Trip Report, Rockland Audubon Society

01/23/09 – 01/25/09 Winter Birding in the Adirondacks   

Led by: Jim Previdi

Participants: Elyse Fuller, Tom Fuller, Alan Wells, Della Wells, and Carol Weiss

Weather: Friday – partly sunny, low 30’s; Saturday – clear and bright with a high of about 6°F; Sunday – heavy overcast, flurries in the morning, increasing snow in the afternoon, temperatures below 0°F.



Trip Highlights


1. Any trip where all participants see at least one life bird has to be great! Tom was the hands down winner with 5 life birds and 3 life beers!


2. The Peru Northern Hawk Owl, of course. We couldn’t have asked for better views!


3. Friday night’s dinner at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Co. Excellent. Highly recommended.


4. The feeders at the VIC. The Evening Grosbeaks were especially spectacular.


5. Bigelow Road on Sunday morning. Multiple Boreal Chickadees and a Black-backed Woodpecker! WOW!!



Friday, 1/23/09  Set the GPS for 164 Clark Rd, Peru, NY to try for the Northern Hawk Owl. When we arrived at that destination, we looked up and immediately found the owl. It was sitting atop a conifer in the front yard of a small house on the east side of Clark Road, only about 20 ft from the edge of the road. The owl remained there for several minutes, then flew to a utility pole about 50 yards to the north. Again, it was perched right beside the road on the east side. At both locations, views were excellent. Contrary to the experience of Ken and Sue Feustel, a spotting scope was definitely not necessary. The owl was very tolerant of the small crowd of observers watching from the opposite side of the road. We watched and photographed for about 15 minutes. It was still perched on the utility pole when we left. That evening we had a delicious dinner at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Co.


Saturday, 1/24/09 First stop (about 9 AM) was the Visitor Interpretative Center (VIC) at Paul Smith’s. There was a constant stream of activity at the feeders, primarily American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, and Pine Siskin. This activity was interspersed with regular visits by one or two Hairy Woodpecker, several Downy Woodpeckers, one Red-breasted Nuthatch, two Gray Jays (staff indicated that a third was present), 6 to 10 Evening Grosbeak, and a single, male Pine Grosbeak. Along the Barnum Trail we encountered a single White-winged Crossbill, Pileated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, and a fleeting look at what was likely a Black-backed Woodpecker. At around 2 PM we tried Bigelow Road (off Oregon Plains Road) and found several Black-capped Chickadee and about six White-winged Crossbills. We heard several more crossbills as they flew overhead.


Sunday, 1/25/09. We returned to Bigelow Road at about 9 AM. Observed 3-4 Boreal Chickadees and a male Black-backed Woodpecker. Heard several White-winged Crossbills fly by. We then returned to the VIC only to find it closed on Sundays. With the main building locked, access to the feeders was only via an active cross-country ski trail. Without skies or snowshoes, we were out of luck. That afternoon we headed to Circle Rd/Sabattis Rd (near Tupper Lake). Two Wild Turkey huddled along the shoreline of the frozen lake, four Ruffed Grouse in a snow bank at the edge of the road, Brown Creeper, and a pair of White-winged Crossbills. Snow was beginning to pick up, so we decided to head for home. We picked up a single Common Redpoll intermixed with dozens of Pine Siskin at a feeder near Long Lake.



Trip List


Canada Goose

Along thruway

American Black Duck

AuSable R., Lake Placid


AuSable R., Lake Placid

Common Merganser

AuSable R., Lake Placid

Ruffed Grouse

Sabattis Rd

Wild Turkey

Along thuway; Sabattis Rd

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Along thruway

Cooper's Hawk

Along thruway

Red-tailed Hawk

Along thruway

Rough-legged Hawk

Along thruway, I observed by JP

Ring-billed Gull

Along thruway

Rock Pigeon

Along thruway

Mourning Dove

Peru, NY

Northern Hawk Owl

Peru, NY

Downy Woodpecker


Hairy Woodpecker

VIC feeders; Barnum Trail

Black-backed Woodpecker

VIC along Barnum Trail ?; Bigelow Rd

Pileated Woodpecker

VIC along Barnum Trail

Gray Jay

VIC feeders

Blue Jay

Peru, NY, VIC, widespread

American Crow


Common Raven

several, widespread

Black-capped Chickadee

common at VIC feeders; Lake Placid

Boreal Chickadee

3-4 at Bigelow Rd

Red-breasted Nuthatch

VIC feeders and Barnum Trail

Brown Creeper

Sabattis Rd

European Starling

Peru, NY

Bohemian Waxwing

?? group of 3 fly-by at Bigelow Rd; dove like w/short tail

Northern Cardinal

1 at Lake Placid

Pine Grosbeak

1 at VIC feeders

White-winged Crossbill

VIC, Bigelow Rd; Sabattis Rd

Common Redpoll

Long Lake at feeder

Pine Siskin

common, especially at VIC feeders

American Goldfinch

common at feeders

Evening Grosbeak

6-10 at VIC feeders

House Sparrow

treefull at thruway rest stop


Northern Hawk Owl
Photo 1.  Northern Hawk Owl, Peru, NY. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells

Pine Grosbeak
Photo 2.  Male Pine Grosbeak on feeders at the Visitor’s Interpretative Center, Paul Smith’s, NY. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells.

Evening Grosbeak
Photo 3.  Male Evening Grosbeak on feeder at the Visitor’s Interpretative Center, Paul Smith’s, NY. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells.

Pine Siskin
Photo 4.  Pine Siskin at feeders at the Visitor’s Interpretative Center, Paul Smith’s, NY. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells.

 Gray Jay

Photo 5.  Gray Jay at feeders at the Visitor’s Interpretative Center, Paul Smith’s, NY. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells.


Red Squirrel Hairy Woodpecker
Photo 6.  Red squirrel at VIC feeders. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells Photo 7.  Hairy Woodpecker at VIC feeders. Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells


RAS Lineup!
Photo 8. Lineup to see the Black-backed Woodpecker. Look through the “window” to the third spruce tree back, then down 10 ft on the trunk…Photo Credit: Alan W. Wells


RAS Victory!
Photo 9.  Happy RASers registering approval of the fine Black-backed Woodpecker. A “lifer” for everyone! Photo Credit: Carol Weiss