Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18

~COMMON REDPOLL at Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~

I had to break tradition this year on Black Friday. Due to the recent substantial snowfall, Wildlife Drive at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge was closed, so I decided to try a new spot. I headed to Onondaga Lake Park’s West Shore Trail to follow up on recent eBird reports of COMMON REDPOLLS there. I’d never been to the park; I found the parking area easily enough and as soon as I got out of my car, a local photographer named Tim was kind enough to give me the lay of the land. There is a network of trails that run along the shore of the lake and around the amphitheater. Tim went off on his own, but we met up not too much later and we ended up spending the rest of the day birding together.  The trail was birdy with many of “the usuals”, with American Robins being the most prominent. Raptors were around in decent  numbers; we had several Red-tailed Hawks, a couple of young Bald Eagles, and a Cooper’s Hawk (which I misidentified in the field as a Sharp-shinned Hawk) that did a very nice, close flyby. The lake didn’t have as much waterfowl as I’d hoped, but we did have six species, including a distant large flock of what looked to me like Scaup, but I’m not sure which one. We saw fresh Coyote tracks in the snow, as well as some scat; it would have been excellent to catch up with one of them!.  The highlight of the day, however, was coming across a small flock of COMMON REDPOLLS just off the trail. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen them, back in 2013 at the Shawangunk Grasslands. I’ve seen one report this year already in Orange County, let’s hope they continue. It was a good day of birding, it was a cool, crisp day and we hiked maybe 5 miles and totaled 28 species.

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~Cooper’s Hawk in flight. This bird chased a mixed flock of American Robins and European Starlings across the trail right in front of us. Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~
~Red-tailed Hawk in flight, Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~
~COMMON REDPOLLS!  Nice to see these birds, and nice to get my target species – it feels like a while since I’ve done that. Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~
~I got my first good looks at American Tree Sparrows for the season. Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~
~White-tailed Deer at Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18.~
~This was taken on my trip up, on Thanksgiving. Cooper’s Hawk perched somewhere outside of Cortland NY, 11/22/18.~

6 thoughts on “Onondaga Lake Park, 11/23/18”

  1. Always fun to bird in a new spot! I was in Chittenango Friday and Saturday a.m., not too far from there. I think I passed this park on my way home, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Hoping for Redpolls in Orange and Sullivan counties this year.

  2. Matt, I so enjoy your photographs and your write up as if I were there, but bundled up in the warmth and comfort of my living room. I know you brave the cold for the love of those creatures, big and small! Thank you for sharing your joys.

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