White-winged Crossbills and Common Redpolls - Archer Vly


Ron H. and I took the Harrower birding route this morning from Ballston Spa to Galway to Batchellerville to Fox Hill Rd. and Archer Vly.  Our main objective was winter finches but we also stopped at Galway Lake where there was a variety of ducks including Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, and Gadwall.  I assumed that winter finches were a long shot but after listening all along Fox Hill Rd. we got to Archer Vly where we heard and then saw about 35 birds flying with a dip overhead.  We followed a trail moreless through the woods in the direction the birds flew and then found them feeding in birch trees.  They were hard to see in the low light but we eventually concluded they were Common Redpolls. Walking back to the entrance near the dam, we heard some more birds flying over that landed in birch trees near the dam.  The light was better there and we could see quickly that they were White-winged Crossbills --about 14. 

My pictures of the crossbills (male and female) are really bad but I've posted some below for i.d. purposes only.  Ron may share a more complete report later with slightly better pics. 

John H.

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