One of the best features of Ithaca is the great scenery all around us: lakes, gorges, waterfalls, and so on. We even get to enjoy this every day at Cornell, since we park on one side of the Fall Creek gorge and go to classes on the other side. There is also a little lake a little upstream of where we normally cross the gorge to get to classes. Since I had gotten several email postings about the migratory birds making stops at this lake, Erin and I took a little time off from this week’s insane schedules and spent an hour walking around the lake around lunchtime. Among the birding highlights were the best views we’ve ever had of Golden-crowned Kinglets. They’re delightful birds but there are two difficulties in trying to enjoy them: no kinglet that wasn’t dead has ever held still for more than one or two seconds and their preferred habitat is the tops of tall conifers. It’s a tad difficult to see the crown of a 4″ bird that is ceaselessly flitting about fifty feet above you in dense spruce branches. But they were very cooperative today: they frequently came down to ten to twenty feet above the ground and they spent a lot of time in leafless deciduous trees. They didn’t pause in their flitting about, though. Here’s a pilfered image of a pair of them:
Another highlight was seeing two pairs of Hooded Mergansers. Here’s another stolen image:
I think I should spend more time not doing my work.