Monday, October 5, 2009

NYSOA meeting and the Chase for the White-Ibis - DAY II Part 1...

Day II Part 1 - Birding Montezuma Wildlife Refuge and Shai's Presentation: See here for a report of Day I if you missed it

It was day II of our trip - I was up birding outside the hotel around 6:45 a.m. and was joined 15 minutes later by Pat and Shai. Shai’s presentation was not going to start until 12:00 p.m. so after a quick stop for coffee, we headed out to bird at the Montezuma Wildlife National Refuge. As soon as, we got to the refuge we stopped and scoped an area called the "Main Pool", keying in on Pin-tailed Ducks, American Wigeons, Gadwalls and Snow Geese.

Pat and I decided to bird around the visitor’s center while Shai drove up the trail and birded just up ahead of us. It was windy and around the center it was very quiet with very few land birds showing. We managed to squeeze out, 2 Song Sparrows and a beautiful very blue, Eastern Bluebird in that area. When we got to one of the observation platforms looking out to the main pool, a couple of warblers flew by and I keyed in on them. As I was looking and telling Pat that one looked good for a female Blackpoll Warbler, Pat replied that she was looking at a bird coming directly towards her that looked good for a Yellow-headed Blackbird. I quickly diverted my attention and caught up to Pat’s bird just as it passed us. Blistering Barnacles!! - I thought...this did look good for a Yellow-headed Blackbird. We both kept on the bird and talked through the field marks; leaving no doubt we had landed a Female Yellow-headed Blackbird – thanks to Pat’s sharp eye. This was a very good find as it is not a common bird in that area and was not even listed in the species list for Montezuma. We called Shai and reported our find. Shai too had a good find - our first shorebirds of the trip in Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and some Least Sandpipers. We all got good looks of those birds and then drove to another location called "May’s Point".

At May’s Point, we picked up Long-billed Dowitchers, Killdeer and a few Greater Yellow-legs. I am willing to bet we probably could have found a Snipe, but we were birding against the clock. After about 15 minutes at May’s, we moved on to our next stop, Tschache’s Pool. From the observation deck, we scoped the pool picking up several birds for our trip list including Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, American Wigeons and American Coots. By then it was time to leave. We drove to the Montezuma Audubon Center and since Shai had an hour or so to give his presentation Pat and I decided to bird for a bit around the area. We found a few species, but nothing new to pad our trip list.

Back at the Montezuma Audubon Center, Shai and Pat mingled with members of NYSOA, while I immediately headed for the on site bookstore. After browsing through the slim pickings, I decided nothing was convincing enough for me to make a purchase. Hard to believe that I exited a bookstore without making a purchase, but I did it. After getting some food from the buffet spread, we all gathered in a conference room for lunch and the presentation. Shai’s presentation was brilliant! He is an excellent speaker and worked the presentation very well keeping his audience engaged and managing the time very well. I think everyone in that room all learned something from his presentation. After Shai’s presentation, there were some NYSOA awards given out and then the delegates broke out for another meeting. While the meeting was open to members, Pat and I decided we were not going to attend, when there was birding to be done, so we gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of the Sandhill Cranes. We ended up recruiting Dominic Sherony, who had seen the Sandhill Cranes earlier in the morning, to guide us to the location where they were seen earlier in the day. Five minutes after arriving at the site, we found the Cranes - another good bird for the trip list.

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Coming Soon Day 2 Part II

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dAwN said...

Hee hee..I am still cracking up from your Blistering Barnacles ..its refreshing to see you sense of humor in your posts!
Great birds and a great day..gosh i wish i could be everywhere at once!

Shai said...

Andrew does, in fact, sound a bit like Herge's colorful character, Captain Haddock when deprived of what he wants--birds, in Andrew's case!


@Dawn - Hi Dawn, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad you enjoy the sense of humor :)


@Shai - Aha, a visit from my mentor. Thank you it is an honor. Interesting, that you are also familiar with Herge. Another common interest? I suppose you are also a fan of Uderzo and Goscinny work in Aserix and Obelix? Great trip with you guys.

Cindy said...

Finally catching up on your field trip. 111 life birds and a white Ibis in NY.. Almost as impressive as leaving a book store without buying a book..You are one dedicated birder!


@Cindy - Hi Cindy, thanks for visiting. Not life birds - 111 trip birds :) It was a fantastic trip made more so by the company.