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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Road Trip to Rochester

I’m sorry for such a late report, it’s been a weird week. That said, here’s a brief rundown of our 24 hour run to Rochester and back.

New York State

(Photo credit - Google)

What began as just a couple of us driving up to the Rochester area ended up as seven people in two cars. We were hoping to locate several boreal species that are unlikely to be found within the five boroughs of NYC. Our target species were Tundra Swan, Golden Eagle, Northern Hawk Owl, Bohemian Waxwing, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak. In addition, we would try to find a vagrant Varied Thrush that has been reported in Webster County Park, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

I’ve never been to that section of New York State and looked forward to exploring the mostly flat, farmland habitats, marshes and lakes.

Brook in Selkirk Shores State Park

(Photo credit - Rob J)

After picking up a friend of Sean’s in the Syracuse area we headed farther north. Our itinerary was to bird along, Baum Road in Hastings, Hagen Road in Boylston (also Frazier Rd.; Maltby Rd.), Tug Hill/Ontario Lake, Selkirk Shores State Park in Richland (and the north end of Cayuga Lake), Derby Hill, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Cayuga Marsh and Webster County Park, Webster. We would end our road trip in Lyndonville where a Northern Hawk Owl has been residing for most of the winter.

European Larch (Larix decidua)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Larch new growth

(Photo credit - Rob J)

We were four for eight by the time we began driving back to Brooklyn at 9:00pm. It may sound like the 24 hour trip was unsuccessful, however, there was one incredible event that more than made up for the missing birds.

The time and conditions were such that huge numbers of
Snow Goose had begun migrating north throughout the morning hours. For 7:00am until approximately 9:30am skeins of Snow Goose were moving across the sky of North Oswego county. It was an amazing spectacle to see seemingly unending threads of geese streaming from one end of the horizon to the other. At one point we passed a farm field that appeared to be covered by snow. We pulled off the road and watched the mass of white snow morph into a honking, flapping mass of feathers. There were several locations during the morning where we stopped the cars just to marvel at the swarms of geese. Towards the end of the day the masses of Snow Geese were supplanted by huge flocks of Canada Geese.

Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens - click images for larger size)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Snow Goose migration map (click image for larger size)

(Map courtesy of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)

-Click here for more info Snow Goose Migration-

And, by the way, my nemesis bird, the Golden Eagle, continues to evade me.

- - - - -

Rochester, NY, 3/11/2006
Red-throated Loon
Great Blue Heron
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose
Mute Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Shrike
Horned Lark
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Eastern Bluebird
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
White-winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow


jnfr said...

Visit Colorado, we have all sorts of eagles all over the state :)

Rob J. said...

The way my luck has been running with Goldens, they'd disappear as soon as I arrived ;-)

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