This morning the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) held its monthly scheduled event in the Birding Tour series with Naturalist Dave Spier. Due to the oppressive heatwave overslept and arrived at the MAC at 8:10 AM just as Dave was driving the van out from the MAC entrance. Flagged Dave down and boarded the van. There inside were three birders (Frank, a naturalist with MAC, Margaret from Canadaigua, and Diane from Waterloo).
We drove to the south parking area of East Colvin Marsh and walked to the Tim Noga blind. Though poorly backlighted a Spotted Sandpiper was in front of the blind. A Green Heron was flying in the distance.
Dave drove the van back to the MAC. There two interns (Audrina and Trina) from the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment and their chaperone/counselor (Rebekah) hopped on board.
Back on the road we use the Savannah Spring Lake Road to reach North Montezuma impoundments. There from the parking lot we observed that the marsh is drained and the center ditch is essentially dry. A Great Blue Heron at the far end of the ditch was our official greeter. Dave acclimated the interns with their binoculars. This instruction proved timely as three Baltimore Orioles showed themselves in the trees. A Common Yellowthroat was heard but not seen.
Our caravan continued on to Morgan Road. There on a wire was an American Kestrel.
Dave noted that the Sandhill Cranes were still here but since the corn was quite high the chance of seeing them is nil. Related to Frank how the last time Dave and I visited here we caused a male Sandhill Crane to display "displaced aggression". This action was observed by Steve Fast who was overjoyed to have seen it.
On to Martens Tract. There the group finally saw the Common Yellowthroat which had only been heard up to then. There were six Pied-billed Grebes on the water as well as two Common Moorhens.
We paused along the road at Malone Unit #1 to view a Wood Duck, a Great Blue Heron, three Common Moorhens (a female feeding her chicks), and a Killdeer. Diane asks why a Great Blue Heron was acting strange. Dave explained that since the heron does not sweat it was aerating itself.
We concluded at tour in the open area of Van Dyne Spoor Road. There I made my first sighting of a Black Tern as it flew low over the open marsh water and three Cedar Waxwings as they flying around in the general area of the terns.
Returning to the MAC we thanked Dave for a the tour and Frank, whose keen eye directed us towards several birds.
Even though the heat continued to be oppressive decided to take an alternate route home. Pulled into the Knox-Marsellus Marsh parking lot at 12:15 PM. There was a Great Blue Heron convention going on in the water. Over 50+ herons were standing in the shallows as still as the hot saturated air. On a small isle fifteen Canada Geese were preening themselves. Close to the shore were what appeared to be 30+ carps that had succumbed to the weather. A Red-tailed Hawk was overlooking the gathering as it flew in the thermals.
Drove South to May's Point Observation Deck. Arrived at 12:30 PM, there a family of Pied-billed Grebes, a female and four ducklings, were feeding.
Continued on Route 89 to Tschache Pool arriving at 12:30 PM. On the observation tower met two fellows, a father and son from Lyons, who were on a quest to view a Bald Eagle. On a barren tree branch to the west of the tower were three Tree Swallows and four sparrows. A Great Blue Heron was in the water in front of the tower.
My final stop before heading home was the South Spring Pond. Fairly quiet. The heat seems to have put everything done. A couple of dragonflies and a small bird that left before I could get the camera up were my only company.
Temperature is still rising. Time to conclude another fun adventure.