The numbers of Red and White-winged Crossbills greatly increased during
January - it is quite an irruption!  Both species are singing, and even
within flocks, the birds are paired up.  On January 21, 2018, I observed a
flock of Red Crossbills in Newcomb along Route 28N (near the intersection
with the Blueridge Road).  One of the females was carrying nesting material
which I believe was Usnea (Old Man's Beard) - I'm not sure she actually did
anything with it, and it may have been part of courtship.  I observed a pair
break off from the flock and spend an hour on a dead snag covered in Usnea.
They appeared to be eating pieces of loose bark and cleaning their bills.
(I had a strong feeling I was near a potential nesting location by their
behavior.)  Male and female birds are still being observed gritting
together, so females are not yet on eggs.  (In irruptive years, I usually
begin to see fledglings by mid-to-late March.)  White-winged Crossbills have
been found singing at every marsh/brook location between Long Lake and
Sabattis Circle Road.  They are also all along the northern 3 miles of
Sabattis Circle Road, which parallels Bog Stream and Sperry Brook, and along
the outlet of Little Tupper Lake (inlet of Round Pond) and Hedgehog Pond.
The White-winged Crossbills remind me of Bicknell's Thrushes - they sing and
call in groups.  The White-winged Crossbill males sing in flight, or,
similar to Bicknell's Thrush, from the top of a dead snag.  Red Crossbills
are all over also - on every street in Newcomb near Overlook Park.  They are
also on Rice Road in Long Lake and Jody Brodsky reported they are also
behind the Adirondack Hotel.  They can be found near the outlet of Little
Tupper Lake and I've observed them feeding in Red Pines at that location.
For vocal activity and gritting, it is always best to be out at dawn.
During the Long Lake Winter Birding Weekend, we saw many Red and
White-winged Crossbills gritting at the intersection area along Sabattis
Circle Road early in the morning.  I've found both Red and White-winged
Crossbills in the following counties: Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Essex, and
Franklin.  Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, and Amer. Goldfinches are
everywhere.  Many Pine Siskins have been killed while gritting in the roads
- I've observed Common Ravens benefitting from these deaths.  Here is the
updated list of trees and which species have been observed feeding in them:


Red Pine: Red Crossbill

White Pine: Red Crossbill, 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, Red Crossbill  (I found a flock of Red Crossbills
feeding on Hemlock cone seeds on 1/22/18 along Horseshoe Lake Road in St.
Lawrence Co. - took a video.)

Balsam Fir: Pine Siskin, Purple Finch

Birch: Pine Siskin, Amer. Goldfinch

White Cedar: Pine Siskin, Amer. Goldfinch


Unusual winter observations - I've been observing Springtails ("Snow Fleas")
all winter (normally, they are a "sign of spring" observed in March-April).
Ruffed Grouse are walking around the roads with males displaying for groups
of females - similar situation with Wild Turkeys - males are displaying and
chasing females (we feed 20 at our home).  (A male Wild Turkey recently
chased a female around and around a tree non-stop for several minutes - it
was very comical!)  Species not normally found in the central Adirondacks in
the heart of winter that are still here: American Goldfinches, Purple
Finches, American Crows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Snow Buntings, Amer. Robins, and
American Tree Sparrows.  I didn't list Blue Jays because this is now the 3rd
winter they have stayed - so I guess it isn't so "unusual" anymore.  I also
observed a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over Sabattis Circle Road on 1/26/18.
The temperature continues to see-saw (low so far was -27 and high was nearly
60 degrees).  Within a couple days the temperature ranged 80 degrees and
everyone is wondering how this is affecting wildlife and hibernating


Here are just some of the sightings from January:


1/29/18 Long Lake (Hamilton Co.)


On a brief outing to Sabattis Circle Road in late morning I found many
singing White-winged Crossbills near the parking area for Round Lake (the
inlet and outlet area of Little Tupper Lake).  Later on, I ran into Pat
Martin and we also found a Snow Bunting at this location.  There were many
Gray Jays as usual!  (I heard the Amer. Tree Sparrow at Sabattis Bog - it
has been spending the winter at this location.)  On my drive home, I heard
more singing White-winged Crossbills along Route 30 near John Dillon Park's
entrance.  I took photos from my car window of one of the singing males that
was perched at the top of a conifer (there were more singing in flight


1/27-28/18 Winter Birding Weekend co-sponsored by Long Lake Parks &
Recreation Dept. and Northern NY Audubon


Areas visited: Long Lake (Rt. 30 and Sabattis Circle Road in Hamilton Co.),
Horseshoe Lake Rd. (St. Lawrence Co.), Tupper Lake causeway (Franklin Co.),
and Newcomb, Minerva, and North Hudson (Essex Co.)


Ruffed Grouse

Mourning Dove (in boreal habitat in the middle of nowhere!)

