My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Cattaraugus County Waterfowl Fieldtrip

Catt Co Birdclub

Last Saturday I attended our Annual Cattaraugus County Waterfowl Fieldtrip and our mission was to find as many early spring visitors as possible. We had a spectacular turnout with 15 people and a few were old friends that we had not seen in a while. The group located 54 species and 10 of which were species that were first of the years for me. The list of birds are as follows: (the * represents first for the year, CHECK)

Pied-billed Grebe Rock Pigeon
Horned Grebe Mourning Dove
Turkey Vulture Belted Kingfisher
Canada Goose Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Tundra Swan Downy Woodpecker
Wood Duck Eastern Phoebe
Gadwall Blue Jay
American Wigeon American Crow
American Black Duck Horned Lark *
Mallard Tree Swallow *
Blue-winged Teal * Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Shoveler * Red-breasted Nuthatch
Green-winged Teal * White-breasted Nuthatch
Ring-necked Duck Eastern Bluebird
Lesser Scaup * American Robin
Bufflehead European Starling
Common Goldeneye Vesper Sparrow *
Common Merganser Song Sparrow
Red-breasted Merganser Dark-eyed Junco
Ruddy Duck * Northern Cardinal
Osprey Red-winged Blackbird
Bald Eagle Rusty Blackbird *
Red-tailed Hawk Common Grackle
American Kestrel Brown-headed Cowbird
Killdeer Purple Finch
Common Snipe * American Goldfinch
Ring-billed Gull House Sparrow

horned grebe pied billed grebe

A Horned Grebe and a Pied-billed Grebe

The day started off in Salamanca where we met the group and slowly worked our way along the Allegheny River. Things really started hopping when we saw the Vesper Sparrows near the entrance of Allegany State Park. These birds were lifers for many of the participants and I even thought it might have been a lifer for myself. After going through my records at home; I soon realized that I had seen them many years ago. It was great to have the opportunity to come across them again and I hope to get some better picture opportunities in the future. We also came across some Tree Swallows, Purple Finch, and even Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers while checking out the Vesper Sparrows. Red House Lake was covered with waterfowl from (2) Woodducks, (2) Red-breasted Mergansers, (12) Horned Grebe, (7) Gadwall, (20) Bufflehead, (6) Lesser Scaup, Blue-winged Teal and (3) Pied-billed Grebes. The Green-winged Teal and Black Duck were located by the entrance of the park where the Osprey are nesting (BTW: We saw copulation with the Osprey pair).

song sparrow ruddy duck

Song Sparrow with some white feathers and a Ruddy Duck

Once we made it over to Route 280 along the Allegany Reservoir we finally saw (2) Turkey Vultures and a Juvenal Bald Eagle. The Bald flew up river and we stopped again for a better look!! This resulted in seeing many rafts of ducks and Bert finding my all time favorite (4) Ruddy Ducks!! Yeah, I was soo happy seeing them!! The Randolph area also resulted in numerous fun birds like Rusty Blackbirds, Wilson Snipe, Tundra Swans, and a very quick look at a Horned Lark. The Swamp Road area gave us many looks of (10) Northern Shovelers, (1) Common Goldeneye, (8) American Wigeon and then of course many more my favorite (4) Ruddy Ducks (Yeah, again!!). What a fun birding day but the whole group missed seeing one individual who couldn’t make it after having open-heart surgery on Friday. Mike, please get better soon and we can plan on getting out to do some birding in no time.

Tundra Swan killdeer

A Tundra Swan and a Killdeer in the Randolph, NY area

I was able to add three more species to the list by myself including Common Flicker, Brown Creeper and Chipping Sparrow * while visiting some friends over at the Red House Campground (these were not seen by the group). I just live for the weekends!


14 responses

  1. Wow! That’s an impressive day of birding.-You took some really nice photos as well.-especially the Wood Ducks-I have a hard time getting close to them.

    2 April 2007 at 9:21 pm

  2. I have been looking hard for Wood Ducks. Your photo is superb! I love the reflection. I have not found any birding groups like this in our area. What an excellent way to spend a day.

    2 April 2007 at 9:51 pm

  3. Sounds like a fun trip – Vesper Sparrows would have been new for me, too. We were going to go out but the weather was pretty dreary here, so we bagged. Hopefully this weekend will be better so we can go out and look for fun stuff (including some elfin butterflies).

    2 April 2007 at 10:09 pm

  4. Great photos! Sure sounds like a fun trip.

    2 April 2007 at 10:31 pm

  5. Most of those birds would be lifers for me. I wish I could have gone on that trip. I probably would have annoyed everyone being an inexperienced birder. I’m a lot more experienced than i was lasy year though.

    2 April 2007 at 10:32 pm

  6. Great list there. I love ruddy ducks, too. If a wren was a duck, it would be a ruddy.

    3 April 2007 at 12:29 am

  7. The Ruddy Duck is one of the very few species where the name sounds almost as cool as the bird, one of my favourites, too.
    At lake Erie Metro Park last November I found a flock of more than 1,000 Ruddies!

    3 April 2007 at 7:50 am

  8. Gee, if I saw that many birds in a weekend, I’d have insomnia.

    3 April 2007 at 9:11 am

  9. Wow, a lovely list-o-birds! A whole bunch of those would be lifers for me!

    Add me to the group of people who love Ruddy Ducks – they’re so cute, and fun to watch when the males chase each other around.

    3 April 2007 at 10:42 am

  10. That last photo is just beautiful. The birds themselves are quite spectacular, and their reflections are like a second, softer vision. What a day you had. Fantastic.

    3 April 2007 at 11:17 am

  11. I love all the photos of birds, but I especially love the photo of the bird watchers. Sometimes I wonder, what do the birds think of us?

    3 April 2007 at 3:40 pm

  12. @ Larry – Thanks and when you have so many cars pulling up, I had to act quickly before everyone chased away the birds!
    @ Ruth – Thanks but you must have some kind of group near you somewhere! Are you a member of any of the local Audubon’s?
    @ Marty – still no butterflies for me yet but still looking! Bet you are having fun editing all the pictures you took!
    @ Lynne – thanks and was fun!
    @ The RBA or the other birding club up in Rochester has many field trips! You should join them for a day!
    @ Corey – I will send you an email, OK?
    @ Susangetsnative – They do have that duck wren look to them! BTW: Got a winterwren today! Yeah!
    @ Jochen – Even without the cool name they are awesome little ducks! Hmm, did you say 1,000 ruddy ducks! Aww Heaven!
    @ Mary – you should see my numbers during May or June!!
    @ Adam – thanks and I know many of your birds would be lifers for me!
    @ Robin – thanks and it was a great day!
    @ KGMom – thanks and looking at that picture really doesn’t look that scary? Why do they fly away?

    3 April 2007 at 7:22 pm

  13. Looks like a heavenly day, Tom! Wonderful pictures, my friend. 🙂

    4 April 2007 at 3:16 pm

  14. Thanks Ladybug!

    4 April 2007 at 3:57 pm

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