HMBC Huyck Preserve field trip

John Kent

A group of eight birders visited the Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville
this morning for HMBC's annual field trip. The water level in Myosotis
Lake was surprisingly low, which means that there was a lot of excellent
shorebird habitat at the north end of the lake. Killdeer were the most
numerous, as usual, but we also had Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary
Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, and two Wilson's Snipes, which were
foraging in the shallow water with the other shorebirds. The other
highlights were a Great Egret, which was a new species for Huyck in
eBird, and a Green Heron, which is uncommon there. The list of raptors
was short this year -- Bald Eagle, Broad-winged Hawk, and a possible
Red-tailed Hawk. We saw little in the way of migrating songbirds, and
even the local breeding warblers were mostly absent, with just a single
Common Yellowthroat seen by some. We found one Bank Swallow mixed in
with the Tree and Barn Swallows that were foraging over the lake. Thanks
to all who attended.

John Kent

last night's nighthawk watch


the HMBC's nighthawk watch in the parking lot of the Discovery Center at the Albany Pine Bush recorded 10 individuals between 6 PM and 8 PM. 

for the second night in a row, also had a flyby American Woodcock a few  minutes after 8 ! 

reminder- no count tonight due to weather.

HMBC's last night of counting is tomorrow, Thursday, starting at 6 PM. 

Scott and Denise

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Salem Nighthawks

Scott Varney subject line sounds like a good name for a sport's team...

As the subject indicates, the Nighthawks have started moving through...counted 8 last night swooping, diving, and performing awesome aerial maneuvers over 2 conjoined yards over brick houses next to NAPA Auto Parts on West Broadway.  Best part of the show was that all of them were within 25 feet of the ground and in great light. 

I'm going to drive to the top of the hill at the Salem Art Works with my bins and lawn chair tonight if anyone else wants to join me in counting.  Feel free to contact me here for directions if interested. 

Scott Varney
Salem NY

This week's destination: 8/29

Naomi Lloyd

Cohoes Flats looks like it'll be underwater Thursday morning, so let's try the Albany Pine Bush and maybe some migrants will be brought down by the rain.

Meet at the APB visitor center on New Karner Rd at 8:00. See you there!


HMBC nighthawk count CANCELED for Wednesday, 8/28


Based on the continuing forecast for showers/thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening, we are dropping that day from the count this year. Interested parties can come over to the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center on Thursday evening, when the weather conditions should be ideal. Sorry for any inconvenience due to the late notice, but we wanted to give the forecast every chance to change (it didn't). Hopefully we'll have a big group of birds and observers on the final day!

Tom and Colleen Williams

HMBC nighthawk count continues...early results below


The HMBC nighthawk watch began Sunday at the Albany Pine Bush. We had one(1) on Sunday and 34 last night (Monday). 

Counting continues every evening through this Thursday Aug 29. We set up in the parking lot of the Discovery Center, and count from 6 pm to 8 pm.  bring a chair and water! -Scott, Denise, Tom, and Colleen

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Migration general

Lindsey Duval

Seems like migration is kicking right in! The radar the past few nights has been quite busy and I have woken up in the middle of the night to hear the NFCs. It's very exciting!

Yesterday and the day before I visited Coon's Crossing (Zim-Smith Trail) by Round Lake. The first day I didn't really notice any movement, although caught sight of 4 Green Herons, all amusingly with fuzzy little mohawks. The trail was loaded with Red-eyed Vireos, which didn't quite seem the usual there. There was also a Solitary Sandpiper in the canal but that is possibly a breeding resident. 

Yesterday when I visited again there were NO Red-eyed Vireos, and an increase in Warbling Vireos. Also, both days I heard the churring call of Swainson's Thrush. There were two additional Green Herons. And, my best sighting, was a female or immature male MOURNING WARBLER who popped up onto a shrub to get a good look at me, chipping the whole time. I did not find it on my way back, so it likely had continued on its way or went foraging.

Yesterday afternoon I visited Shenantaha Creek Park which was very quiet except for Giant Swallowtails. Close to 7 PM 4 Common Nighthawks quietly flew over.

