Adirondack Birding

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~It was cool and a little strange to see Dark-eyed Juncos at the peak of Whiteface Mountain, 6/13/15.~

Well, it was another busy week; I thought for sure I would have gotten this post together well before now. I spent last weekend in the Lake Placid/Saranac Lake area of the Adirondacks. My main goal was to photograph Common Loons, but I also spent a good amount of time birding some of the hotspots of the area. Early Saturday morning I went to Whiteface Mountain’s Veterans’ Memorial Highway, hoping for my lifer Bicknell’s Thrush. After a little bit of a setback (the toll to access VMH doesn’t open until 8:45 am), I had a really enjoyable morning. I had never been up there before, the views were amazing and after parking the car, there is a short, but exciting hike to the peak. It was great to see (and hear!) the many Dark-eyed Juncos that were present. White-throated Sparrows were heard often and Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen and heard. I heard the Bicknell’s Thrush in four different locations, but disappointingly, I did not see any. I guess this is a bird that will have to wait for another time for me. I would not leave the mountain totally disappointed however. As I worked my way back down, pulling over often to bird, I finally got my lifer YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER. I don’t think this should be difficult bird to get in this area, but when I was last here (2 years ago), I missed out completely.

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~The view from the peak of Whiteface Mountain, elevation over 4,800 feet.~
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~Lifer YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER at Whiteface Mountain, 6/13/15.~

Later in the morning, I headed over to Bloomingdale Bog to walk the trail there. I had three main target birds – Gray Jay, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Boreal Chickadee. Gray Jays are usually very easy to get here; there is actually a feeder station on the trail where they can usually be found, but on this day there were none to be seen. I eventually saw one young Gray Jay further down the trail (a fleeting look, no photos), but struck out on my other two targets. Alder Flycatchers (FREE BEER!) were easily seen and heard on the trail, and my best bird outside of the Gray Jay was a Nashville Warbler that I saw 100 yards from he trail head as I was heading back to my car. I then headed over to Bigelow Road, but by then it was the heat of the afternoon and it was not very birdy at all.

On Sunday morning, I headed back to Bloomingdale Bog, this time starting from the south end of the trail. It was here that I finally got a Black-backed Woodpecker (unfortunately, it was a very distant look). Other highlights included Least Flycatchers right at the trailhead, and hearing a male Ruffed Grouse do its drumming display several times, which was very exciting. A Boreal Chickadee had been reported at this location just a few days earlier, so I was really hoping for one, but it was not to be.

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~One of several Alder Flycatchers at Bloomingdale Bog, 6/13/15.~
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~An acrobatic Nashville Warbler at Bloomingdale Bog, 6/13/15.~
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~One of two Merlins I had over the weekend. This one was located at Follensby Clear Pond, 6/13/15. I also had one as I was heading towards Whiteface Mountain earlier in the day.~ 

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