[Photo:A Northern Harrier hunts over the hayfields.]
Additional uncommon species that have been recorded in the IBA during the winter months are Barred Owl, Merlin, and Golden Eagle*. The grasslands in spring hosts many Killdeer – their calls can be heard in every field, as can the bubbly, gurgling song of the Bobolink, recently arrived after a migration of over 5,000 miles. Another long-distance migrant, the Upland Sandpiper, flies over 7,000 miles to return to our area each spring. Also listed as “Threatened” in New York state, loss of grassland habitat is a major reason for the decline of this species. Evidence of breeding was found as recently as the summer of 2007. Other important summer breeding species found in the grasslands complex are American Kestrel, Grasshopper, Savannah, and Vesper Sparrows. Henslow’s Sparrow** was also recorded in 2006. American Woodcock, Eastern Bluebird, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole have all been recorded here as well. Spring and fall are also the times to seek out the few wetlands in the IBA. Although there is little public access to Dead Creek, which intersects the IBA in a north-south direction, areas where this creek crosses the roads can be very productive. Songbirds can be concentrated in these wet areas during spring migration.