This morning I visited Bog Meadow Brook Trail and found 4 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS loafing around eating little green caterpillars! There were also 2 GREEN-WINGED TEALS hanging around the pond. A Least Flycatcher perched right in front of my face, doing the perfect Sibley Guide pose. I walked the whole length of the trail and thought it was fairly quiet otherwise, and then realized all of the Yellow Warblers were totally gone. 

Happy migration,

Lindsey D. 

Cohoes flats- bald eagles, great egret, no shorebirds


this morning, 1 adult and 2 immature bald eagles, 1 great egret, 5 great blue herons, but no shorebirds at Cohoes flats. Scott Stoner, Loudonville 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Saratoga NHP Raptors

Scott Varney

While biking the 11 mile tour road (even at high speed and two laps), the raptors were jumping out all around me. First, an adult Bald Eagle buzzed only 20 feet over my head near the Barber Wheatfield followed by a Kestrel near the 8 mile mark (over-looking the Hudson River). Then an adult Cooper's Hawk raced me parallel to my bike (yeah, he won).  Finally, an American Kestrel perched on a tree next to the road as I drove past the maintenance building.
..oh...and the Red-tailed Hawk perched next to Tour Stop # 3. 

Lots of Goldfinches, one pair of hollering Ravens, a weaning number of Chipping Sparrows, and multiple Towhees...not much fall warbler activity yet other than Common Yellowthroats. 

When I got home in Salem, I was greeted by the recently-made-famous Giant Swallowtail Butterfly I've heard chatter about on Listserves...I thought I was going to have to drive a bit to finally observe one. I've enclosed a photo of the one in my yard... absolutely beautiful!  I can't help but notice the yellow smile pattern on this butterfly's wings that is reminiscent of the Joker's Smile...think Batman!

Happy Day,

Scott Varney
Salem, NY

HMBC Field Trip reminder- Counting Common Nighthawks 8/25-8/29


Sunday, August 25 through Thursday, August 29, 2018, COUNTING COMMON NIGHTHAWKS (Albany County; evenings)

Coordinators: Scott Stoner & Denise Hackert-Stoner 518-785-6760 scottjstoner@... (8/25-8/27) and Tom and Colleen Williams 518-857-2176 trwdsd@... (8/28-8/29)

The Common Nighthawk is an aerial insectivore that feeds at dusk and dawn. It breeds throughout much of North America, although in decline as it is no longer observed during the summer in many urban and suburban areas. A long-distance migrant, Common Nighthawks often travel in large flocks, on one of the longest migration routes of any North American bird. Most travel over land through Mexico and Central America to reach their wintering grounds in southern South America. Common Nighthawks are also among the last migrants to return to their breeding grounds in spring. In the Capital Region, the bulk of southbound migration occurs from mid-August until early September with a peak around the end of August.

We will conduct our viewing from the parking lot at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center, located at 195 New Karner Rd. (Rt. 155) in Albany. Bring a chair and binoculars. We will begin each night at 6:00 p.m.

Carter's Lake Birds

Scott Varney

Visited Carter's Lake today in Cossayuna/Greenwich/Argyle right after the thunderstorm and hiked the trails with thunder still rumbling. Found 3 Osprey, (fantastic diving displays) 4 Great Blue Herons, 7 Wood Ducks, 2 Common Yellowthroats, 1 Pileated Woodpecker and heard 2 different Great-Crested Flycatchers. Best sighting of the day was non-avian but exciting...a group of 3 Hummingbird Moths happily feeding on the nectar of a cluster of Pickerelweed  flowers. I haven't seen this species in a few years and I was blessed with 3 of them today!  

With every beautiful moment such as this, I am reminded of the fact that my camera had been recently stolen at Montezuma NWR (mid-August)  If anyone hears of any "too good to be true" deals on a Canon 7D camera with a Canon 300 mm fixed zoom lens, I'd appreciate hearing about it. 

Happy Birding,

Scott Varney
Salem, NY

NO destination this week: 8/22

Naomi Lloyd

Hey folks - due to excessive water and minimal birds, we have no plans for this week. Better luck next time!


