My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Rochester Bound

Published December 15, 2012
Tags: Life List Happenings, White-winged Crossbill, Mute Swan, Northern Harrier, Monk Parakeet, Ring-billed Gull, Hooded Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Rochester, NY, Braddock Bay

More sunshine = more birding! I headed out to Rochester today to see if I could add a couple of birds to my life list...  A cemetery in Rochester, Holy Sepulchre, has been host to Red Crossbills and White-winged Crossbills as well as Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins.  I believe some Pine Grosbeaks were spotted there as well.  A couple of large Sweet Gum trees are richly endowed with just the right type of seeds that these irruptives love.  The crossbills were my primary target on this trip.

After much ado, I finally was kindly directed to the right spot in the cemetery, albeit late in the day. Thank you, Mike Z for your timely email!  But let me back up... 

The day started out sunny and promising.  Before long, I realized I was heading to a spot that was only a few blocks away from a plaza where Monk Parakeets have been seen.  Wow!  I found the plaza and, to my amazement, easily spotted and photographed the parakeets.  What a large nest they were building up on top of a cell tower.  Amazing.  There is some fuss going on about adding these birds to your life list.  I'm adding this bird, but, I think because of region, I may have to take them off.  If any expert on the subject is reading this, I welcome your input...

Next, only minutes away, I arrived at the cemetery.  I found, what I thought to be the section, Section 21 - but wait - it said South.  I scoped out the spot but no crossbills; no birds, actually, at all!  I figured if there was a South, there had to be a North.  Maybe that was the spot.  I finally found Section 21 North.  No crossbills - lots of Grackles and House Sparrows.  I drove around and around the cemetery, which was HUGE, but to no avail.  Sunlight was quickly dimming and I really wanted to check out Braddock Bay.  I've been wanting to visit there for a very long time. 

Finally escaping the cemetery's maze of pavement, I headed North towards Braddock Bay on Lake Ontario. I saw 3 Red-tailed Hawks on the way - and even got a nice photo of one.  Braddock Bay was COLD. Very cold.  I spent an icy hour out by the lookout station and picked up my second life list addition for the day: a Northern Harrier.  As soon as I saw him (or her), I KNEW it was something new and COOL.  It seems to be a low-hunter.  By that, I mean it hovered over areas in the marsh - just hanging and looking.   I don't know if it saw some movement - mice, moles, voles, maybe - or what - but it was definitely hunting.

After I was frozen to the bone, I took a short hike to warm up, checked my email, and there was the email with explicit directions to the cemetery.  It didn't take me long to decide to head back to the city and see if I couldn't find the crossbills.  And find them I did!  By now, though, it was 4 in the afternoon and the dim day was much dimmer.  I got two poor photos that I'm posting below, but I had hoped for much better.  They were White-winged Crossbills, by the way, and they didn't stick around for very long.  I'm sure they headed off to roost for the night.  Some Black-capped Chickadees were all that remained until I finally called it quits: no crossbills and no light... Ah well, another day...
bird photo
Monk Parakeet
bird photo
Monk Parakeet as he works on his nest
bird photo
Mute Swan
bird photo
Ring-billed Gull
bird photo
Hooded Mergansers
bird photo
Northern Harrier - you can see him looking down as he hovers over this spot
bird photo
Northern Harrier
bird photo
Northern Harrier
bird photo
Red-tailed Hawk
bird photo
Red-tailed Hawk
bird photo
Male White-winged Crossbill - it's hard to see but he's off to the right hanging upside-down and partly obstructed by some seed pods.
bird photo
Female White-winged Crossbill