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!
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!
List of Birds Seen on this Trip