North County Waterfowl Migration Tour

Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Lake Erie Bird Club invite the public to celebrate the National Audubon Society’s “Year of the Bird” by attending our FREE Northern Chautauqua County Waterfowl Migration Tour, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 17th, starting at the Central Avenue pier in Dunkirk Harbor. 

Each fall, thousands of beautiful waterfowl travel south through Chautauqua County.  Some stop to rest and feed, offering birders a welcome opportunity to observe these long-distance travelers.   The Lake Erie shore and nearby inland marshes and ponds provide for excellent viewing of November migrants.  You just have to be in the right place at the right time to observe this annual spectacle! On November 17th, our “target birds” will include Tundra Swan, Snow Goose, Common Loon, Horned and Red-necked Grebe, and as many as twenty species of dabbling and diving ducks. Along with these waterfowl, in Dunkirk Harbor we have a good chance of seeing Bald Eagles, a late-migrating sandpiper or two, a flock of southbound Snow Buntings, and perhaps even a Peregrine Falcon. At inland locations, we should see a nice variety of migrating finches, sparrows, and other songbirds.

The program will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Central Avenue pier in Dunkirk Harbor. Terry Mosher of the Lake Erie Bird Club will lead the tour and assist with bird identification and descriptions. Jonathan Townsend of the CWC will provide information about the importance of water quality and habitat to the migrating birds.  After Dunkirk Harbor, the group will head inland to check out two or three nearby ponds and marshes. Please dress for the weather, and bring along a pair of binoculars if you have one.  Reservations are encouraged, so please call or email the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy in advance to let us know you’re coming (info@chautauquawatershed.org or 664–2166). In the event of severe weather the CWC will contact will contact those with reservations to inform them of event cancellation or change in date. Cancellations will also be announced on our Facebook page. 

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a member-supported, not–for–profit organization which works with landowners to conserve and enhance the landscape features which protect important wildlife habitats and collect, store, filter, and deliver clean waters to our Chautauqua lakes, streams, and groundwaters. To date it has led efforts conserving over 1,000 acres of land across Chautauqua County. For more information on this event or the CWC, visit chautauquawatershed.org

The Lake Erie Bird Club, which celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, welcomes everyone with an interest in the birds of Western New York. Club members include both beginning and longtime birders. The club meets at 7:00 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the BOCES LoGuidice Center on Fredonia-Stockton Road. Members share sightings, hone their bird-identification skills, conduct three annual bird surveys for the Buffalo Ornithological Society, participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and go out on birding field trips like the one on November 17th.