Spring has arrived. On average 196 species are seen this month. The hawk migration reaches its peak, songbirds begin to fill the woods, bitterns and herons arrive in the marshes. Yup, migration is in full swing!
Some of the best action is along the lake after the passage of a warm front. The Braddock Bay Hawkwatch platform is a favorite place of local birders, not just for hawks but for waterfowl and early passerines as well. Careful observers will see dozens of ducks dropping into the bay, harriers hunting the cattails at water’s edge, and flocks of flyover songbirds.
The lake will hold Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead and other lingering waterfowl. Terns will begin to arrive, and bitterns, rails and herons will be seen in the marshes of Braddock Bay, Irondequoit Bay and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Carncross Road and Van Dyne Spoor Road at Montezuma often yield good numbers of birds, and occasionally some surprises.
For many, the most tempting April birds are the tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl and the larger Long-eared Owl that frequent the Braddock Bay Owl Woods. As with the wintering owls, we encourage all observers to be respectful of the owls, of the surrounding environment, and of other observers.
In the yard we can find White-crowned and White-throated Sparrow and perhaps some Chipping Sparrow. Near the middle of the month look for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and the first warblers (Yellow-rumped, Pine, Palm and Black-throated Green) could show up at Island Cottage Woods.