Birding

The great gray owl in Tupper Lake which was viewed by so many people on Easter was found again this morning, Tuesday, April 2nd. The bird had not been reported Easter evening or all day on Monday, April 1st, although I recently heard a rumor that someone did see it late in the day on Monday. Unfortunately for folks who traveled up from both Buffalo and New York City with whom I chatted yesterday, they were unable to find the owl during its brief absence.Kendra refound the owl this morning on her way to work at The Wild Center and quickly called me with the big news. Other folks from The Wild... continue reading
 
On Saturday (March 30th), some friends and I once again went north to Quebec to look for great gray owls – and other species of owls – which have moved south this winter from the boreal forest of Canada. As I've written in previous blogs, there have been an impressive number of owls in the region. We were happily successful in our endeavor, but the real surprise came when we received a phone call that a great gray owl had been found in the Adirondacks just outside Tupper Lake late that afternoon! My friend who received the call while we were in Quebec didn't even know I had just found a great... continue reading
 
When a bunch of people well versed in the outdoors come to town, you know it's worth the trip. And although you can't follow the members of the Outdoor Writers Association of America around when they are here, you can visit some of the same places and get a great taste of what the area has to offer. The group will spend a September weekend here for its 86th fall conference this year and they've chosen the Adirondack region for its diverse outdoor offerings. And it's nothing you couldn't do on your own. Not that we want to wish the summer away;... continue reading
 
            Extras of good things are always exciting.  Like seconds of Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie.  Extra innings in a World Series game.  Or perhaps overtime during March Madness.  Add to that a cross country ski season extended by continued great snow.  Since our melt the other week, we have once again settled into a cold weather pattern with consistent snow showers, and the winter storm which raced across the country earlier this week gave us a nice dose of powder as well.  The result has been excellent cross country skiing and snowshoe conditions, and the pattern looks to hold... continue reading
 
The other day I took a walk at a property in Lake Placid where I go birding. My friend the landowner is a retired biologist who manages his property for wildlife which makes it a great place to check out for birds. He allows folks to go birding there, but asks that you email him first at lawrencemaster@gmail.com. Officially the property is called Intervale Lowlands, but many local birders who go there just refer to it as "The Farm".The landowner was there on the day I visited the property and we looked together through a flock of perhaps 300 common redpolls, finding a female hoary redpoll... continue reading
 
This past weekend I went birding with a friend in the Champlain Valley. Mid-March is a good time of year to find both wintering species and early spring arrivals. Our day started well when I spotted a northern shrike hunting near Adirondack Loj Road outside of Lake Placid as we were driving down to the Valley. We began our day in the Valley at the Westport boat launch where there was a collection of ducks such as common goldeneye, bufflehead, and hooded merganser.Then we worked our way south through the field-lined roads, finding a lone Bohemian waxwing and several red-tailed hawks. We also... continue reading
 
Earlier this winter, I posted regarding a movement of great gray owls south into Quebec and Ontario, just north of our region. Two great grays were even found south of the border in New York State in late January. To date no further great gray owl sightings have occurred in New York State. However, that does not mean that there are none around. After all, there are good numbers of great grays still north of us in Quebec and Ontario, and last weekend I traveled up there again to see them. They are, after all, super cool birds. So it is still worthwhile to keep an eye open for them.But great... continue reading
 
After weeks of overcast weather and constant snow showers (which made for great cross country skiing), the sun finally broke through last week and we got our first glimpses of blue sky in a long time. It marked the beginning of spring skiing conditions across the region as warm temperatures softened our white powder.Temperatures pushed fifty degrees this past weekend – too warm for my taste – but it has been fun to ski in the sun. And, while the beginning of this week has unfortunately brought with it R-A-I-N, the most profane four letter word a skier can utter, we will hopefully survive this... continue reading
 
The fall and beginning of winter here in the Adirondacks were marked by a big movement of finches from the north. White-winged and red crossbills and pine siskins moved into and straight through our area in search of food. Many of the birds ended up much further south of the area in the Mid-Atlantic and southeast states. Evening grosbeaks likewise moved much further south than they usually do as many of our trees this year produced paltry quantities of the mast and seeds which they eat.As fall lengthened and winter began, common redpolls and pine grosbeaks – the most uncommon winter finch to... continue reading
 
The highlight of the past weekend for me was helping lead a birding trip for The Wild Center to Lake Champlain. We had a great group of participants, and began our day in light snow as we drove to Westport. Although the overcast skies stayed on us the entire day, we dodged the worst of the snow showers, and visibility had significantly improved by the time we reached Westport.We started there at the boat launch where a nice collection of ducks was assembled on the water. Many of the flocks were distant, but we scanned through them and we had good views of the birds in the close flocks.... continue reading
 

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