Thursday, August 17, 2017

Visit to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

I haven't visited Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in a number of years and since we sold the property up in the Adirondacks, I haven't even driven past it in over two years. Yesterday that changed.

With three other members of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society, I ventured north early Wednesday morning to view and photograph birds at Montezuma. Fresh from all the excitement created by the visitation of a rare White-winged Tern in our own back yard, this would be a much more relaxing outing. Robin and Sean, Gary and I would spend over five hours walking and driving around the refuge's main pools, the Seneca Canal and surrounding areas. We'd run into a couple of folks who had made their way to the WW Tern sighting, too.

When the day was done, I had over 200 photos to go through (many duplicates with just slight changes in camera settings) and over 35 species on my check list. My list of species doesn't do justice to the sheer numbers of individual birds we saw. There had to be hundreds of herons, egrets and coots for example. And migration hasn't even begun! Nothing spectacular pops up on the list, but we all had a very nice day spent with good company doing somethings we all love doing.

First the list:
Montezuma NWR--Wildlife Drive, Seneca, New York, US
Aug 16, 2017 8:15 AM - 1:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
6.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Walked the trail around the visitors' center then drove the road through the refuge and ended over on East Road past May's Pond.
37 species

Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Bald Eagle
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs 
Ring-billed Gull 
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Kingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Now the photos--well, some of them anyway:

Osprey (There were many, many young osprey as well as juvenile Bald Eagles about. Never did see and adult Eagle, however.)

Green Heron. We saw many of these come flying into the channels and reeds Only a couple allowed us a peek at them.

American Coot. There were rafts and rafts of coots foraging on the algae in the ponds and/or just paddling about..

Pied-billed Grebe. Dozens of both adult and immature grebes were fishing in the ponds.

Common Gallinule.  There were many of these in the narrow channels between reeds. And a surprising number of little black, puffball/lollipop babies were also present.

Wood Duck. Many hens were seen. This one played coy behind some reeds.

Trumpeter Swan. A dozen or so trumpeters were spotted in different spots. This one was snoozing in a shallow pond and woke up only long enough to show its black bill and to do a little stretching.

Greater Yellowlegs. Scores of shorebirds were to be seen. Few could be IDed without debate. LOL!

Lesser Yellowlegs. I think.
Common Egret. Hundreds were to be seen hunkered down in the pond next to the NYS Thruway and at the end of East Road. HUNDREDS

Great Blue Heron. Again, hundreds were present virtually everywhere, but especially at the end of East Road.

American Bittern. How Sean spotted this guy is a mystery.


threecollie said...

Stunning photos. I love that place...just love it. Still trying for either bittern or either night heron this year. Skunked, alas.

Unknown said...

It was a great time, how can you go wrong spending time with friends and birding!