Happy New Year to everyone!


Numbers of Red and White-winged Crossbills continued to increase in December
with lots of singing now.  From Red Crossbill recordings I've sent Matt
Young, he has documented Type 1, 3, and 10 so far.  Pine Siskins are
abundant (Sadly, I've observed several road-killed already).  Purple Finches
and Amer. Goldfinches are still here in the central Adirondacks - unusual in
winter.  (150 Amer. Goldfinches are visiting our feeders each day - lots of
seed consumed!  There are small numbers of Pine Siskins visiting our


Also unusual this winter: There are still small flocks of American Robins in
Long Lake - in the village and at the inlet of Little Tupper Lake along
Sabattis Circle Road.  A flock of ~50 Cedar Waxwings has been feeding on
fruit trees in Long Lake since 12/22/17 (not one Bohemian among them!).
Dark-eyed Juncos are still feeding under our feeders and on the cracked corn
we put out (there is a good snow cover with no open ground) - and they can
still be found along Sabattis Circle Road.  Blue Jays are here in good
numbers for the 3rd winter in a row (un-caching Gray Jay food).  Also, Amer.
Crows are here in higher numbers than usual for winter.


I haven't observed the tailless Gray Jay at Sabattis Bog in a couple weeks
(since 12/15).  (But it sometimes disappears for a while and then reappears,
so I hope to see it again.)


With a bumper food crop on just about every tree species in the Adirondacks,
this will be a fascinating winter to observe where birds are feeding.  Here
is what I have noted so far:


White Pine: Red Crossbill and Pine Siskin

Red Spruce: Red and White-winged Crossbill

Black Spruce: White-winged Crossbill

Tamarack: Red and White-winged Crossbill (also Black-capped Chickadee and
Red-breasted Nuthatch)

Hemlock: Pine Siskin

Balsam Fir: Pine Siskin

Birch: Pine Siskin and Amer. Goldfinch

White Cedar: Pine Siskin and Amer. Goldfinch


Some sightings:


1/1/18 Long Lake (Hamilton Co.)

Ruffed Grouse - 4 (3 locations along Sabattis Circle Road - all eating buds
in deciduous trees)

Gray Jay - 8 (2 along Route 30, 2 at the Round Lake Trailhead, and 4 at
Sabattis Bog)

Boreal Chickadee - at least 2 along Route 30 (at a location where I stopped
to listen for crossbills)

American Robin - in the village of Long Lake and at the inlet of Little
Tupper Lake along Sabattis Circle Road

Cedar Waxwing - small flock in a fruit tree near the Post Office

Purple Finch - many; lots of gritting in the roads

Red Crossbill - calling near the inlet of Little Tupper Lake along Sabattis
Circle Road (this is where they grit - they have been singing near the
outlet (which is also the inlet of Round Lake))

White-winged Crossbill - calling at the Round Lake Trailhead and singing all
around Sabattis Bog

Pine Siskin - everywhere!  Gritting in the roads in large flocks.

Amer. Goldfinch - many

Dark-eyed Junco - many


12/31/17 Long Lake - White-winged Crossbills were singing near a marsh along
Route 30 where I have been feeding Gray Jays for several years.


12/30/17 Saranac Lake Christmas Bird Count (owling, Route 55, Oregon Plains
& Bigelow Roads, and Bloomingdale Bog to the Gray Jay feeder)

Mary Beth Warburton and I found 19 species in our boreal section of the
Saranac Lake CBC.  The temperature ranged from 18 below to 1 above!  It was
brutal to be hiking!  (Foot and hand warmers saved us.)  Here are some of
the species found:

Pileated Woodpecker - 1

Black-backed Woodpecker - 1 female along Route 55

Gray Jay - 3 on Route 55

Boreal Chickadee - 3 along Bigelow Road

Brown Creeper - 4

Golden-crowned Kinglet - 9

Dark-eyed Junco - 7

Purple Finch - 23

Red Crossbill - 1 along Route 55

White-winged Crossbill - 27 along Route 55 (one flock of 17 all eating
Tamarack cone seeds)  Lots of singing!

Pine Siskin - 265!


