The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

March 21, 2013

Spring has sprung in WNY

By Douglas Domedion
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The turn-around in the weather sure doesn’t make it seem like spring and it has the waterfowl moving again. There was a big bunch of Tundra Swans here earlier, along with a large number of Pintail ducks, but the cold snap seems to have pushed most of them from our area. The waterfowl are concentrated on the bigger marshes where the wind has helped to keep spots open from ice. There are a lot of Ring-necked ducks here with a few of each of the normal species seen in this area in the spring.

Sunday morning found fresh snow and many of the small marshes froze up tight. The resident geese stayed by their preferred nesting spots but had to sleep on fresh snow and ice!

There is a high concentration of Canada geese in the area and now is the time to see the “sky full of them”. Some Tundra swans can still be seen around the refuges too.

There was a nice encounter with a Short-eared Owl on the Sour Springs Road just south of the big power line on the INWR on Saturday evening. This was very near to where I had gotten some nice shots of a SEOW on the ground on the edge of a cut corn field about the middle of February. That one only stuck around for a couple of shots but this one sat there going about his business giving me some great poses.

This owl was a little farther south where the marsh comes up to the road on the west side. There is a ditch coming out of the cattails there and the highway guys had mowed it back from the road. When I spotted him sitting there near the ditch in the cut cattails I continued driving down the road and then turned around and slowly worked my way up to about 25 yards from him. It took some time but he seemed to accept me as not being a threat. The thought was that he had a vole and was eating it but that wasn’t the case.

 He kept looking around and I believe he made a pass at a vole and missed and was hoping he would reappear if he waited. Long story short he sat there for almost a half an hour while I was able to get some great shots. The only time he seemed concerned about me was when the shutter clicked and he turned his head quickly towards me to stare briefly. You never know when you are going to get lucky with nature and the camera!

On another note it seems that one of our Bald Eagle nests on the State’s WMA’s here has a “three-some” incubating. Last Wednesday I happened to see an immature eagle (estimated at three years old) go to the nest with a small carcass of some kind while an adult was incubating. The adult got up and began feeding on the carcass and the immature took over the incubating!

Usually Bald Eagles do not mate until they are five years old which is when they get their white head and tail. Four year old eagles have been know to mate but it is very rare for a three year old.

But the story gets even more interesting. The next day I was informed that two adults where on the nest and the immature was also hanging around.. I spent three hours observing the nest that evening and the same thing was seen. It appears that all three eagles are taking care of the incubating! It will be interesting to see how this nesting season turns out for them. At the Montezuma NWR, near Cayuga Lake, there has been a “three-some” for years on one of the nests there.

If you are a turkey hunter and are interested in hunting on the INWR you have until April 1st to apply for a random drawing to fill the 75 permits available this year. This year there will be two season sessions (you can only apply for one). One is from May 1st until May 15th (50 permits) and the other is from May 16th until May 25th (25 permits).

Those interested may pick up an application at their headquarters on Casey Road, by phone, mail or email (iroquois@fws.gov). There is a $5 non-refundable processing fee. For more information call 585-948-5445.

Now is the time to really get out and see the huge “waterfowl show” put on at our local State and Federal refuges. As time goes on the geese start to spread out as the harvested local crop fields get picked over nearby and the huge flocks get broke up.

The Great Outdoors is an interactive forum for nature lovers of all kinds.

Local sportsmen and women can call to share their reports of trophies bagged, good hunting and fishing grounds, odd sightings and sportsman’s club activities. Photos are accepted.

To get sportsmen’s news and info into The Great Outdoors, call Doug Domedion at (585) 798-4022 or e-mail him at woodduck2020@yahoo.com.