Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge 4/19/14

Six of the 25 Caspian Terns we had at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
Five of the 25 Caspian Terns we had at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.

If you get the chance to go to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, by all means go. I have never been disappointed at this refuge. This past Saturday morning,  Bill Martocci and I left Baldwinsville (where Tricia’s mom lives), and arrived at Montezuma just before noon. The timing could not have been more perfect for me because most of the waterfowl had recently moved out of Orange County, and to be honest, I just hadn’t gotten enough of them.  At Montezuma, there was still a super showing of waterfowl, and if you include all swimming water birds, we totaled 17 species, including nearly a dozen CANVASBACK, which was a life bird for me:

I always seem to be shooting Blue-winged Teal through the grasses. Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
I always seem to be shooting Blue-winged Teal through the grasses. Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.

 

Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
CANVASBACK (life bird)
Redhead (FOS)
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American Coot

I like this shot of an American Coot, which is not a very photogenic bird in my experience. Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
I like this shot of an American Coot, which is not a very photogenic bird in my experience. Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
Northern Shoveler at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
Northern Shoveler at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.

It also seems to be the year of the Caspian Tern – we had 25 at the refuge, 22 of which were located perched just outside the visitor center. For the weekend, I would guess that I had close to 35 Caspian Terns in the area!

A Caspian Tern (with blown highlights) in flight. Baldwinsville, NY  4/20/14.
A Caspian Tern (with blown highlights) in flight. Baldwinsville, NY 4/20/14.

The highlight of the day for me, however, was locating an AMERICAN BITTERN. At the visitor center, we talked to a local birder who made us aware that he had had a bittern earlier that day. That helped, because I was certainly on the lookout. We had stopped to look at a large flock of Tree Swallows when I located the bird of the day. I really struggled taking photos; I think the camera has a difficult time focusing on this bird because of how well it is camouflaged. While looking at and shooting this bird, each time I looked down I would lose track of where the bird was.

AMERICAN BITTERN at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
AMERICAN BITTERN at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
I love this pose. AMBI at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.
I love this pose. AMBI at Montezuma NWR, 4/19/14.

Highlights for Bill included seeing a handful of Bald Eagles, a Belted Kingfisher, and a very brief glimpse of a female American Kestrel. We missed out on at least a couple of birds I was hoping for, including Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan (both of which were reported at the refuge that day!), and Tundra Swan which have likely moved through at this point. It was a great day of birding where we totaled over 40 species.

I had to throw this photo into this post. This was taken at a small pond in Tricia's mom's neighborhood, typically a pond that has few birds. 4/20/14.
I had to throw this photo into this post. This was taken at a small pond in Tricia’s mom’s neighborhood, typically a pond that has few birds. 4/20/14.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge 4/19/14”

  1. Looks like you and Bill had an awesome outing. I’m going to get to that refuge some day! Glad you had a productive day!

  2. Matt,
    Great shots, you never disappoint!! By the way….where is spring?

    Paula Medley is going to contact you about images for the Guardian. Mike brought her a copy of the Master Gardener article I wrote and she wants to reprint it in the Guardian. Nice compliment for both of us. My writing and your images!!!

    Wilma

    1. Wilma – that is really great, congrats! I have no idea where spring is, though it was a little more spring like this evening when the winds died down! Matt

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