Friday, December 7, 2012

Taughannock Loon Watch (part two)

Taughannock Loon Watch - picnic table wind breaker
(Photo by Bill Evans)
Today marked the end of the season counting southbound loons over Cayuga Lake. Altogether, a little over 6,000 Common Loons were counted in addition to a half-dozen or so Red-throated Loons.  This appears to be quite an impressive number, but looking at the years 1993 through 1997, the average was over 10,000 loons! This fall actually fell well short (~600) than the lowest count between that period (6,703 in 1994). It’s hard to say if their numbers are considerably lower than 15-20 years ago after only one season. Idealy the count should be conducted for another couple seasons to establish an average. If the numbers like this persists, then we should start looking into factors such as avian botulism, which has affected large numbers of loons in the past.

Even on slow days, it’s never a dull moment on the lake. Stationary counts from Taughannock every morning, you’re bound to see other birds as well. During the five week period, I recorded over 70 other species– mostly waterfowl as you would expect. Some of the highlights include: Brant, 4,000+ Snow Geese, all three scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Merlin, Peregrine Falcons, a Golden Eagle, Snow Buntings on a daily basis, and of course, the occasional winter finch - White-winged & Red Crossbills and Common Redpoll all making an appearance.

I’m really going to miss it out there. This evening I drove back home (Ohio) so that I can start packing for my trip to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala this Monday. I'll post a little more on that this weekend!

1 comment:

dAwN said...

Have a Wonderful trip! Hope you blog about it!