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OPEN HOUSE SHOWCASES IROQUOIS REFUGE

Blue Goose will take to the refuge on Saturday during Open House festivities at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama.

"We will have 20 nature-related exhibits set up at the refuge headquarters on Casey Road, as well as crafts, games face-painting and nature activities for kids," said Dorothy Gerhart, INWR outdoor recreation planner.

Blue Goose, official mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge System, will be on hand at Iroquois from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to greet visitors to exhibits and hands-on activities that highlight wildlife that inhabit the refuge. A blue goose serves as the logo seen on National Wildlife Refuge signs.

Both parking and admission to all exhibits are free throughout the day at the Visitors Center. Visitors can stroll around and view the many entertaining exhibits at the headquarters site and then go to the Kanyoo Nature Trail and Cayuga Overlook on Route 77 about 2 1/2 miles west of Alabama. A free shuttle ride will be available during all activities held at the trail and overlook.

Buffalo Audubon Society will begin its outdoor events with a wildflower walk at 11 a.m. BAS will have spotting scopes in place and focused on key sightings around Cayuga Pool from noon to 6 p.m. for its Scope Watch program. Informed volunteers will assist visitors in viewing wildlife at the overlook. Or you can bring your own scope or field glasses to view resident and migrating bird species and emerging plant life.

BAS tour leaders will conduct guided trail walks and talks to see bird and marsh dwellers along Kanyoo Nature Trail. From noon to 4 p.m., BAS guides will lead "Nature Walks" and "Family Fun Activities." Also, "Birding by Car" trips will go from 1-3 p.m. and from 3-5 p.m. No reservations are needed for these free Open House outdoor activities.

BAS will also have exhibitors demonstrating various raptor species brought from its Birds of Prey Center. Other presentations include "A Worm's World" and "Pond Life" plus many other volunteer-assisted displays.

Live entertainment will keep things lively with concerts by Ghost Rider and the Corfu-Pembroke Community Band. Buffalo Creek Dancers will perform Native American dances.

"These activities are especially important because they benefit wildlife first," said Tom Roster, newly appointed INWR manager. A 20-year veteran of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Chesapeake Bay and other major national refuges, Roster welcomes all groups and individuals interested in sustaining and expanding habitat suitable for fish and wildlife at Iroquois.

During an organizational meeting earlier this year, Roster pointed out a need to maintain and upgrade pool, marsh and land areas for upland and aquatic bird and animal species so that all stakeholders -- serious and casual bird watcher to upland and waterfowl hunters -- can benefit from its resources.

For more information about Open House activities Saturday or about all INWR programs and features, go to: http://iroquoisnwr.fws.gov. For directions to INWR Headquarters call (585) 948-5445.

Fishing tournaments

The Lake Ontario Counties Derby runs May 6-15 for all waters and some tributaries of that lake. For derby registration and rules information, call (585) 467-9802 or go to: www.loc.org.

The 27th Annual Cicero-Mattydale Lions Club Walleye Tournament will be held on Oneida Lake opening weekend of walleye season, May 7-8. Competitors vie for one or more of the top 25 prizes. The first place walleye takes a $1,000 prize.

Gander Mountain's Cicero store serves as headquarters for weigh-ins, drawings and award presentations for this tourney. Deadline for mail registrations is Wednesday to: Lions Club, P.O. Box 1057, Cicero, NY 13039. Registrations, available at 14 area outlets, go until midnight May 7. For more information, call (315) 699-4506.

Crappie competitors can get in on national competition during a Cabela's Crappie USA Classic tourney set for May 14 on Chautauqua Lake. Entrants can register on line until April 29 at the Web site: www.crappieusa.com. Contestants can sign up as late as 5 p.m. May 13 prior to a pretournament seminar at the Village Casino on Lakeside Drive in Bemus Point.

For complete details on this tourney, call the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, (800) 242-4569 or go to: www.tourchautauqua.com.

Millennium Bassmasters and Niagara Frontier Bassmasters of WNY have May 21 slotted for the fifth Lake Erie Bass Fishing Challenge, a tourney to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation. For entry information, call 893-0607 or 913-3761.

e-mail: wille@pce.net