Friday, October 02, 2009

Niagara Falls - long weekend, Saturday

The weather forecast for the weekend was actually quite worrying with continual rain, heavy rain and thunderstorms being the main theme. Saturday started off quite pleasant however so we decided to head to what we though would be the top two destinations in upstate New York. En route we changed our plan from Braddock Bay and carried on past Rochester to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in the finger lakes region. We got there quite early, around 8:30, having driven for two and a half hours. On getting out of the car another birder was pointing out a lone Snow Goose flying overhead, excellent start, we'd never seen Snow Geese before!

We had a walk around the visitor centre on to the decking to watch the flock of Canada Geese on the main pond then were invited to follow a local Ornithological Society on their trip round the Refuge, only they took off too quickly for us, so we decided to find our way around by following the one-way trail. We walked the short distance first to an observation tower overlooking the lake and were treated to a flock of Snow Geese descending to the pond:

I filmed them eating and resting-up, the juveniles are the darker colour birds:

Whilst we were watching the spectacle of the geese landing a Northern Goshawk flapped silently past the tower:

Once seen however the alarm calls of the smaller birds (which we'd not seen) made up for the silence of the hawk. We did eventually see Eurasian Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds amongst others. Also in the trees around the watchtower were Cedar Waxwings:

The short walk along the river from here revealed a singing Carolina Wren, a small group of Greater Yellowlegs and this stop-off migrant, a Black-necked Blue Warbler:

At the end of the one way trail and having traversed a highway to access another part of the space we saw a number of new species from another watchtower including American Wigeon, American Coot and here a distant family of Trumpeter Swans:

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