Kinderhook- Bank Swallow


Nancy Jane Kern
Tue 8/20/2019 7:48 PM

100 Best Road, Kinderhook, New York, US (42.401, -73.715)

Aug 20, 2019

7:29 PM


0.24 miles

16 minutes

All birds reported? Yes


Temperature 83 F sun


150 Canada Goose -- In green grass field feeding.

1 Mourning Dove

1 Killdeer

2 Bank Swallow

2 American Goldfinch

1 Savannah Sparrow


Number of Taxa: 6


Fledglings - still some

Richard Guthrie

Blue Jays and catbirds are still feeding young here in New Baltimore this morning.

2nd/3rd broods?

Rich Guthrie

Richard Guthrie

Re: White-rumped Sandpiper- Cohoes Flats 8/17

David Harrison

Just before Noon there was a Short-billed Dowitcher on the Cohoes Flats. It may have flown as others did not see it just after Noon

David Harrison 

Sent from EarthLink Mobile mail

On 8/17/19, 9:58 AM, trwdsd via Groups.Io <trwdsd@...> wrote:

At 9:30am this morning there was a White-rumped Sandpiper foraging along the spillway at Cohoes Flats. It was with a group of Least Sandpipers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper, right on the bottom face of the spillway above the rocks.

Tom Williams 


White-rumped Sandpiper- Cohoes Flats 8/17


At 9:30am this morning there was a White-rumped Sandpiper foraging along the spillway at Cohoes Flats. It was with a group of Least Sandpipers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper, right on the bottom face of the spillway above the rocks.

Tom Williams 

Montezuma NWR


I was in the neighborhood for work, so I stopped by Knox-Marcellus marsh and the Wildlife loop in the late afternoon. 
KM Marsh had literally thousands of waders and shorebirds. A little too far from the road for my bins; you definitely need a scope. A very nice fellow birder offered a glimpse thru her scope - long enough to see several Sandhill Cranes, and some Terns mixed in. Lots of others but I did not have enough time to ID too much besides the usual suspects.
Highlights of the wildlife drive were RT Hummingbirds, BAld Eagles, No. Harrier, Caspian Terns, both Yellowlegs. Lots of GBH and G Egrets, ducks, geese, of course. 
If you’re looking for shorebirds, lots there!
Lucy in Albany

Great Egret


Had a Great Egret on the pond in front of the Gardner Earl Chapel at Oakwood Cemetery (Troy) tonight just before the start of our Twilight Walking Tour, 8/15/19, 6pm.
 He was intent on fishing along the edge of the pond but a car of curious humans rolled continuously closer until he flew off. 
Meantime my pair of Baltimore Orioles continues to visit daily. Today they brought a pale juvenile with them. 
Heidi Klinowski 

Extralimital Tree Swallows Conglomerate

Scott Varney

While visiting Montezuma NWR at sunset on Wednesday, August 7th, my sister and I witnessed the largest grouping of birds we had ever seen...over Tsatche Pool...there were Tree Swallows that spanned the entire sky across the pool, as far left as you can view from the observation tower and clear across the NYS Thruway to the right.  An estimate had to be in the hundreds of thousands and possibly into the millions. With a scope, it appeared to be almost entirely Tree Swallows. The density of birds was mind-blowing!  Possibly the coolest bird observation I've ever witnessed. Just thought it might be an interesting look for any local birders travelling that direction for end of Summer vacation plans. 

Also, a group of 8 Great Egrets has been hanging out at a pond on Route 197 between Fort Edward and Argyle. So far, they have remained very visible at that pond for at least 2 weeks. The pond is on the north side of Route 197 approximately 1/4 mile past the intersection with St. James Road as you head East on Route 197 (toward Argyle). 

Scott Varney
Salem NY

Sixteen Common Nighthawks- Colonie 8/14


A group of sixteen Common Nighthawks just flew past in direct flight at medium altitude (~200 m.) heading SSE, as viewed from our yard in Colonie. Go outside and look up for more!

Tom Williams 

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