Bald Eagle - adult

Hairy Woodpecker

Black-backed Woodpecker - 1 seen by part of the group in Newcomb

Pileated Woodpecker

Gray Jay - 13 (groups of 1 & 2 along Rt. 30, 2 at the Round Lake Trailhead,
and 8 at Sabattis Bog - including the tailless Gray Jay (we ran into Jack
Delehanty (the man who found the Ross's Gull last year) at Sabattis Bog and
he immediately named the tailless Gray Jay "stubby" - it stuck with me and
that is its name now!!!)

Blue Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Black-capped Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee - nice view near Sand Pond Marsh in North Hudson  (one of
the participants got a terrific photo!)

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Robin

Purple Finch

Red Crossbill - Sabattis Circle Road in Long Lake, Sanford Lane and
Santanoni Dr. in Newcomb, Boreas River Bridge along the Blueridge Road in
Minerva, and Sand Pond Marsh area in North Hudson

White-winged Crossbill - Sabattis Circle Road, (including a pair that was
gritting with a pair of Red Crossbills at the intersection area!) and Sand
Pond Marsh.

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

American Tree Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco


1/26/18 Long Lake, Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson


Ruffed Grouse - 4 (1 Newcomb, 3 Sabattis Circle Road)

Wild Turkey

Red-tailed Hawk - over Sabattis Circle Road (unusual)

Black-backed Woodpecker - Sand Pond Marsh

Gray Jay - 13 (1 in Newcomb, 12 in Long Lake)

Boreal Chickadee - several at Sand Pond Marsh

Red Crossbill - Rt. 28N Newcomb, town of Newcomb, Tahawus Road (6 gritting),
Sand Pond Marsh in North Hudson, and inlet of Little Tupper Lake in Long

White-winged Crossbill - Tahawus Road (along the Hudson River), 6 at Sand
Pond Marsh, and many at the outlet area of Little Tupper Lake along Sabattis
Circle Road


1/22/18 Long Lake & Piercefield (St. Lawrence Co. on Rt. 421)


Ruffed Grouse - 5 (4 Sabattis Road, and 1 Horseshoe Lake Rd. (Rt 421))

Red Crossbill - Round Lake Trailhead singing male with female (Sabattis
Circle Road), Rt. 421 (Horseshoe Lake Road) flock eating Hemlock cone seeds
near Bog River Falls and more flocks in the conifers on the drive to
Horseshoe Lake.

White-winged Crossbill - many locations along Route 30 in Long Lake, Rd.
Lake Trailhead, south of the Rd. Lake Trailhead, at Sabattis Bog, north of
Sabattis Bog, at a marsh just past the Round Lake Trailhead (2 males
singing) and I found a pair gritting near the inlet of Horseshoe Lake.


1/21/18 Long Lake, Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson


Wild Turkey - displaying

Amer. Robin - outlet of Little Tupper Lake

Boreal Chickadee - at least 8 at Sand Pond Marsh

Evening Grosbeak - heard in Newcomb (Blue Jays were flying in and other
birds were leaving so I think I had just missed seeing it!)

Red Crossbill - 8 (Hyslop Marsh in Newcomb), 2 Railroad crossing in Minerva
(Rt. 28N), 8 Boreas River in Minerva (Rt. 28N), 10 Rt. 28N in Newcomb just
south of Blueridge Road, 4 at Sand Pond Marsh, 10 along the Blueridge Road,
and 10 at the inlet/outlet area of Little Tupper Lake in Long Lake.

White-winged Crossbill - calling birds at Sand Pond Marsh and singing birds
along Route 30 in Long Lake


1/20/18 Long Lake


Ruffed Grouse - 7! (including a group of 6 together in Sabattis Circle Road)

Red Crossbill - pair near the inlet of Little Tupper Lake - male was singing

White-winged Crossbill - 5 (several singing; a pair buzzed the Red Crossbill
pair as they were gritting)


1/19/18 Long Lake


I swung through Sabattis Circle Road on a trip to Potsdam and found ~40
White-winged Crossbills feeding at the north end of the road (not far from
where it intersects route 30).


1/14/18 Long Lake and Newcomb


Ruffed Grouse - 8 along Sabattis Circle Road

Black-backed Woodpecker - female along Tahawus Road

Snow Bunting - flock under feeders at a home in Newcomb and several were
perched along the roof line!

(more of all the finches listed above)


1/7/18 Long Lake (temp was -27)


American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins were gritting together at the
intersection area along Sabattis Circle Road and a male Red Crossbill joined
them.  It kept showing aggression toward the Amer. Goldfinches.  Red
Crossbill males show aggression by opening their bills as wide as they will
go.  It worked well to scare off the goldfinches and it was comical to
observe!  The Red Crossbill did not pick on the Pine Siskins, just the


I will add photos to my Facebook page.


Joan Collins

Editor, New York Birders

Long Lake, NY

(315) 244-7127 cell       

(518) 624-5528 home







NYSbirds-L List Info:


Please submit your observations to eBird:


Reply via email to