Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

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  Cranes at Conewango and a Long-eared at Tifft

Published: April 13, 2019
Tags: General Observations, Sandhill Crane, Eastern Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, Long-eared Owl

Having heard there were Sandhill Cranes at Conewango Swamp, I thought I'd take a drive down there and see if I could catch a glimpse of them along with some shorebirds that folks were seeing as well.

After scoping the swamp for quite awhile with no cranes in view, I heard the prehistoric-like call of a Sandhill Crane as it flew overhead.  It wasn't the best look, but at least I got to see and hear one!  And as it turned out, it was my only encounter with one for the day.

There were many shorebirds further out in the marshy area with many ducks and a couple of Bonaparte's Gulls - a nice bonus.  I didn't spot any Dunlin but there were Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, and nearly a dozen Wilson Snipe.  They were a bit too far for decent photos so I won't even bother sharing any.
Along the road, I had a nice view of a male Eastern Towhee as he merrily sang "drink your tea!".  Savannah, Song, and Field Sparrows were out in the field, Osprey were on their nests, and raptors appeared to be migrating.  I counted 21 Turkey Vultures streaming by along with 4 Bald Eagles, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and 3 Red-tailed Hawks.

As I was driving home, I got a call that a Long-eared Owl was spotted at Tifft Nature Preserve.  I'm a sucker for those so I continued northward to stop in and see the little guy.  Fellow birder, Joe Fell, pointed out the owl to me when I arrived. He was all snuggled into a pine but looked alert.  We didn't want to stress him so we took some distant photos and left him to some others who were just arriving.  What a cutie!

All in all, it was a "birdy" day with one very nice surprise!

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Sandhill Crane flyover

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Sandhill Crane

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Male Eastern Towhee

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Savannah Sparrow

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Long-eared Owl

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