A wild wet November weekend in central New York, Tompkins County, 16 and 17 November 2002.
All pictures are © Kevin and Jay McGowan. They were taken with an Olympus D-40 digital camera through a Swarovski HD-80 spotting scope.
Hosted by the
Cold and rainy, with snow over night. What better day to go birding? We started out with a large number of birds at our feeders, including 2 Common Grackles and 4 Fox Sparrows.
|Cold and drizzly is perfect weather for Dryden Lake, so we headed there to see what was present (Long-tailed Duck was reported in the morning). We got more than we bargained for. In addition to a dozen species of waterfowl (Northern Shoveler was new for the year), and a late Great Egret,|
|we found a 1st winter Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) in among the Ring-billed and Herring gulls sitting in the middle of the lake. For more about this bird, go here.|
A search by others for the kittiwake and other good birds on Sunday led to one sighting of the same or a different kittiwake off Myer's Point in Cayuga Lake, and a surprising bunch of shorebirds. The biggest surprise were 2 Purple Sandpipers (Calidris maritima) working the leaf-covered shore of the point. Absent from the Cayuga Lake Basin for nearly 20 years, this was the second sighting in 2002 (the other was of a single breeding-plumaged bird in May)!
Also present were a half dozen Dunlin, and single White-rumped and Pectoral sandpipers.
Unusual for the area were the large number of Red-throated Loons present on Cayuga Lake; over 50 were seen, including this single juvenile bird that appeared on Dryden Lake the next day.
Not to be outdone were the "normal" November rarities, the scoters. A single female Black Scoter was in with the coots and ducks on the south side of Myer's Point, and a couple of large flocks of mixed species (all 3) were present further south towards Ithaca.
Add to this a Greater Yellowlegs at Stewart Park; Killdeer, Tree Swallow, and Snow Buntings at Myer's Point, and a probable Black-headed Gull off East Shore Park in Ithaca on Monday, and it totals a pretty good birding weekend, despite (or probably because of) the bad weather.
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