I spent 6 days on the shore of Lake Ontario near Olcott, NY last week. While I was there I counted birds every day and often several times a day. Here is the list of all the birds I saw while on the grounds of AMOC camp. I counted a total of 38 species and while I have photos of some, I do not have photos of all.
My days started with stepping out the door of Wells Hall where my Mom, sister and I slept. In this area, which is closer to the road, I would often see and hear Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Chipping Sparrows. I frequently saw Northern Flickers and American Robins here too. And this is the only area where I saw one lone Red-winged blackbird fly by!
One of the very first birds I saw when we arrived Saturday, July 21st was a flock of Bank Swallows swooping over the shoreline. More about them later.
Of course, gulls were seen every day and I believe this one is a juvenile Herring Gull due to its overall profile, the spotty look to its body and the pattern on its wings. But I will say right here that I am not an expert on gulls and I am still learning. Most of the gulls I saw this week were juveniles, though I did see a few adults.
On the second night I was there I followed this path down to the shore traipsing through stinky mud in search of birds. At the bottom I was rewarded with a view of the Bank Swallows nesting site. (More about this later).
In the sumac and thistle that lined the cliff edge I found American Goldfinches, Gray Catbirds, Yellow Warblers and 2 species of vireos. This whole shoreline was populated with song sparrows which I heard and saw every day.
I saw the most gorgeous sunset as I turned and headed back up the trail. It was the best sunset of the whole week and I took several pictures.
The next morning my sister and I grabbed out chairs and our stuff, and made ourselves some tea. Then we hauled it all out here by the edge of the lake where we sat with me as close to this fence as possible. I wanted to do this because I wanted to be able to see down to the beach below. It is probably a good 50 foot drop down to the water and I knew it was the only place I could see the beach.
I call this place Bank Swallow Beach because the Bank Swallows nest in this almost vertical cliff. While sitting here watching, not only did a Belted Kingfisher fly by, but a Spotted Sandpiper landed briefly at the water’s edge. I got so excited that I think I gasped while reaching for my camera and it flew off. Enthusiasm is a good think but not so good when you are trying to photograph birds!
While I sat watching and waiting my sister decided to go for a run. For awhile I was here alone listening to the persistent cry of a bird. I thought, at first, it might be some empid or flycatcher of some sort due to the sound it was making. Then I found the bird and saw it was some kind of sparrow. I was hoping it was some sparrow species I had never see before but when this parent Song Sparrow flew over to feed the crying chick I concluded it was a juvenile Song Sparrow. You can see it’s photo in the previous post.
I could some crows cawing while I sat there and soon this pair flew by. My mother came and joined me and as we were sitting there talking I caught the motion of some dark bird flying overhead. Just as i looked up I saw it disappear over the treetops to the northeast and I thought I saw a white tail. I was just telling my mom what I thought I saw when suddenly the eagle came soaring back!
After flying west it turned and came back again disappearing over the treetops once more. We got such good looks at it! Later in the week I was standing in this same location when a juvenile Bald Eagle flew along the same aerial track. I can only assume they have a nest somewhere nearby.
I believe this is a juvenile ring-billed gull due to its pink bill tipped with black, its more delicate profile, and that black trailing edge to its wings, as well as the more dark and contrasting wing tips.
On the morning of the 2nd I got up around 6:30 a.m. and headed out to watch birds. I hiked all over the campgrounds from Wells Hall to the shore and along the fenceline northeast to an orchard where I turned and headed back along a dirt road through the middle of the camp.
And right near it a Mourning Dove catching the first rays of the morning sun!
I saw so many birds from this area looking out over the lake.
Most gulls take three to four years to reach their adult plumage. You can clearly see the prominent scowling forehead of the Herring Gull in this photo though.
Lake Ontario; what a beautiful place to watch birds!
Please click on the picture to see more amazing birds!
Birds Seen at AMOC from July 30th through August 4, 2011:
- Barn Swallow
- Bank Swallow
- Northern Flicker
- Purple Martin
- Chipping Sparrow
- Ring-billed Gull
- Cedar Waxwing
- American Goldfinch
- American Robin
- Black-capped Chickadee
- American Crow
- Gray Catbird
- Herring Gull
- Red-eyed Vireo
- Great Blue Heron
- Song Sparrow
- Yellow Warbler
- Canada Goose
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Mourning Dove
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Bald Eagle
- Spotted Sandpiper
- Belted Kingfisher
- Chimney Swift
- Downy Woodpecker
- Northern Cardinal
- House Finch
- House Sparrow
- European starling
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Green heron
- Caspian Tern
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Eastern Kingbird
- Warbling Vireo
- Turkey Vulture
All birding data was submitted to eBird from which this list was compiled. Species appear in the order of this location’s Life List for me.