I had a number of email messages asking if I can describe the Blueridge Road
location in North Hudson (Essex Co.) where there are both Red and
White-winged Crossbills.   I’ll try a couple different descriptions of where
I believe it is located.  (& the next time I go, I will make a note of exact
mileage)  The habitat is a cross between a marsh and a bog (it is very
wet!).  The trees along the road are predominately White Spruce and Tamarack
– a terrific combination for attracting crossbills (a similar case on
sections of the Tahawus Road in Newcomb, and areas off Sabattis Circle Road
(Bog Stream and ½ mile in on the Round Lake Trail) in Long Lake – both
locations I plan to check again at dawn soon).  I usually find Red
Crossbills at this Blueridge Road location whenever they irrupt, but I don’t
often bird along this road.  It can be difficult to pull off the road with
little to no shoulder and there are continuous logging trucks zooming by at
65 mph.  The crossbill location is a straight-away and you can safely pull
off the road between 2 long stretches of guard rails.  But it is safer to
walk on the outer side of the guard rails.  According to my TOPO map, the
marsh is indicated on the Blueridge Road ~8.6 miles east of the intersection
with Route 28N or ~9.9 miles west of the Northway.  I can describe it
another way – the Blueridge Road from Route 28N is very twisty (lots of 35
mph turns) – the marsh is located a short distance after a 25 mph turn where
the road finally straightens out.  If you park between the 2 long stretches
of guard rails, walk to the eastern guard rail and the marsh is south of the
road mid-way between the long guard rail (the road is much higher, so you
can make out the marsh opening through the trees along the road).  Matt
Young and I birded by ear thru the windows on Sunday (making many abrupt
stops!) and we heard all the White-winged Crossbill singing as we were
mid-way along the guard rail.  We were so excited that we left the car
mostly in the road to jump out!  (It was Sunday and there was almost no
traffic at all – and no logging trucks that day.)  But we came to our senses
after observing the White-winged Crossbills and moved the car to a safer
location!  Crossbills can make you temporarily lose your mind!


I would recommend visiting at dawn or very early in the morning when the
birds are more vocal.  Vocalizations fell off rapidly after 9 a.m. on
Monday.  The crossbills are spending a lot of time quietly feeding on
Tamarack cones (making just very soft calls) and call loudly when they
change trees.  If you spend time walking along the guard rail early in the
morning, you will likely see them along the road.  It is a lot of fun to
watch them feeding on Tamarack cones – their bills are a mess and they hang
in all different positions to feed!  Watch for young – expected any day now
for Red Crossbills and it won’t be long before there are White-winged
Crossbill young also.  (The juvenile birds are very tame.)  The White-winged
Crossbills tend to sing from dead snags (same case on Oregon Plains Road in
Bloomingdale) – there are dead snags in the marsh – if you hear singing,
scan the dead snags through the trees along the road.  I noticed that both
Red and White-winged Crossbills were using the dead snags in the marsh to
quietly preen also.


I don’t know the status of the land at this location – there are no posted
signs, but I don’t know if it is state land – I’ll try to find out.  There
are a couple private camps just west of this location with posted signs
along the road.


If you can manage to get Red Crossbill recordings during your visit, Matt
Young would love to have them!


Joan Collins

President, NYS Ornithological Association

Editor, New York Birders

Long Lake, NY

(315) 244-7127 cell       

(518) 624-5528 home





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