Sullivan County Winter Finches

Purple Finch

Purple Finch


Winter Finches have been scarce in this year of predictions of invasions of these birds. Actually, Winter Finches have made a major influx into the northeast this winter, however, the food crop in southern Canada and the very northern most parts of the northeastern US states have bumper crops of all the food sources they need. This has resulted in little movement any farther south than that. This morning, with the deep freeze well in place and most water sources frozen over, I headed out to look for finches. The Rondout Reservoir was almost entirely frozen and only two Common Mergansers were present. The Orchard was mostly picked over and little fruit was left. The Crab Apple stand at the Grahmsville School has abundant fruit and at least 13 PURPLE FINCHES were feeding there. The School welcomes birders only on weekend days, please stay away during the school week. A private feeder in Claryville also had many Purple Finches with at least 15 (probably more) seen among 30 American Goldfinches. Moving on to Sue Rayano’s at the corner of Smith and Cooley Mt. Road, I found the largest flock of finches I’ve seen so far this year. At least 40 American Goldfinches and 40 PINE SISKINS were present. Since birds could be heard vocalizing in the fir trees all around the house, there were probably many more. Sue welcomes birders to view her back yard from the Smith Road side of her house. Heading home, I stopped along the Neversink River at Bridgeville. Here the water almost always remains open and that was the case today (though lots of ice was flowing). Here I found the only waterfowl numbers of the day. Canada Geese (25), Mallards (12), Black Ducks (6), Hooded Mergansers (5)and Common Mergansers (3) were all seen along with the usually expected passerines.
Male Purple Finches

Male Purple Finches


One of the feeders at Sue Rayano's Home.

One of the feeders at Sue Rayano’s Home.


The real action is on the ground under the feeders!

The real action is on the ground under the feeders!

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