The Muckrace is an annual competition to see which team can find the most species during a 24-hour period in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. It's loosely based on the World Series of Birding.
Complete information about the Muckrace, including the newsletter, "Muckrace Musings," is available on the Muckrace page of the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex website or an article linked on Audubon New York's website. Past results and newsletters are also posted on the Friends website.
The Eaton Birding Society's Team "Shutterbirds" won the Photo Category of the Montezuma Muckrace with 70 bird species found & photographed. Thanks to teammates Mark, Marissa & Suan for their efforts and hard work. A great success, despite the wind & rain that greatly hampered their efforts Saturday. Above is Mark Miller's immature Black-crowned Night-heron at sunset on Friday evening.
Carol and Camille scan Montezuma NWR's Tschache Pool while scouting for the Muckrace.
Audubon New York and the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex sponsored the 14th annual Montezuma Muckrace held on September 10 and 11, 2010. The 24-hour birding competition raised funds to support conservation projects within the Wetlands Complex.
The goal was to raise $13,000 to fund a wetlands restoration project known locally as the "Deep Muck" off Savannah Spring Lake Road. The money raised will be matched with Federal funds from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) of 1989, which provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed wetland conservation partnerships for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife.
The 2009 competition raised over $12,000, which funded a forest restoration project for 40 acres of cropland on the MNWR and purchased a Purple Martin house for the Montezuma Audubon Center. Twenty teams from New York and neighboring states tallied 186 species, with the winning team finding 130 species in 2009.
Mid-September is a great time to be birding at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, one of the Northeast's most exciting birding destinations. In 2010 there were several unusual species, including a Little Blue Heron, a Plegadis ibis species, and a great variety of shorebirds, both common and rare.