Note: This field trip was sponsored by the Onondaga Audubon Society, a NYSYBC Partner Club. Many thanks especially to Gerry Smith, who not only helped us see lots of birds but gave each of us a T-shirt, an OAS pin, and an autographed copy of his recent book, Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. We had a blast!
Derby Hill is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. It offers a remarkable variety of birds in a small area.
The weather forecast had been less than inspiring and probably influenced several birders not to make the long trip up to Oswego County. Only three young birders were there, but what a great day it turned out to be! We saw lots of birds, learned about the migratory path along the shore of Lake Ontario, and had a lot of fun.
Our day started out at the hawk watch under cloudy skies. Gerry Smith, our host and guide, gave us a lot of background about the location and what we might expect to see there. Initially the birding was a bit slow, but the numbers picked up by mid-morning as the sun came out and warmed the air.
After spending a couple of hours spotting and counting hawks, we decided to get off our duffs and take a walk through the fields and along the edge of the woods. This walk turned up some not-so-common species for this time of year, including an early House Wren and a Rusty Blackbird. The only warbler was a sharp-looking male Yellow-rumped, brightly lit by the sun. Later on, Gerry encouraged us to take the very short walk over to the very large lake, where we found several species of ducks, including many Long-tailed Ducks. Standing atop the bluff overlooking the lake, we also enjoyed many beautiful Caspian Terns that sailed by, at or below eye level, affording us wonderful views of their bright red bills. And then a kettle of about 150 Broad-winged Hawks danced in the sky high above us.
Gerry treated us to pizza and sodas for lunch, which we greedily consumed at the picnic tables on the hill. After that, he gave each young birder an autographed copy of his book, Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Many thanks to Gerry for making this a very special day for all of us who were there, and for the books, pins, and T-shirts!
, Adult Advisor
List of Birds Seen on this Trip
by Hope Batcheller
| Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Species Total: 52