|Snowy Owl © Joseph DiCostanzo|
When we finally gave up we headed off Point Peninsula. On the way we heard the sound of a displaying Wilson's Snipe overhead as we passed a wet area. Though mostly done at night these snipes were putting on an early morning show. Their distinctive "winnowing" display sound is not vocal, but is produced by vibrations through their specially adapted tail feathers in flight. Recordings of this wonderful display sound can be found here. I have heard the display of American Woodcocks many times, but this was the first time I had heard snipes. On the side of the road here we were surrounded by the sound. We estimated seven males here and saw four in the air at once. Sean, Doug and I agreed later that after seeing the ptarmigan the night before this was the most memorable birding experience of our two day trip. There were also 16 Ring-necked Ducks here as well as Wood Ducks, Mallards, Buffleheads and Pied-billed Grebes.
From here we headed over to the Perch River Wildlife Management Area north of Watertown. This is a wonderful spot with great birding.
|Perch River WMA © Joseph DiCostanzo|
There were a variety of waterfowl here, including Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, and Common Merganser. Overhead were Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Broad-winged and Red-tailed hawks, harriers and a Merlin. The real highlights were some of the heard only birds - another "winnowing" snipe, two Marsh Wrens and four American Bitterns and four Virginia Rails. We had seen some Caspian Terns the day before and earlier that morning, but finding 40 here was a treat.
|Caspian Terns at Perch River WMA © Joseph DiCostanzo|
After leaving Perch River, Doug suggested we stop at the Derby Hill Hawk Watch in Mexico, Oswego County on the shore of Lake Ontario. We weren't expecting much since the winds did not seem favorable for much of a hawk flight. We were very pleasantly surprised. I had never been to Derby Hill before and compared to big flight days, there weren't a lot of birds, but in the just under two hours we were there over 1200 Broad-winged Hawks came over along with small numbers of Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks and a Cooper's Hawk.
After Derby Hill, there was the long ride home to NYC, but it was a great two days birding!