Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Visit to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge -- a Test of Identification of Bird Babies!

Once a year usually earlier in August or in July, a trip down to the Montezuma  Wildlife Refuge in western upstate New York is in order.  There is a nice one lane car path that runs around the refuge.  In previous years, there was hardly any water as they have dried up the main pond to do work on it to make it better.  However, this year despite that there were lots of ponds as it has been an unusually rainy summer.  This was great as I saw some birds that I hadn't seen before up here and many juveniles.  Now water bird identification is hard enough as they have summer and winter plumage and of course there are differences between the males and females.  This summer I had to deal with many many juveniles which of course look different as well!!  So I will start with the birds that were fairly obvious and hopefully I haven't made too many mistakes in their identities!!

A nice Great Blue Heron.  I saw many of these.  They are very solitary.  I don't think this one is totally mature yet.

There were lots of Great Egrets as well with lots of pretty backgrounds.

Now I know where some of the Coots breed!!

These look like juvenile Coots to  me!!  All fuzzy and cute.  Have never seen the juveniles down in NC.

There were a number of examples of a close relative of the Coot, the Common Gallinule (Moorhen).  They were a bit more shy than the other birds.

Not really sure about this one, but think it may be a juvenile Gallinule.

This is a Caspian Tern which I have seen here before.  There were a number of these amongst the Ring Billed Gulls.

Of course, the everpresent Goldfinch on his favorite Scotch Thistle.  This thistle was a little over the hill though but the Goldfinches still have their summer color.

This is a juvenile Pied Bill Grebe.  There were a lot of Pied Billed Grebes hanging out including many juveniles.

I believe this is one of the juveniles of the Short Billed Dowitchers.  There were a number of these.  They are stockier than their look alike cousins -- the Yellowlegs.

This is an adult Short Billed Dowitcher showing their usual digging behavior.  He rarely  had his head up.

This is a Lesser Yellowlegs.  There were a lot of these.

I believe these are juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs.  Their beaks are thinner than the dowitchers and they are grayer underneath.

One of the highlights was seeing this lone Snow Goose standing in one of the plowed fields.  They are fairly common but I can't remember seeing them before.  I have warned everyone up here that winter is coming!!

Even those these purple flowers are one of those invasive species, they sure looked pretty yesterday with the water in the background.

I always look forward to seeing all the Marsh Mallows which were a little over the hill this visit but did find some nice ones. 

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