Usually rare birds for an area are just vagrants, but this summer a pair of Mississippi Kites actually built a nest and started breeding in Sterling Forest! Growing up in Louisiana you’d think I’d already have Mississippi Kite on my life list, but I guess I wasn’t paying that much attention to birds back then. So Janet, Monica, Sandi, and I stopped at Sterling Forest on our way up to the Adirondack Birding Festival on Thursday to try to find them. Unfortunately we were too late. They were seen earlier that morning but after a bad traffic jam in the Bronx we didn’t get there until around 11:00. :-( I suppose we could have stayed till the late afternoon when they usually return to the nest, but we had a long drive still ahead of us to Hamilton County.
We returned to the Sterling Forest parking lot on Sunday afternoon on our way back from the festival. Still no Kites. damn. However just as it was starting to rain again and we were getting ready to give up we ran into another birder who told us the kites were indeed still there and visible from a spot just down the road. So we trotted on down and there they were, both of them:
The birding trip for Saturday afternoon was to a couple of areas on either side of Indian Lake. They had some great insects, but not too many birds. Afternoon is not generally the best time to see birds. Too hot, and many birds are resting. However toward dusk we made a final stop at a marsh on the south side of Indian Lake. I mostly stayed by the car and the road, looking at spiders and turtles, while the rest of my carpool explored the surrounding area hoping to pick up a woodpecker or two. They should have stayed by the car too. While they were off in the swamp, a Black-Backed Woodpecker flew into a dead tree, called once or twice, and then flew off. #845 and third life bird of the trip for me.
Don’t feel too bad for the other members of my party though. They all got Black-Backed Woodpecker the next day at Northville-Placid Trail too. In fact we had several there.
Today’s scheduled morning bird walk at Lake Durant finished much earlier than scheduled, so rather than head back to the cabin, Monica, Sandi, Janet, and I decided to try Ferd’s Bog again since we’d whiffed there yesterday on both Gray Jay and Boreal Chickadee, and it’s one of the best sites in the area for both those species.
Apparently this was the right choice. The problem yesterday may have been the excessively large group. We walked out to the end of the boardwalk and waited patiently for 20 or 30 minutes, and before too long the Gray Jays found us:
We woke up early this Friday morning to get to the first walk of the Adirondacks Birding Festival. The destination is Ferd’s Bog, a site I’ve heard about and wanted to visit for years. But when we got to the meeting location at a school it soon became apparent that the festival organizers had vastly underestimated the number of people who would show up on Friday. We had almost 50 people, way too many for a birdwalk, and frankly too many to bring to the site at one time, not that that stopped them.
We combined cars to some extent. I already had three passengers in my vehicle–Sandi, Monica, and Janet–so we added a fifth and headed down the dirt road. Luckily I was either the first or the second car so I got a clear view of a really weird looking chicken strutting down the road. Funny, this doesn’t look a farm road where people keep chickens, and that really is a strange looking chicken, and wait a minute, wasn’t one of the target birds a grouse? Shit! That is a Ruffed Grouse! #843 and one of the birds I was hoping for but really didn’t expect to see.