Salem area Snow Buntings

Scott Varney

Once again on a quest for fun winter birds, I canvassed the area from my house in Salem, NY to Cambridge, Shushan, and then to Hebron with my best bud, Charles ( my Bulldog). Best birds of the day included a flock of 20 Wild Turkeys making a point of staying off the snow while perched in a grove of Buttonwood trees. I also observed approx 30 Snow Buntings and 50 Horned Larks on Legrys Road in Cambridge (near the airport). A dozen Blue Jays, Juncos everywhere, a couple Cardinals, and 1 3rd Year Bald Eagle on a section of open water on White Creek on Route 153 near the Rupert, VT border.

For anyone looking for a beautiful Sunday drive with open water and amazing rural scenery, check out the drive from Cambridge to Arlington, VT...most of the Battenkill is fully open with flowing water (despite these booger-freezing temperatures)...absolutely breathtaking with stunning panoramas. It's a good time to see this region!

Happy Birding,

Scott Varney
Salem, NY

eBird Report - Field Birds Northumberland farmland, Jan 6, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Northumberland farmland, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 6, 2018 12:25 PM - 2:17 PM
Protocol: Traveling
8.0 mile(s)
Comments: In 5 degrees and gusts up to 20 mph, you could say it was cold. Still, enjoyed checking out Northumberland. Had 250+ Horned Larks and 40 + Snow Buntings on Clark Rd and Selfridge Rd. Without John H., no Lapland Longspurs were found! Mostly little feeding flocks along roadsides. A little bit of open water on Harris road had Mallards and Geese. No birds of prey seen until I saw RTH on Northway on the way home
18 species

Canada Goose 5
Mallard 26
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 45
Mourning Dove 23
Northern Flicker 2 Flying together on Purinton Rd
Blue Jay 6
American Crow 120
Common Raven 5 Clark Rd mixed in with Common Crows
Horned Lark 274 Large flock as mentioned on Clark Rd, another group on Purinton Rd and 5 more on Welcome Farm on West River Rd
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Eastern Bluebird 4
European Starling 42
Snow Bunting 64 As mentioned on Clark Rd and another Flock on Kobor Rd
American Tree Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 16
Northern Cardinal 2

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Jim Meinhold

5 bluebirds all went into one bluebird house on my backyard fence just before sunset. Brrrrrr .... it's cold out there.


Jim Meinhold
​Saratoga Springs​

Monday Jan 8 HMBC program - bird migration


7:00 p.m. at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.  Speaker: Jenny Murtaugh of NYSDEC.  

Please be alert for deer along the roads in the area.

For more information on the program, please see 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Rough-legged hawks - Staats Island Rd. and American Oil City Rd.

Jackson Mesick

Hey everyone,

Apologies for the belated report. On Tuesday, I birded Staats Island Rd. and American Oil City Rd.

Staats Island had a dark morph rough-legged hawk, a few turkeys, and a small flock of bluebirds.

American Oil City Rd. also had a rough-legged hawk (though more of a light morph), and in one area near what looks like a Christmas tree farm on the left side of the road there was a single juvenile white-crowned sparrow in a flock with juncos and tree sparrows.

There was also a possible dark morph rough-legged hawk looking out over a marsh on a tree above 9J in between the two roads, but I was driving, so it may have been a red-tail: I wasn't able to get a good enough look to be sure. Roughies seem to have moved into our area though!

Good birding,

Jackson Mesick
East Greenbush, NY / Chicago, IL

January 3 Birdline


Birdline summary for week ending January 3:

18 reports; 64 species reported


Best of the week:


SNOWY OWL: Albany Airport 1/02, 1/03 (4)

SNOW BUNTING: Northumberland 12/29 (200); Troy CBC (100)



Other notables:

Snow Goose: Troy CBC (8)

Ring-necked Pheasant: Troy CBC

Black Vulture: Five Rivers 12/29 (3)

Bald Eagle: Troy CBC (23); Northumberland 1/1; Stillwater 1/1 (2)

Rough-legged Hawk: Troy CBC (6); Coxsackie 12/31, 1/1 (6); Northumberland 1/1, Albany Airport 1/03

Eastern Screech-Owl: Troy CBC

Great Horned Owl: Troy CBC (6)

Barred Owl: Troy CBC

Northern Flicker: West Charlton 1/1; South Glens Falls 1/1; Five Rivers 1/1; Northumberland 1/1

Merlin: Troy CBC (4); Five Rivers 1/1

Peregrine Falcon: Troy CBC (4)

Horned Lark: Salem 12/28; Northumberland 12/29 (200); Troy CBC (170)

