Adirondack Birding

Juvenile Gray Jay at Bloomingdale Bog 6/20/13

Juvenile Gray Jay at Bloomingdale Bog 6/20/13

male Cape May Warbler on Oregon Plains Road

male Cape May Warbler on Oregon Plains Road

male Black-backed Woodpecker

male Black-backed Woodpecker

A view of the Adirondacks from River Road.

A view of the Adirondacks from River Road.

Juvenile Black-backed Woodpecker still in nest hole on Bigelow Road 6/20/13

Juvenile Black-backed Woodpecker still in nest hole on Bigelow Road 6/20/13

Black-backed Woodpecker at Bloomingdale Bog.

Black-backed Woodpecker at Bloomingdale Bog.

Adult Gray Jay at Bloomingdale Bog.

Adult Gray Jay at Bloomingdale Bog.

Renee Davis, Marge Gorton and I traveled to the north country on Wednesday. We left before sun up and arrived mid day at Bloomingdale Bog. On our way up we stopped at Aqueduct Park in Rexford to try for the White Pelican that had been there the day before, but it was gone. Similarly we stopped at the Essex Ferry on Lake Champlain but couldn’t find the Caspian Terns. When we arrived at Bloomingdale bog, we birded the trail south of Bloomingdale Road in the afternoon. We had some great birds. I haven’t been to the Adirondacks in several years, and I had forgotten what a wonderful place it is. We immediately found Lincoln’s Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Nashville Warbler, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYACATHER, Palm Warbler and Alder Flycatcher. The best birds of the day however were an adult and juvenile GRAY JAY! The birds were obviously conditioned to people and followed us throughout much of our walk. It was a wonderful experience to have these birds so close and confident. As we continued, we found YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS along the trail and White-throated Sparrows were everywhere. This is just a wonderful birding experience. For reasons we aren’t sure of, there were few insects to deal with. On this walk you can sometimes be inundated with Black Flies, Mosquitos and Deer Flies, but we had few today. We didn’t even need insect repellant, but it is always best to have it with you. More birds became evident as we followed the trail along the open bog. We had Purple Finches, Common Ravens, Winter Wrens and Hermit Thrush all around us, warblers included Nashville, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Magnolia and Black-throated Green. We had a great afternoon. We pulled ourselves away from the bog and headed to Bigelow Road and Oregon Plains. Dark-eyed Junco, Magnolia Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Chestnut-sided Warblers all became evident. The best bird (which I hadn’t expected) was a male CAPE MAY WARBLER feeding young! This bird collected a mouth full of worms before disappearing. Ten minutes later, to our surprise, he returned and repeated the process. He fed quite close in the trees only ten feet up and seemed oblivious to us as I snapped many photos (none great). He filled his bill before disappearing again. This was the first time I had ever seen a Cape May feeding young. As it got later in the evening, we retreated to our motel. We had had a great day of birding. We spent the night at the “Saranac Lake Best Western” and were pleased with our accommodations. The next morning we returned to Bloomingdale Bog, hoping for some of the birds we had missed the previous day. It didn’t take long before we heard a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER drumming. We were able to locate the bird and view it in a dead tree. We spished and to our amazement, two more Black-backs flew in. We now had a family group of three. I was able to get a few shots before they moved away. Thrilled with our experience, we headed back to Bloomingdale Road. As we neared the road, we ran into a couple of local birders. They gave us exact directions to a Black-backed Woodpeckers nest on Bigelow Road. As we hiked the trail to that destination, we found Brown Creeper, Winter Wren , Common Raven, Cape May Warbler and more! Both Kinglets were seen and heard. On Bigelow Road we easily found the nest of the Black-backed Woodpeckers. We found both a male and female BBWP feeding a juvenile bird in the nest. We had heard there were two juvies, but we only saw one. I was able to get some decent shots of the birds. You are able to view the nest from a distance of about 50 feet in an opening in the alders along the dirt road. Upon our departure from this spot, we worked Bigelow Road and Oregon Plains for Boreal Chickadees. Unfortunately, with many hours dedicated to finding this bird, we never found a Boreal Chickadee. That said, we had a great birding experience. From the bog, we ventured to River Road. We had heard that some of our target birds could usually be found here. It was a great birding spot! Magnolia, Blackburnian, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided Warbler and our only American Redstart of the trip were found here. The only Wood Ducks of the trip were found here as well. Before I go any further, let me mention the great views of the surrounding mountains. This is a great place to bird with stunning vistas in every direction. We finally pulled ourselves away to have some lunch. After a great lunch in Lake Placid, we finally headed home. This was a wonderful trip and I hope it won’t be as long until my next visit. We had a total of 65 species for the two days. Renee and Marge are the best and I can’t thank them enough for a great trip. If anyone has any questions about the trip or how to find the birds, please feel free to contact me.

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3 Responses to Adirondack Birding

  1. scott baldinger says:

    Hi John
    Nice photos! Love the woodpecker shots especially the juvinile looking out the nesting cavity!
    Scotty

  2. Jeff Nicol says:

    I have been planning a Bloomingdale Bog trip for some time, just never seem to have a full weekend to get up there. Your post here makes me want to go more than ever. My target bird would be the Gray Jay, I have heard this is a good spot to see them. have you ever been to Ferds Bog? I think it is in that area also and hear that is another good location for the Gray Jay.

    • Hi Jeff,     Yes, I have been to Ferd’s Bog.  I have had Gray Jay there as well.  In fact all of the usual boreal birds.  Either location is good, just so happens that this year most are easily seen at Bloomingdale, which is why we chose there.  Good luck if you go, John

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