HMBC Field Trip Summary - Desolation Lake/Fox Hill Rd.


The HMBC field trip to Desolation Lake/Fox Hill Rd. began this morning at Saratoga County Airport with 8 participants altogether.  The weather for the day was warm and sunny.  Besides being a convenient place to meet, the airport is a birding destination in itself.  Before heading for Fox Hill Rd. we found Vesper Sparrow singing loudly near the driveway fence and at least one Grasshopper Sparrow perched on the blue lights on the runway.  Other birds seen here  include Killdeer, Barn Swallow, and Eastern Bluebird. 

The first stop on Lake Desolation Road was Archer Vly.  The highlight here was getting good looks at a Blackburnian Warbler (thanks to Steve), an Eastern Wood-Pewee, and maybe the Pink Lady Slipper.  We also heard our first sounds from Least Flycatcher (“che-bek”), Ovenbird (“teacher, teacher, teacher”), Hermit Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and Black-throated Blue Warbler (“beer, beer, bee”).  Although we heard these songs many times over the morning we never managed to actually see these birds in the thick foliage.  Next stop was the bog at West Vly Creek.  In addition to lots of shotgun shells and a bowling pin for target practice, we got good looks at a Black-throated Green Warbler and a Purple Finch.  At this point we had begun to hear Alder Flycatchers singing something like “free beer”.  We were unsuccessful in spotting the American Bittern that Bruce found earlier in the morning.   

The last stop was the Mulleyville Trail on Fox Hill Rd. where we took a longer walk up the hill.  Among the highlights here that we saw include: Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler,  2 or more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and a Wild Turkey.  The big miss here was the 2 Mourning Warblers that had been singing loudly and clearly just 2 days ago.  Two of us did manage to spot a Canada Warbler and others heard it.  Getting close to noon we called it quits and started back to the airport.  Near Rt. 29 one of the cars (not mine) unexpectedly spotted a singing Prairie Warbler near the road.  Upon returning to the airport we were able to add Savannah Sparrow for our airport sparrow trifecta (along with Grasshopper and Vesper).  Thanks to Naomi we also spotted a soaring Red-shouldered Hawk as a last minute bonus.  Other highlights that I failed to  mention yet for the morning include Broad-winged Hawk, Eastern Kingbird, Veery, Northern Mockingbird, Common Raven, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, and 2 gliders soaring over the airport.  The final count was 53 species.  Thanks to all the participants.

John Hershey, trip coordinator

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