Black Terns seen at Seneca Meadows Preserve

Wildlife Biologist, Mike McGraw, visits many habitat restoration projects in his position with Applied Ecological Services, an ecological consulting firm based out of Wisconsin, but none quite as exciting, he says, as the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve in Seneca Falls. “The Seneca Meadows Wetland Preserve continues to impress and amaze me each year. This is my favorite project location and has been for 5 years. Watching the transition from farm fields with corn and crows to robust wetlands and native meadows teeming with hundreds of different plant and animal species has been a highlight in my career as a wildlife biologist. This site will provide critical habitat for rare and iconic species native to central New York for countless generations to come.”In a recent summer species survey, McGraw kept a lookout for Black Terns after being notified by local resident, Anne Havelin, that a pair had been spotted on the site. He confirmed the sighting when a tern flew overhead while conducting a faunal inventory survey near the Blue Heron Loop trail. Based upon these combined observations, it appears that breeding black terns from the nearby Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge are visiting the Preserve and successfully foraging.The presence of this species at the Seneca Meadows, Inc. owned wetlands preserve is significant because the Black Tern is a federal species of concern and is a New York State Endangered species. Its habitat of freshwater marshes is declining in the U.S. due to wetland drainage for development. The varied ecosystems found at the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve, including the combination of open pond and diversely vegetated marshes that these terns seem to prefer, welcome migrants and curious neighboring terns as they pass through and potentially will offer nesting habitat in years to come. New York State Endangered, Threatened and Species of Concern such as the Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Jefferson x Blue Spotted Salamander, and the Short-eared Owl have also found temporary or permanent refuge at this local wetlands preserve, delighting regional birders and wildlife enthusiasts.Other significant finds in the summer survey, reports McGraw, include a Spotted Salamander egg mass (babies coming!), and evidence of probable breeding by a Hooded Warbler pair on site.The trails at the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve are open daily, from dawn to dusk. To learn more about the Preserve, log onto senecameadows.com or look them up on Facebook (search for Seneca Meadows Education Center). Maintaining habitat is just one of the ways that Seneca Meadows is working to be a valued partner and trusted neighbor in their community.

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