12/26/17 Long Lake - 2 Amer. Tree Sparrows showed up  - 1 at Sabattis Bog
and 1 at our home (both stayed for just a few days)


12/25/17 Long Lake - 6 Snow Buntings near the inlet of Little Tupper Lake
and one eating cracked corn at our home.  I also found 6 Red Crossbills
along Rice Road in Long Lake (when they irrupt, they always seem to nest
along this short road).


12/24/17 Long Lake - a Northern Saw-whet Owl called outside our home at 3


12/23/17 Long Lake - 4 Mallards on the outlet of Little Tupper Lake was an
unusual sighting in winter!  (just a very small section of open water)


On 12/16/17 and 12/18/17, a Common Raven barked like a dog along Sabattis
Circle Road.  I've heard the dog whine vocalization, but I've never heard
actual "barking" - it was wild!  The raven is part of an adorable pair.
They fly over my car when they spot it and follow me to the Round Lake
Trailhead where they know I put food out (for Gray Jays)!  They wait for me
to drive away before flying down to the food.  This is pure speculation
(which is never a good thing to do!), but I was lingering - listening for
the White-winged Crossbills on 12/16/17 and I believe the dog bark
vocalization was meant to scare me away because they wanted the food (or
maybe there was some other reason for the raven to imitate a dog!).  They
saw me 2 days later near the Little Tupper Lake inlet and the raven barked
again!  It seems as if Common Ravens have an endless variety of


12/15/17 Minerva (Essex Co.) - a Red Crossbill was singing near the Lindsay
Marsh Trailhead


12/11/17 Long Lake - 2 adult Bald Eagles and 13 Common Ravens were feeding
together on a male deer carcass out on Long Lake - the ice had just formed
and it appeared that the deer didn't make it across the lake.


12/9/17 Long Lake/Newcomb/Minerva/North Hudson (Hamilton and Essex Counties)

Out with an ornithology class from St. Lawrence Univ. we found 19 species in
boreal habitat.  Here are some of the birds found:

Black-backed Woodpecker - 2 (male in N. Hudson and female in Minerva)

Gray Jay - 8 (2 at the Round Lake Trailhead, 5 at Sabattis Bog, and 1 heard
near Sand Pond Marsh in N. Hudson)

Boreal Chickadee - many in North Hudson!

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Golden-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

Purple Finch

Red Crossbill - several heard calling at Sand Pond Marsh in N. Hudson

White-winged Crossbill - pair observed at the Round Lake Trailhead feeding
on Red Spruce cones

Pine Siskin

Amer. Goldfinch

Dark-eyed Junco


We also observed Bobcat tracks!


12/4/17 Long Lake: Mammals: Coyotes howled outside our home.  4 Muskrats
observed on Little Tupper Lake (2 at the inlet and 2 at the outlet).  3
River Otters running on the ice on Long Lake and fishing in open water.


12/3/17 Minerva and North Hudson

I fed a friendly Gray Jay in Minerva.  Near the Sand Pond Marsh in N.
Hudson, I found a male Black-backed Woodpecker and a flock of over 15 Boreal
Chickadees near sunset - this is the largest flock I've ever found and I
suspect it was several groups that came together just before sunset
(earlier, I found 3 Boreal Chickadees in the same location).  There was a
lot of chasing (the commotion attracted the Black-backed Woodpecker also!).
I also found a flock of over 20 Red Crossbills.


12/2/17 Piercefield (St. Lawrence Co.)

I drove to Horseshoe Lake and had a really memorable morning.  I observed 3
River Otters interacting, running across the lake, vocalizing, popping up
through the ice - exciting!  I also spent over an hour observing 2 female
Red Crossbills foraging and gritting in the road.  Sadly, there was a dead
Muskrat in the middle of Route 30 on my drive.


12/1/17 Long Lake - a Barred Owl gave its rare scream call twice (you could
never sleep through this vocalization!)  The scream lifted me out of bed
over the baby monitor we use to bring in outside sounds.


I've posted a number of photos on my Facebook page (including the River


Joan Collins

Editor, New York Birders

Long Lake, NY

(315) 244-7127 cell       

(518) 624-5528 home




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