Rochester Birding Association
Supporting Rochester Birding Since 1975
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Where To Bird This Month
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It doesn't get any better than this.
In fact, more species are reported in May than any other month. On average 68 new species arrive, and 230 are seen overall this month.
The spring migration reaches its peak by the second weekend in May, nearly 30 species of warblers arrive in the woods, bobolinks arrive in the fields, and shorebirds continue to stop at wet spots in the fields.
The sheer volume of migrating songbirds means some are bound to spill over into your yard, especially if you have trees, shrubs and other natural cover. Watch for warblers, vireos, and thrushes - perhaps even a Lincoln's sparrow might be spotted picking through last year's fallen leaves and litter.
The crown jewels of the spring - warblers - arrive in force. With them come vireos, thrushes, scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, yellow- and black-billed cuckoos, Lincoln's sparrows, and, later in the month empidonax flycatchers. Island Cottage Woods and Firehouse/Church Trail are probably the premier spot for their volume of migrating songbirds. But both Durand-Eastman and Cobb's Hill are also excellent.
Vultures, osprey, bald eagles, and sharp-shinned hawks continue to fly over in good numbers. Migrating common nighthawks will be visible at dusk, especially along the lakeshore. A great vantage point is the hawk watch platform at Braddock Bay, or any other vantage point along the lakeshore.
The lake will hold black-bellied plovers on the beaches, and ruddy turnstones on the piers. May can be a good month for gulls as well. Later in the month, look for Franklin's and laughing gulls. Jetties and piers at Charlotte and Irondequoit Bay, and also beaches are great places to look.
Least bitterns and sora rails will be seen in the marshes of Braddock Bay and Salmon Creek and Irondequoit Bay.
HANA is great for rusty blackbirds, warblers, swallows, shorebirds, and bitterns – it’s tough to call! Go there expecting to find something cool and unusual and you usually will!
The possibilities are endless for some great birding this month!