Canvasback, American Pipit, no field birds. eBird Report - Northumberland farmland, Jan 1, 2020

Ronald Harrower

Northumberland farmland, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 1, 2020 11:35 AM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
22.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments: Once again, I choose to do a travelogue of a larger area with highlights of specific spots of birds observed. John and I started our Northumberland tour in Bacon Hill and went up River Rd. Easily 150 American Crows in large fields beyond Welcome Farm. There were other spots where crows were plentiful. There was one Common Raven on Harris Road, which was our next stop. Except for two Common Mergansers, the ducks were all Common Goldeneyes, flying to different spots and riding the river rapids downs and going back up again. There was a Carolina wren in the bushes near the shore.
It was significant that we had no filed birds, despite hitting all the favored spots in Northumberland. So Callahan Rd, Williams Lane, King Rd, Wall Rd, Purinton Rd, Austin Rd, Goff Rd all were devoid of field birds, with the field bird kid, John H on the case no less!
We hit an active spot on Kobor Rd. There were at least 8 Eastern Bluebirds, 2 American Golfinches, numerous Juncos, and a few Chickadees and WB Nuthatches. We enjoyed watching the Bluebirds eating the sumac berries. This dead end part of Kobor also had over 100 American Crows.
We zigzagged on Peters Rd and up and down Purinton and Austin Rd. We are about to give up when we spotted a small raft of Mallards on the Hudson 1/2 mile North of Purinton Rd. Also in the area were many Common Goldeneyes and a few Common Mergansers. I was checking out what at a distance seems to be more Goldeneyes when I saw the deep chestnut head and pure white body of a male Canvasback. I got some iffy photos before going back to get John's attention. Unfortunately, they flew off before he could see it, and despite our best efforts, we couldn't relocate it. I did have a single American Pipit fly over my head and it was calling.
Cold and lack of field birds, brought and end to the day's adventure. Hopefully more snow and more manure will bring the field birds back.
20 species

Canada Goose 14
Mallard 34
Canvasback 1 Male. Unmistakeable, hanging out with Common Goldeneyes. I am making a guess that it might be the same drake that was on Saratoga Lake up until it froze on December 20, 2019. Can'y t prove it without banding or other means, but it is unusual to have just one and The Hudson is a logical place for it to go after Saratoga Lake freezes. I did go up and down River Rd 3 weeks ago and there were no diving ducks then. Now, there are lots of Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, and this Canvasback. All were on Saratoga Lake until it froze. There are also lots of Goldeneyes in Stillwater as well.
Common Goldeneye 28
Common Merganser 4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 56
Mourning Dove 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 345
Common Raven 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 1
European Starling 112
Eastern Bluebird 16 We 8 on Kobor, 4 on the Williams Lane and 4 on River Rd
American Pipit 1 Call was distinctive as was size, coloring and shape.
American Goldfinch 2
Dark-eyed Junco 14

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