Lifers indicated in bold
When I went back to ESF on Monday, I wasn't too confident that I would get a lot of new birds (aside from Common Redpoll and House Finch last week).
That's not the point of this chapter, however. At the moment I started writing this, I am sitting at 248 for my ABA Yearlist.
My original plan for this chapter was to write about a field trip to the Adirondacks, which unfortunately got cancelled because too many people signed up (try figuring THAT logic out). That meant I needed a good rarity for my #250 bird, but which one? I first tabled the long-staying ABA first Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick as well as a Golden-crowned Sparrow in the same province and the Kelp Gull in Nova Scotia (the only non-lifer of the three) because I knew from past experience that the odds of the ESF birding club being able to chase rarities are, to quote C-3P0, "3720 to 1." Same for the Gyrfalcon in New Jersey and the Barnacle Goose in Westchester. There was a Slaty-backed Gull in Oswego county, which was the ideal species to chase. With my mom coming up in a week, the only thing I could do in the meantime is wait...
Before my mom and I set out to try our luck with the Slaty-back, I warned her that it would be hit or miss. Just as I had predicted, there were no gulls in the Oswego Harbor. We then tried the spot where it had first been seen, along with a European Mew Gull (or Common Gull if you prefer). This location was better. First I had seen a Kumlien's type Iceland Gull for #249, then in the distance, I spotted a large white bird circling the dam. Was it a Snow Goose? A swan? Snowy Owl? No, it was obviously a gull, but which one? I first eliminated Ivory due to it having pink bill with a black tip, plus an Ivory Gull would have birders swarming the location. I eliminated light immature Iceland because of it's size. There was no mistaking: this a first cycle Glaucous Gull! Year bird #250 also happened to be a lifer as well! I also saw two male Common Goldeneyes, a female Red-breasted Merganser, and an immature Bald Eagle. Proud of reaching the halfway mark, we headed back to Syracuse for the day.
The next day, my mom and I birded the Mucklands around Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We didn't see too much, but Hairy Woodpecker (#251), a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk (#252), and a "Northern" Red-tailed Hawk (abieticola subspecies) were good finds...
To be continued...
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