
American Crow
American Redstart
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Sandhill Crane
Bald Eagle
Yellow Warbler
Cedar Waxwing
Trumpeter Swan (cygnets)
Marsh Wren


Terry and Linda said...

YAY! What a wonderful Birthday!


threecollie said...

Linda, it was great!

Linda said...

Great list...we have a few of those LBB here too.

threecollie said...

Linda, lol, once we got the Marsh Wren I thought we had finally had a trip where we were able to identify all the birds. Then I found that little black-and-white thing.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

WOW! An amazing list! I loved reading your account, reliving your adventure.

threecollie said...

Jacqueline, thanks! It was a great day! We have so much fun when we go out there. So many birds and Alan is so patient about finding and identifying them. I think of you often when we are there, as there are so many plants I don't know....