Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We're not in Cape May anymore Toto.......

"Ithaca is Gorges" as the saying goes. In fact you almost can't look in any direction without seeing that phrase.

Well, they are right! Ithaca is gorgeous in part because of the gorges. Situated at the southern end of Cayuga Lake (in the Finger Lakes region) is well known for it's wineries. So why am I writing about being away from Cape May? Well, why not, there are birds up here too.

We came up for a meeting at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and have had some time to fit in a little birding. Fit in some birding? Well, get out and actually take notice (observe), count and log on to eBird our sightings. After all isn't this supposed to be the mecca of avian research; just as Cape May is the mecca of birdwatching?

The birding has not been the most spectacular I have ever experienced but getting up here to see the "Lab" has compensated for any avian short comings. After all it's hard to top birding in Cape May. Need I remind you of the quote from Alexander Wilson; "If birds are good judges of excellent climate, Cape May has the finest climate in the United States, for it has the greatest variety of birds."

If you haven't made a trip to Sapsucker Woods, you should. The property is beautiful (the weather has been awesome) and the small history lesson you receive through the signage in the building is worth the stop by. I for one did not realize that Louis Agassiz Fuertes was a resident of Ithaca. I guess that I should have but you learn something new every day. It was interesting to make some connections in this way. I realized that Cornell/Ithaca are as steeped in an ornithological past as Cape May. Again, something that should have been obvious and I guess that it was but the pieces just seemed to fall into place by making this visit.

Speaking of Fuertes, seeing original oil paintings made quite the impression. Couple that with the original Charley Harper (the one he did for the Lab a few years ago) on the wall and you have quite a bit of eye candy for the bird enthusiast.

So, many of you are probably asking, did you see any sapsuckers? No, we went sapsucker-less today. Actually I was thinking that the area should have been named Red-eyed vireo Woods given that they were everywhere, singing today. We did have a number of other good sightings. (see below) Like I said to some of the folks we were meeting with today, coming from the south, it's just nice to see Black-capped chickadees and hear Purple finches sing. It all relative.

To finish off this most excellent and very productive trip we went to dinner at the legendary Moosewood Restaurant. Like the Lab, a place that one must go when in Ithaca. That is if you are into healthy (mostly organic), vegetarian/vegan cooking. I've used their cookbooks for years and still do even though I am no longer a vegetarian. But somehow my cooking just pales in comparison. Either way, a most excellent restaurant, but I digress........

I'd like to say that I have photos to post with this but being the goofball that I am, I forgot the cable you need to download the photos from the camera. That just means you'll have to visit for yourself. (Maybe if a I get a few moments after we get back I'll edit in some photos.)

So as usual, the bird list is posted below. One last thing, having met with most of next years (probable) WSB Cornell Lab team, I think that Don and Pete will have their work cut out for them.

Location: Sapsucker Woods, CLO
Observation date: 8/14/07
Number of species: 31
Mallard 2
Great Blue Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Mourning Dove 6
Belted Kingfisher 1
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 15
Eastern Kingbird 8
Red-eyed Vireo 23
Blue Jay 3
Black-capped Chickadee 14
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
House Wren 2
Veery 1
American Robin 44
Gray Catbird 12
Cedar Waxwing 28
Yellow Warbler 1
American Redstart 6- still a few singing
Common Yellowthroat 1
Song Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 11
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Bobolink 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Purple Finch 13
American Goldfinch 27
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org/)

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