As many have noted, migration was mostly late - the latest I've ever seen. Year after year, the number of birds continues to decline. My non-birder husband keeps asking what is wrong - he comments that we are not hearing many birds anymore. The dawn chorus used to be deafening, but now it doesn't even wake us. On Whiteface there were noticeably less numbers of vocalizing Bicknell's Thrushes on Sunday compared to last year at the same time. While these are personal observations, I am hearing the same worries from other birders regarding declining numbers of birds. Our human population, nearing 8 billion, is taking a huge toll on the planet.
A few sightings from the past 3 weeks (minus the week we spent in Iowa for our younger son's graduation!): 5/31/17 Long Lake (Hamilton Co.) Two Barred Owls hooted back and forth for a long time outside our home last night - one right off our front porch. 5/30/17 Long Lake Gray Jays - 7 (2 along Route 30, 2 by Little Tupper Lake, and 3 at Sabattis Bog (the resident pair only raised one baby this year)) On a May 28, 2017 Dawn Tour up Whiteface Mountain with 4 people (2 from MA, and 2 from PA) we found 67 species visiting both high and low elevation boreal habitats (including Bloomingdale, Tupper Lake, and Long Lake). Here is our list: Ring-necked Duck Hooded Merganser - 7 babies in the road, and eventually, their mother! Common Merganser - 1 female on the Saranac River Ruffed Grouse Rock Pigeon Chimney Swift Wilson's Snipe Common Loon - on its nest in Tupper Lake Turkey Vulture Northern Goshawk Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hairy Woodpecker Black-backed Woodpecker - on Whiteface Mountain Northern Flicker Eastern Wood-Pewee Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - nice view on Whiteface Alder Flycatcher Least Flycatcher Eastern Phoebe Blue-headed Vireo Philadelphia Vireo - nice view! Red-eyed Vireo Gray Jay - 2 at Sabattis Bog Blue Jay American Crow Common Raven Tree Swallow Cliff Swallow Barn Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Red-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper Winter Wren Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet Eastern Bluebird Bicknell's Thrush - 3 different birds viewed (one photo on my Facebook page) and many heard Swainson's Thrush Hermit Thrush American Robin European Starling Purple Finch American Goldfinch Ovenbird Black-and-white Warbler Nashville Warbler Common Yellowthroat American Redstart Northern Parula Magnolia Warbler - nice view on Whiteface Blackburnian Warbler - nice view Yellow Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler Blackpoll Warbler - nice views on Whiteface Black-throated Blue Warbler Palm Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Canada Warbler - nice view Chipping Sparrow Song Sparrow Lincoln's Sparrow - nice views of a singing bird! Swamp Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Red-winged Blackbird Common Grackle We also observed many Snowshoe Hares. On a May 27, 2017 half-day tour with 3 people (2 from Ogdensburg and 1 from Canton) we found 45 species in Tupper Lake and the Spring Pond Bog Preserve complex. Here is our list: Rock Pigeon Chimney Swift Turkey Vulture Northern Goshawk Broad-winged Hawk Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Black-backed Woodpecker - male Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Alder Flycatcher Least Flycatcher Eastern Phoebe Great Crested Flycatcher Blue-headed Vireo Red-eyed Vireo Gray Jay - 4 (family group with 2 adults and 2 young) Blue Jay Black-capped Chickadee Red-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper Winter Wren Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet Hermit Thrush Purple Finch American Goldfinch Ovenbird Northern Waterthrush Black-and-white Warbler Nashville Warbler Mourning Warbler - nice views! Common Yellowthroat American Redstart Northern Parula Magnolia Warbler Blackburnian Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler Black-throated Blue Warbler Palm Warbler Pine Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Canada Warbler Swamp Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Scarlet Tanager We also observed Moose tracks. May 26, 2017 Long Lake Not a birding day, but I found the first-of-the-year juvenile Gray Jay at Sabattis Bog! It was very friendly! (Photos on my Facebook page.) 5/18/17 Long Lake *Red-eyed Vireo *Mourning Warbler - the latest arrival date I've noted (along Sabattis Circle Road) We had severe weather hit that day around the dinner hour. I spotted the resident alpha male Wild Turkey hiding behind a huge tree stump outside our kitchen window. He was crouched down and occasionally his head would pop up (like a whack-a-mole!). Every time the thunder hit, he would gobble - it was obviously disturbing him. He is my "friend" so I tried talking to him through the window. This went on and on, but he suddenly came running out and headed up the hill in our backyard toward an old lean-to. He continued to gobble as thunder crashed. Just after he left, the lighting hit the area where he had been hiding and went into our home - knocking out electrical outlets and our satellite cable. (It was a terrifying experience.) Anyway, I am sharing this story because I believe that the Wild Turkey knew to quickly move, which I found fascinating. 