Montezuma Birding (and Nature) Trail

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Birding in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex of Central New York

Sightings Blog

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Montezuma NWR and area, 5/14/16

Posted by Dave Spier on May 15, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

from Steve Benedict: "Nice Eaton Birding Society trip on Saturday with the weather holding off high winds and rain until mid-day, unlike earlier forecasts. In attendance: Lynn Donaldson, Doug Cameron, Lyn Jacobs, Leona Lauster, Jon and Sarah Gross, Joan Robertson, Mark Miller, Peter Galvani, Marge Comstock, and Linda & Steve Benedict. A quick overview of the visitor center marsh yielded some regulars along with a Pectoral Sandpiper. I later found out we missed 2 Glossy Ibis that showed up after we left, and left before we got back. There are always a few that get away.

"We then hiked on the ridge trail at Esker Brook which was loaded with Yellow Warblers and a nice variety of spring migrants and summer regulars. ...seeing the Black-billed Cuckoo (thanks Peter) was a highlight along with Ceruleans calling, Tennesee Warblers, Blackburnian, and Redstarts.

"On Armitage road, we saw (in rather poor lighting) Cape May, Tennesee, Indigo Bunting, and Cerulean while Baltimore Orioles, and RB Grosbeaks sang. A select few got a glimpse of the Prothonotary which then disappeared.

All in all, a good trip with good people! Thanks Lyn for doing the tally!"


Montezuma NWR--Visitor Center area, Seneca, New York, US

May 14, 2016 7:27 AM - 7:31 AM

Protocol: Stationary, 6 species

Canada Goose 4

Pectoral Sandpiper 5

Purple Martin 25

Tree Swallow 15

American Robin 2

Baltimore Oriole 1


Montezuma NWR--Esker Brook Trails, Seneca, New York, US

May 14, 2016 7:46 AM - 10:09 AM

Protocol: Traveling: 0.7 miles, 43 species

Canada Goose 3

Wood Duck 1

Great Blue Heron 2

Green Heron 1

Turkey Vulture 1

Osprey 1

Mourning Dove 3

Black-billed Cuckoo 1

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker 2

Willow Flycatcher 5

Eastern Phoebe 1

Warbling Vireo 3

Blue Jay 4

American Crow 5

Black-capped Chickadee 1

Tufted Titmouse 2

White-breasted Nuthatch 2

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4

Wood Thrush 3

American Robin 6

Gray Catbird 15

Northern Mockingbird 1

Cedar Waxwing 2

Northern Waterthrush 1

Tennessee Warbler 2

Common Yellowthroat 5

American Redstart 3

Cerulean Warbler 3

Blackburnian Warbler 2

Yellow Warbler 30

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4

Field Sparrow 3

White-crowned Sparrow 2

Song Sparrow 2

Eastern Towhee 3

Northern Cardinal 5

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3

Red-winged Blackbird 5

Common Grackle 1

Brown-headed Cowbird 3

Baltimore Oriole 5

American Goldfinch 6


Armitage Rd. (Wayne Co. forested area), Wayne, New York, US

May 14, 2016 10:09 AM - 12:39 PM

Protocol: Stationary -- 25 species

Turkey Vulture 2

Mourning Dove 1

Red-bellied Woodpecker 2

Hairy Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker 1

Eastern Phoebe 1

Great Crested Flycatcher 1

Yellow-throated Vireo 1

Blue-headed Vireo 1

Warbling Vireo 4

Red-eyed Vireo 2

American Robin 2

Prothonotary Warbler 1 Observed briefly at its usual nesting location.

Tennessee Warbler 2

American Redstart 1

Cape May Warbler 1

Cerulean Warbler 2

Blackburnian Warbler 2

Yellow Warbler 2

Chestnut-sided Warbler 1

Black-throated Blue Warbler 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1

Indigo Bunting 1

Baltimore Oriole 1

Montezuma Wildlife Drive Bobolinks, MAC Purple Martin, 8/30/15

Posted by Dave Spier on August 31, 2015 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

via GeneseeBirds:

Highlights of a Montezuma ride this afternoon/evening [8/30/15] included a cloud of “starlings” over the smartweed at the beginning of the wildlife drive that turned out to be Bobolinks. We counted 200 flying in to join the rest after the main group landed, so easily 1000+. Other wildlife drive highlights included American Bittern opposite Larue's Lagoon in plain sight. Eaton Marsh had great looks at both Yellowlegs, both Dowitchers, 2 Pectoral, 2 Stilt and 2 White-rumped Sandpipers. Nice close looks at the 12 Great Egrets at Benning marsh.

At Knox-Marsellus the light was excellent so we could pick out 2 Baird’s among the peep, Pectorals and Semipalmated Plovers on the mudflat. Good Dowitcher numbers there but no sign of the Buff-breasts. We could see Killdeer at Puddler’s so if they were there we should have seen them unless they were in the tall grass feeding with the Ring-billed Gulls.

Another surprise was the large group of Purple Martins circling and coming to roost on the cell tower on the east side of route 89 opposite the Montezuma Audubon Center. We counted 140 flying in to join those already circling and landing on the highest point of the tower. So easily 300+.

FYI the shorebird flats along Savannah Spring Lake Road have been mowed and are waiting to be flooded for muckracers. Mike and Joann T. 

From the Syracuse RBA:

Montezuma National Wildlife Complex (MNWC) and Montezuma Wetlands Complex (MWC)

8/25: A SANDERLING was seen near the Visitor’s Center.

8/27: 9 species of shorebirds including BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, WILSON’S PHALAROPE and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE were seen at the Knox/Marsellus and Puddler’s Marsh area.

8/28: A COMMON NIGHTHAWK was seen from the May’s Point Road area.

8/29: A juvenile RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was observed at the Mays Point Road nesting site.

8/30: 15 species of shorebirds including BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER were seen at the Knox/marsellus and Puddler’s Marsh area. 


Least Bitterns, MNWR, 7/12/14 (2014)

Posted by Dave Spier on July 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

[Sat., 7/12/14] From Betsy, via Eatonbirds: "... after volunteering at the refuge gift shop, I took a ride around the wildlife drive to see if I could see the Least Bitterns being reported at Larue's Lagoon. This was about 4:30 pm and just as reported, they were concentrated on the north end of the lagoon.... which is the first [open] place you come to on the right side (east) of the drive. I turned off the car and just waited a few minutes before seeing the first one flying right in front of my car and very low across the road. In about 15 minutes I saw 5 of them, 4 flying from east to west across the road, one further up flying west to east. These were excellent views and a great chance if you, like me, have never had a really good look at one.

"This was also the closest look I've had at the beautiful black terns who were all over the Lagoon and back and forth over the road providing very close-up views.

"At the same time a mink was unknowingly entertaining me in the grass right next to the car. He kept tunneling under the mown hay at the side of the road and then popping up and wandering around in plain sight.....maybe 8 feet from the car, at most." -- Betsy


Wildlife Drive, 3/9/13

Posted by Dave Spier on March 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

from Carol Keeler: "The Montezuma wildlife drive is open to the spillway and photo blind. The water is frozen. There were gulls sitting on the ice as well as two juvenile Bald Eagles. Other Bald Eagles were sitting on the far side of the river and silhouetted by the sun. I also spotted a Harrier checking out the marsh. There were also a few Red-Wing Blackbirds.

"At Mud Lock lots of swans and ducks were leaving the lake. One adult Bald Eagle was sitting at the point near the new nest. Another adult was down near the dam. It soon joined the first eagle. Maybe it has found a new mate. Another pair of adult Bald Eagles flew by the point.

"At Tschache pool lots of Snow Geese flew over at a very high altitude, going East. I didn't find any sitting at the Mucklands, though a large flock circled low, but continued east."

refuge Main Pool at dusk, 3/6/13

Posted by Dave Spier on March 7, 2013 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

From Janet Akin, "I was on the Main Pool Tower last night (3/6/13) for Winter Raptor Survey and the movement of birds at dusk was amazing. Thousands of Red-winged Blackbirds, smaller numbers of Common Crackles and a few Rusty Blackbirds were staging along Wildlife Drive and then flew in small flocks into the the marsh. The flight into the marsh started about 5:55. The sound was deafening. While the black birds were gathering thousands of Snow Geese and Canada geese passed overhead heading to the lake. Mixed in with the geese were thousands of ducks and hundreds of Tundra Swans. As I looked from the tower to the east the sky was filled with the birds for as far as you could see in all directions. Out in the dry marsh Northern Harriers were hunting. In the tree at the spillway at one point there were six Bald Eagles. It was an unforgettable hour of nonstop birds." Good Birding, Janet Akin