Trip Reports
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge (Seneca & Wayne Counties) — August 16, 2015
posted 3/19/16

Note: This field trip was sponsored by the Rochester Birding Association, a NYSYBC Partner Club. Many thanks especially to Lynn Bergmeyer, Bob Spahn, and Kim Sucy for planning and leading a wonderful trip!

Pied-billed Grebe with young, photo by Nicholas Kachala
Pied-billed Grebe with young
Photo by Nicholas Kachala

We met up on a hot, sunny morning at the Montezuma NWR Visitor Center. Kimberly Sucy and Bob Spahn were our guides. After introductions, we walked over to Larues Lagoon, where we saw many marvelous shorebirds. We stayed there for a long time, trying to ID as many birds as we could. We saw at least 35 species there, including an American Bittern, Pectoral Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, and TONS of Least Sandpipers! Some of us stopped at the Centennial Viewing Platform, near the Visitor Center, to scan the dried up Main Pool. Those of us who were on the platform got a good look at a female Northern Harrier hunting, her white rump reflecting beautifully in the bright sunlight! We then caravanned along Wildlife Drive (Main Loop) about 4 miles. We kept a look out for more birds on the way, telling each other what we saw by walkie-talkies.

We then continued to Tschache Pool Viewpoint, where we climbed a tower that oversees Tschache Pool. Crowded with our tripods, we looked for a family of Trumpeter Swans that live there. Sadly, we did not see the Swans, but we did get to see a Green Heron, a Bald Eagle, two Osprey, Common Gallinules, and lots of Pied-billed Grebes.

Then we made a short stop at Mays Point Pool (also dry) to look for a Red-headed Woodpecker. It decided to not show up, so we did not see it. We did hear a Yellow-throated Vireo there. While birding, we stumbled upon some Leopard Frogs that were hiding in some weeds.

The group then went off the paved road, for a very dusty drive down Van Dyne Spoor Road, where there were wetlands and ponds near some woods. We saw Pied-billed Grebe, Common Gallinule, and American Coot mammas with their babies, peeping loudly. A beautiful Black Tern circled the “mucklands” for us several times, and we were able to get a really good look at it.

We again caravanned to the Knox-Marsellus Marsh. We focused our scopes out to the landing, because most of the birds were a great distance away. There were a lot of shorebirds in the water below us, but they were pretty hard to ID since they were so far away. I then spotted three Sandhill Cranes in my scope, we were all so exited! We later found out that two of the Sandhill Cranes were juveniles, and one of them was an adult.

After nearly five hours of birding, we gathered at Magee Diner for lunch. Bob Spahn had, at the start of the day, joked that we couldn’t have lunch until we got 50 species. Our total counts varied, but were all well over 60 species!

                                                                              — Teresa Loomis, Age 12

View field trip photo gallery

List of Birds Seen on this Trip

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Wild Turkey
Pied-Billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Semipalmated Plover

Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary SandpiperGreater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Marsh Wren
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Species Total: 81