Today the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) scheduled its second event in the Bird Touring series with Naturalist Dave Spier. This visit to the Wetlands Complex birding "hotspot(s)was even more noteworthy than the first outing.
At 8AM Dave brought the MAC van around to the center's front door and our group of three (Anne-Marie from Syracuse, Susan from Seneca Falls, and myself) got in.
Headed South toward Savannah and used the Savannah-Spring Lake Road before turning onto Carncross Road. Travelling the to the end of this road we encountered 14 different species. A Northern Harrier (old name - Marsh Hawk) was flying low over the north meadow. A Northern Flicker with its noticeable white rump flew into the woods. A Song Sparrow was perched among the burdocks and a Common Yellowthroat was in the tall reeds. A Gray Catbird gave us a good look as it was perched at the woods edge near where the roads met.
After turning around at the Howland Island access gate, we returned to the Savannah-Spring Lake Road and motored to Martens Tract. On the way passing through a wood Dave identified the song of a Wood Thrush.
Martens Tract would give up 13 species for our pleasure. Susan who is adroit at noticing large birds directed our attention to a Bald Eagle flying in southwesterly direction with nesting material in its talons. We were able to scope 2 Pied-billed Grebes, 2 Common Moorhen and a pair of Wood Ducks. Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows were darting here and there. Dave pointed out two Common Grackles that were displaying themselves.
We made our way down Morgan Road to the NYSDEC Office. There Susan came through again noting an immature Bald Eagle perched in a tree in the far distance. There was a pair of Wood Ducks in the small pond before the DEC buildings.
Malone Unit #1 on Savannah Spring Lake Road would produce the most excitement for the day. Along the roadside Dave pointed out a Solitary Sandpiper. But his field guide threw Dave off, the guide identified the bird as a Pectoral Sandpiper. (During the evening Dave went to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website and accurately identified the Solitary Sandpiper.) The bird was very cooperative and provided a magnificent photo opportunity.
These two photos were taken by Dave.
Took this photo through the van window. Anne-Marie pointed out the frog and had to get a photo of it with the sandpiper.
We concluded our tour at the Van Dyne Spoor open area.
During our ride Anne-Marie had shared the swan knowledge that she had gathered from her recent readings. This information added to our viewing the 11 Trumpeter Swans gliding in the open area of Van Dyne Spoor. Two Great Blue Herons were also amongst the grasses. A group of three Red-tailed Hawks were enjoying the thermal overhead. Dave pointed out the song of two Common Yellowthroats and a Yellow Warbler.
The final photo is a result of the keen eye of Anne-Marie who noticed this butterfly along the roadside.