On the 117th National Wildlife Refuge System Birthday (3/14/2020), six birdwatchers took to the Iroquois NWR overlooks to search for migratory waterfowl. This occurred prior to the gathering restrictions implemented by the state for COVID-19.
We were fortunate to hear a singing Northern Shrike at Cayuga Overlook. These wintering shrikes will soon be headed to the boreal north where they breed from northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories south to central Quebec, northern Manitoba and northern British Columbia. Shrikes imitate songbird calls and songs to draw their prey close enough to catch. What we heard was a repeated shrill but abbreviated whistle, reminiscent of a teacher’s whistle on a playground.
Two new arrivals at Cayuga Pool were a Pied-billed Grebe and an American Coot. A varied number of duck species in their brightest plumages were seen and identified for those newer to that category. Two lingering Tundra Swans were at Kumpf Marsh.
We also stopped at Ringneck Marsh, School House Marsh and Center Marsh. Courting Eastern Bluebirds and four Northern Flickers in a territorial dispute were very entertaining.
This event was a pop-up event for Iroquois Observations. Attendees received stamps on their IO Score Cards. Attend as many events as you can to fill your score card – those with the most events attended will be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of the year.
All Iroquois Observation events are free and open to the public. Click here to learn more.