Today the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) scheduled this event. Advertised as a visit to the Wetlands Complex birding "hotspot(s)" with Naturalist Dave Spier, this program did not disappoint.
At 8AM Dave drove the MAC van up to the center's front door and our group (Sheila from Wolcott, Susan from Seneca Falls, and Barbara from Butler and myself) got in.
Headed South toward Savannah and continued on Rt. 89 turning onto Armitage Road.
Just west of the East Road juncture, Sheila notice a large bird landing in a tree near a pond on the north side of Armitage Road (Rt. 89). Dave stopped the van. Upon observation the bird was identified as a Bald Eagle. This immature was being harassed by an American Crow. Within minutes an adult Bald Eagle swooped into the tree. Immediately both birds seem to tumble to the ground. The immature took flight to the East followed by the adult. What an exciting way to begin our day.
Dave turned the van around and then drove over East Road to the Knox-Marsellus Marsh.
Here we observed 13 species, including Green-winged Teal (4), Hooded Merganser (4), Double-crested Cormorant (37), Great Blue Heron (1), Killdeer, Tree Swallow (6), Canada Geese (6 - one nesting on a muskrat mound).
Back in the van continued south on Rt. 89. Dave pulled off to the side of the road and jumped out of the van. Dave had noticed two Painted Turtles on the highway. Dave carried the pair safely cross the road.
Our next stop was on Rt. 89 just north of the Erie Canal lock at May's Point. There in a power line tower were two Osprey building a nest.
We then drove down the May's Point Road stopping at a deadwood swamp between the Clyde River and the parking area for the May's Point platform. There in two different dead trees were two woodpecker, one Downy and one Hairy. Also three Red-winged Blackbirds were flitting around.
Parked on the north side of May's Point Road across from the observation platform. There flying overhead were three Bald Eagles and an Osprey. A Song Sparrow could be heard singing fairly close by.
Walking across the road we viewed the May's Point Pool from the observation deck.
There were sixteen Canada Geese, four Redheads, and three Ring-necked Ducks using the pool.
Drove on Tschache Pool to view birds from the parking lot. Fellow birder Jack drove into the parking lot just after our arrival.
Here Susan pointed on a large bird that was on the ground on the northwest edge of the pool. It was an immature Bald Eagle. In and around the pool were 3 Canada Geese, 10+ Gadwalls, 2 Blue-winged Teal, a Ring-billed Gull, and hundreds of American Wigeons. In the sky over the pool were 3 Great Blue Heron flying south, a gliding Turkey Vulture, a Northern Flicker, and a soaring Bald Eagle.
Our last birding stop was at a channel opposite the Tschache Pool parking area just south of May's Point Pool. We were looking for a grebe that Jack had seen earlier. In the channel we observed 2 Buffleheads, 8 American Coots and 2 Great Heron flying overhead but no grebe.
Returning to the MAC parking lot we were welcomed by two killdeer who were skirting the driveway.
Although the morning was cloudy, a warm breeze made for a pleasant visit to several birding "hotspots".