Friday, June 16, 2017

Adirondack specials - 15th June

My last birding excursion in the US was to The Adirondacks to catch up with a handful of birds that I've missed in the past. I hired Joan Collins of Adirondack Avian Expeditions, and gave her a shopping list. Top of the list was Bicknell's Thrush. A high elevation specialist with a restricted range in NE USA and Eastern Canada, one of the only really 'easy' places to see this is on Whiteface Mountain, and Joan is the best person to find it! It means an early start (2:15am) in order to be on site for dawn when the birds are most vocal. We heard dozens, but only really saw three, of which only one was photographable.

Next up was a trip to Bigelow Road in the Bloomingdale area where Joan very quickly picked out a quiet chirp that she said was Boreal Chickadee. Sure enough a pair soon showed themselves. Two targets down, just one to go...

The last main site was on private land somewhere north of Tupper Lake where Joan had staked out nesting Philadelphia Vireos. We got to the site easily, and could hear the birds immediately, but seeing them was a problem. After quite a wait we eventually go on to a foraging bird and had great views. All targets achieved!

Joan then showed me a Northern Goshawk nest that she knew about, and it had two young birds in it which had clearly only hatched recently.

Other birds seen during the day included: a small colony of Cliff Swallows, Ruffed Grouse crossing the road, Broad-winged Hawk hunting said grouse, nesting Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, calling Barred Owls and Wilson's Snipe.

Bicknell's Thrush. A real skulker, we saw 3 birds in about 3 hours, but must have heard 30.
Boreal Chickadee. A really nice bird, much more interesting than I was expecting!
Philadelphia Vireo. At last! I feel like I've chased this bird all over New York. Quite tricky to see even though we had at least 3 birds singing around us for about an hour and a half.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This pair were working flat-out to feed the nestful of youngsters we could hear clearly complaining about empty bellies.
Cliff Swallow. A small colony of 8 or 10 nests under the eaves of a farmhouse.
Ruffed Grouse.

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