We started off heading north from Ithaca, and immediately began tallying the common families as we drove - Turdidae, Columbidae, Corvidae, and other common road-visible birds. Doing some drive-by feeder birding netted more groups such as Paridae.
Our first real stop was one of the fields in the extensive farmland overlooking Cayuga Lake. Listening from the roadside added Icteridae, Emberizidae, Alaudidae, and others.
Our next stop to add a few waterbird families was at the north end of Cayuga Lake. Scanning from Mud Lock added Anatidae, Laridae, Phalacrocoracidae and a lingering late-spring Gaviidae. Some Accipitridae were on nest across the inlet.
I love Laridae
We continued north from Mud Lock to Montezuma itself, where extensive wetlands and some riparian forest gave us a real surge in family counts. Anatidae were abundant and diverse in the main wetlands complex. Scanning yielded a few unexpected Podicipedidae among them as well.
Podicipedidae and Anatidae
Our final explorations of wild families involved the wetlands complexes located north of the main refuge. Here we psshd up a Polioptilidae, called in several Rallidae, observed Hirundinidae at close range, but failed to pick up the single pair of Gruidae that have nested at the refuge for several years running.
Glenn pointing of the Polioptilidae
I don't remember the exact tally by the time we left Montezuma to drive to the Syracuse Zoo, but it was somewhere around 25 or 30 families, and we even tallied more on the drive - Apodidae over one of the towns. The Syracuse Zoo was very kind to our family list with many families difficult or impossible to find in New York. We even continued wild birding at the park, adding species of Parulidae and a new family, Tyrannidae, calling and foraging in the woods at the zoo. Their big walk-in aviary was a real treat, as was our behind-the-scenes tour of their large Spheniscidae exhibit. Here you'll see my bad photography get even worse, as the lighting and photographic opportunities were less than ideal.
Our first stop was the walk-in aviary. This huge, warm, humid room was chock full of the strangest assemblage of bird families that you would never expect to see together - Cardinalids perched with Irenids, Momotids, Muscicapids, and Threskiornithids calling, and more.
My favorite Sternidae
Waterbirds are a constant presence on the zoo grounds, with one big exhibit featuring mixed Anatids and other Anatidae scattered around in the watering holes of other exhibits.
An Anatid awaits spillage from feeding Phoenicopteridae
Anatidae courtship display
Two male Anatids engaging in courtship-like behaviors
Other indoor exhibits at the Syracuse Zoo allowed me to tally a few interesting non-avian families.
The final portion of our zoo trip was a tour behind the scenes of the large Spheniscidae exhibit featuring a young nestling.
Finally, here is our great leader Wink. It was a fantastic experience to TA with him.
Total: 52 families