I Headed North – FANTASTIC DAY!

American White Pelican at Syracuse Inner Harbor.

American White Pelican at Syracuse Inner Harbor.

This morning I awoke very early. In only minutes I knew I wanted to do something different today. I checked out my “Ebird Daily Needs” list. Two recently planned trips to Long Island had to be scrubbed due to the weather. I knew they would still be cleaning up down there, so that was out. I have been thinking about the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN for a while, so I had my destination. I went through the other birds I might get in that region and put together a target list. I was out of the house by 6 am (rare for me). Two and a half hours later (as the jeep flies) I pulled up on Hiawatha Street at Syracuse’s Inner Harbor. I searched the creek and the channel where the bird has been, but didn’t find it. A gentleman who had been viewing the bird yesterday afternoon pulled up. He gave me some pointers, but cautioned that the bird had flown out yesterday afternoon, did not return by dark and that it hadn’t been seen yet this morning either. He directed me to a Linear Park Path along the creek. I began searching out to the main lake. I met another birder who also hadn’t found the bird, so we started a systematic search and would let each other know if we had found it. An hour later I was back at the harbor parking lot, ready to call it quits. I decided to check by the bridge one last time. No bird. I crossed to the other side of the bridge where I hadn’t seen it earlier either. That side had a foot of snow on the sidewalk of the bridge and it was quite frozen. As I checked under the bridge, I was crunching the snow. As I leaned over, I saw a yellow wand wave from behind a snow bank. Suddenly, the bird looked up from behind the bank. He was snuggled into a little grotto, probably a warm spot. I went to the end of the bridge where there was a small balcony out over the water and could see and photograph the bird well from there. I alerted the other birder and he came and saw it as well. If the bird hangs out in that spot, it can easily be missed. The first gentleman I spoke to said it is quite active and maybe that will mean it won’t stay there all the time. From Syracuse, I headed to Cayuga. I wanted to check out the lochs at the north end of the lake, as many of my targets were being reported there. Fortunately, the pair of TRUMPETER SWANS were right near the loch with many Canada Geese. They were quite vocal. Eventually, they swam down to a spot where there were many TUNDRA SWANS, and I had great comparisons of the two species. From there I headed south along the lake. In Union Springs I stopped at the usual roadside pond and had a pair of AMERICAN WIGEON among the Buffleheads, Red Heads and Coots. Continuing south along the lake I saw many birds. At the Aurora Boat House I quickly located the EARED GREBE! I read that it had been showing well over the weekend and it surely did today. One of the best views I’ve had at this location. Very distant for photos, but I added one here anyway. From there I decided to head home. Once I reached the south end of the lake, I decide to continue on as nothing had been reported that I really needed and I had a long ride. At the very end along the road, there was a huge group of gulls on the ice. They were obviously easy to view from a pullover, so I couldn’t resist. Within a minute, I had found an adult GLAUCOUS GULL! I haven’t seen one in a number of years and it was great to get to see this one. Finally, I headed home!

Pair of Trumpeter Swans near the north end lochs.

Pair of Trumpeter Swans near the north end lochs.

Here the pair of Trumpeters (in water) pass by a pair of Tundra Swans.  Note the longer straighter bill of the Trumpeters.  Also the larger size.  The Tundras have smaller bills and yellow spots in front of their eyes.

Here the pair of Trumpeters (in water) pass by a pair of Tundra Swans. Note the longer straighter bill of the Trumpeters. Also the larger size. The Tundras have smaller bills and yellow spots in front of their eyes.

very distant shot of the Eared Grebe

very distant shot of the Eared Grebe

Gorgeous adult Glaucous Gull at the south end of Cayuga Lake.

Gorgeous adult Glaucous Gull at the south end of Cayuga Lake.

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4 Responses to I Headed North – FANTASTIC DAY!

  1. Kathleen Ashman says:

    What a wonderful day of birding you had! Love the photo of the Trumpeter and Tundra Swans so that I can easily compare the differences between the two.

  2. Thanks Kathy! Believe it or not, I have seen both many, many times, and this is the first time I’ve ever had them side by side like this. It does make clear the differences.

  3. Karen C Miller says:

    Excellent white pelican shot!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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