5/17/17 Long Lake canoe at Fishing Brook Fuat Latif and I talked last year about trying to canoe down-brook from Route 28N on Fishing Brook in high water this spring (since you can only make it halfway to this location from the official put-in on a side road miles away). So my message is DON'T try it!!! As we were getting ready to start, we had a discussion about the TOPO contour lines that we had both looked at on the maps that morning. Fuat mentioned that rapids would be likely - that was when my legs began to shake! Anyway, there are rapids, waterfalls, and large boulders! We finally had to abandon this adventure - by getting out of our boats and pulling them back to Route 28N in a strong current in freezing cold water! One of those unforgettable experiences! We then headed to the official put-in and enjoyed the paddle and birds (in wet clothes)! There are lots of warbler species and flycatchers along the brook. Last year, I found 2 Black-backed Woodpeckers, but the day was extremely windy, and it would have been difficult to hear them. The season's first Olive-sided Flycatcher was singing away near the put-in parking area! (I posted a photo on my Facebook page.) We saw more Olive-sided Flycatchers during the paddle. Unfortunately, I didn't hear any Rusty Blackbirds (I found a small group last fall along this brook.). The first-of-the-season Ruby-throated Hummingbird was observed at our feeders on 5/17/17 - the latest arrival date that I've noted. May 16, 2017 Bloomingdale & Tupper Lake (Franklin Co.) and Long Lake Common Loon - nest observed in Tupper Lake Black-backed Woodpecker - 2 different birds in Bloomingdale Gray Jay - 7 (2 along Route 30 in Long Lake, 4 at Sabattis Bog, and 1 in Bloomingdale) May 14, 2017 Long Lake Canada Warbler - latest arrival date I've noted (Sabattis Circle Road) May 12, 2017 Nature Conservancy States' Birding Competition (15 states and NY came in 2nd! Texas was 1st) This was the first annual Nature Conservancy States' Birding Competition to find the most species on Nature Conservancy properties or easements (it will be a fund raiser in subsequent years). Larry Master coordinated the Adirondacks and Derek Rogers coordinated the whole state. I covered Tahawus Road, Sabattis Circle Road (half of it), Massawepie Rd. and Spring Pond Bog Preserve. I found the following 66 species: Canada Goose Ruffed Grouse Spruce Grouse - observed by NYS DEC personnel at Spring Pond Bog Preserve Wild Turkey Mourning Dove Wilson's Snipe American Woodcock Common Loon American Bittern Turkey Vulture Northern Goshawk Broad-winged Hawk Barred Owl Belted Kingfisher Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker Black-backed Woodpecker Northern Flicker Pileated Woodpecker Merlin Least Flycatcher Eastern Phoebe Blue-headed Vireo Gray Jay Blue Jay Tree Swallow Barn Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Red-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper Winter Wren Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet Veery Hermit Thrush American Robin European Starling Purple Finch American Goldfinch Ovenbird Northern Waterthrush Black-and-white Warbler Nashville Warbler Common Yellowthroat American Redstart Northern Parula Magnolia Warbler Blackburnian Warbler Yellow Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler Black-throated Blue Warbler Palm Warbler Pine Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Chipping Sparrow Song Sparrow Lincoln's Sparrow Swamp Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Scarlet Tanager Rose-breasted Grosbeak Red-winged Blackbird Common Grackle I went owling for the 24-hour event at both ends of the day - trying to hear the Northern Saw-whet Owl along Sabattis Circle Road, but no luck! I did find 2 different Barred Owls, American Woodcocks, and Ruffed Grouse in the roadway! A highlight during this event was observing 2 male Northern Flickers exhibit agonistic behavior in their highly ritualized "dance" - I watched it for a long time and had to walk away! I posted a photo to my Facebook page and I will also post video of this fascinating behavior. 5/9/17 Long Lake This was one of the most thrilling mammal observations I've had! An Ermine was observed struggling to carry a Red Squirrel (still alive and struggling) through our backyard! As I watched the Ermine heading into the woods, the Amer. Crows also saw what was happening and they abandoned the cracked corn to surround the Ermine. (Ermine will go after Red Squirrels if mice/voles are not readily available, but it is tough to catch Red Squirrels, and Ermine often starve.) I didn't want the Ermine to lose its prey, so I opened the door to frighten off the crows. The Ermine disappeared into an old tree stump with the squirrel. I looked up the size of both mammals - while they are about the same length, a Red Squirrel is anywhere from 2 to 4 times the weight of an Ermine! It was an impressive feat for the Ermine to capture and carry the Red Squirrel! I also observed 2 Boreal Chickadees along the Northville-Placid Trail (S) in Long Lake on 5/9/17. We have had a huge, male Black Bear hanging around outside our home at night - I posted a photo on my Facebook page below. Joan Collins President, NYS Ornithological Association Editor, New York Birders Long Lake, NY (315) 244-7127 cell (518) 624-5528 home http://www.adirondackavianexpeditions.com/ http://www.facebook.com/AdirondackAvian -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --