On this first day of spring, I wanted to send a positive message among so
much overwhelmingly negative news around us.  The Northern Saw-whet Owls are
back!  Seemingly all at once as is often the case with most specie returns.
I was out late afternoon yesterday (March 19, 2020) on North Point Road in
Long Lake.  I was photographing a Hooded Merganser pair on the Raquette
River when a Northern Saw-whet Owl began non-stop tooting at 4:15 p.m.!  It
was really close, but I didn't try to hike to it and was happy just to
listen.  It was a beautiful day with calm winds, so I went back out at 9
p.m. to Sabattis Road (where there are almost always nesting N. Saw-whets).
I drove the half-circle and then all the way to Sabattis Station - and found
4 tooting N. Saw-whet Owls!  Five in one afternoon/night is a new high
record for me.  I am sure there were likely more since the road goes on for
miles and I didn't stop everywhere.  I left Sabattis Road at 11 p.m. and the
owls were really vocal during that 9 to 11 p.m. period.  I was curious about
their spacing from each other and the closest two owls were about 1.7 miles
apart as the "crow flies".  All of them were tooting from wetlands.  I have
an Atlas block in this area and it would be wonderful (and challenging!) to
confirm them!


In addition to the owls, a fox ran in front of my car in the town of Long
Lake (we have both Gray and Red foxes, but I couldn't see the color); a
Snowshoe Hare was hopping around Sabattis Road - still white!; a beaver was
chewing really loudly at Bear Pond outlet along the road back to Sabattis
Station and I watched it in my flashlight!; and a beaver was also chewing
loudly in Big Brook along Route 30.


Brown Creepers began singing on March 8.  Usually, Golden-crowned Kinglets
start singing when the creepers do, but so far, they are just calling.  I
confirmed Common Raven nesting with a bird carrying sticks on February 16 -
really early.  Red and White-winged Crossbills are actively nesting and we
should begin to see fledglings in April.


The world seems surreal and upside down right now, so it really helps to be
out birding.  I hope everyone stays healthy.


Joan Collins

Adirondack Avian Expeditions & Workshops LLC

Editor, New York Birders

Long Lake, NY

(315) 244-7127 cell       

(518) 624-5528 home




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