Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY birds, 21 Sep 2000.

A few things we saw in the evening, about 16:30 h at the very south end of Cayuga Lake.


These pictures were taken with an Olympus D-450 digital camera through a Swarovski HD80 spotting scope.

All photographs 2000 Kevin J. McGowan.


Two Forster's Terns (Sterna forsteri) were offshore, one perched far out near the red lighthouse and another flying around. These pictures are fuzzy, but the eye mark is visible, I think. The bird was WAY offshore, and these were with the Swarovski cranked to the max (60x).


On shore at the east end of the park we had stopped to look at a crow family (looking for a banded individual). I was pretty focused on the crows, but Jay yelled out "It's a Merlin!" And so it was (Falco columbarius). We watched it buzz by (the crows didn't flinch), nab an insect, and perch relatively nearby. It was Perri's first look at a Merlin, and it was cooperative enough to eat where we could see it. It stayed around in sight for quite a while. We enjoyed it, but the starling flock it disrupted when choosing its perch did not.

While I was scoping unsuccessfully for more rarities offshore (like the previous week's Red-necked Phalaropes), Jay was interested in looking at a nice hatch-year Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) in the midst of molt from juvenal to first basic plumage.

Finally, at the swan pen, a hatch-year Green Heron (Butorides virescens) (also apparently going from juvenal to first basic) was hanging out on a fallen limb, and finally got around to fishing a bit for us.

All photos Kevin J. McGowan

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Revised: October 01, 2001.