Thursday, August 16, 2012

Birding Vacation

Tuesday we awoke to the raucous cawing of crows. I didn't think much of it, but it continued. Now, crows will mob around a predator to chase it off, so I looked out the dining room window to see what the fuss was all about.

It was early in the morning, the dull gray light just as dark begins to give way, with thick cloud cover to boot. First I saw the crows, flying in, hanging on, trading places with other crows, on the utility wires just outside the window. Then, just to the right, on the top of the utility pole itself, perched an owl - a great horned owl.

We watched the drama for about ten minutes. The owl had to duck a couple of times but nothing served to chase it away. Finally, it just had enough and, spreading its wings, it soared off the pole, toward the house, and over and away.

Later I took Miss Xena out for her walk and found the crows mobbing around a great, tall, broad tree in the back yard. I knew the owl was there but the foliage was too dense for me to see it. A little later, on Xena's second morning walk, Newlin witnessed the route of the owl by the crows. By 9:00, as we left for our walk on the Catherine Trail, we could see and hear the crows mobbing the tree down the canal and around the bend from the house, the one into which Newlin had seen the owl escape.

The trail we took is located between the river on the right and a wide marsh on the left. Catbirds and cardinals abounded. We also saw a caspian tern, twice, on its way upriver, and then back down. Chickadees, cedar waxwings and bluejays joined a number of sparrows which were too quick for us to ID properly. We walked only 30 minutes of the trail, then turned around and came back.

The trip to Montezuma Refuge yielded four bald eagles - Montezuma never disappoints. Also a pectoral sandpiper and a lesser yellowlegs, plus a multitude of members of the sandpiper family too distant to ID. A great trip down Cayuga Lake and then back to Seneca and Montour Falls.

Friday: New Hampshire International Speedway, then a flying run back to Montour Falls for a track day at Watkins Glen on Saturday. We have Porsche, BMW and Audi clubs coming up, with a possible screaming run back to Limerock for one day with Sports Car Drivers Association, then back to WGI for the Ferraris. A spectacular vacation!

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