Winter Wren: Troy CBC (3); Five Rivers 1/1

Carolina Wren: Troy CBC (11)

Golden-crowned Kinglet: Troy CBC (13); Five Rivers 1/1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: Queensbury 12/29

Hermit Thrush: Troy CBC

Eastern Bluebird: Saratoga 1/1 (6)

American Robin: Five Rivers 12/29 (1000)

Northern Mockingbird: Saratoga 1/03

Yellow-rumped Warbler: Troy CBC (2)

Eastern Towhee: Troy CBC (2)

Purple Finch: Troy CBC


Thanks to Larry Alden (Troy CBC), Mona Bearor (South Glens Falls), Liz Curley (Albany Airport ), Ron Harrower (Northumberland, Saratoga, Stillwater, Albany airport), John Hershey (Northumberland), Michelle J (Coxsackie), John Kent (Coxsackie), Alan Mapes (Five Rivers), Ellen Pemrick (West cHarlton),  Barb Putnam (Queensbury), Scott Varney (Salem) and Tom Williams (Five Rivers, Albany Airport)



eBird Report - Degraff Road, Jan 3, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Degraff Road, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 3, 2018 11:00 AM - 11:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Comments: Checking out fields after seeing Snowies in Albany Airport. No such luck, but was still interesting
17 species

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 4 Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by Common Crows, very loud!
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 34
Mourning Dove 5
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 17
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
American Robin 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 125
American Tree Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 14
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 3
House Finch 7

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

eBird Report - Featherbed Lane, Jan 3, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Featherbed Lane, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 3, 2018 12:05 PM - 12:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.1 mile(s)
Comments: Saw birds crossing the road. Stopped and pushed a bit. Seemed to be an active feeding flock
8 species

Mourning Dove 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Tufted Titmouse 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
American Goldfinch 4

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

eBird Report - Snowy Owls Hockey Club Building, Jan 3, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Hockey Club Building, Albany, New York, US
Jan 3, 2018 7:15 AM - 9:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Comments: Encouraged by many recent posts about Snowy Owls at the airport (particularly Lic C.'s) Jeff and I stationed ourselves in the Hockey Club parking lot at sunrise. Within half an hour, we saw two owls flying near the main runways meeting point. Shortly after, one flew right at us on the bluff. As it came towards us and then past, we were like the Keystone Cops of bird photography. We had trouble getting cameras ready in time, then having the shutter go. Got a shot of bird flying away. We then saw three separate owls sitting on number and letter signs and on the ground. ( it was revealed to us later that the first owl we saw landed on the ground beyond parking lot out of sight and stayed there. So, we conclude that there are 4 Snowy Owls at the airprt
6 species

Red-tailed Hawk 2
Rough-legged Hawk 1 1 Light-phased hawk landed in a tree at south end of airport property.
Snowy Owl 4 Explained above. In responding to questioning pf tis number of owls, we saw them and there is a history of multiple owls at Albany airport in irruption years
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 24

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Snowy Owl, Albany Airport/Hockey

Liz C

Went to the observation deck at the airport to see the reported snowy owl near runway G, and I *think* I saw it, and one harrier. Decided to swing by the adjacent hockey facility on the way home and was surprised to see a Snowy Owl sitting right there on the roof. There were kids in the snow playing right beneath it, the owl was definitely watching them. It eventually flew over the airport fence (very fuzzy feet) and toward the control tower. Photos on eBird. Unfortunately the sun was dropping behind a hill off to the right, so the lighting wasn’t great for photographs, but hey, I got to see another SNOWY OWL, very very happy. 

Liz Curley

Snowy Owl, Albany International Airport- 1/2


Craig D. and I just observed a Snowy Owl at Albany Int. Airport, likely the same bird reported by Craig F. on Monday. It has a similar pattern to the bird photographed there by Liz C. in late December as well. We made our sighting from inside the airport building, on the third floor observation area that also houses the art gallery (culture and birds.) The owl was on the ground along taxiway "G" very near the sign with the same identifier. With 8X binoculars it was distant but recognizable. The observation deck is open to the public and is not behind any airport security checkpoints. Short-term parking is free for the first half-hour, then $2 for the next half-hour, and $1 per half-hour thereafter. Food and bathrooms are available adjacent to the viewing area, one could camp out there for a while, $ permitting. Not sure that I would lug a scope through there though, likely have to answer some questions post-haste.

Tom Williams

eBird Report - Blockhouse Park, Jan 1, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Blockhouse Park, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 1, 2018 3:30 PM - 3:55 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Checked out open water above the dam (very limited) and fairly extensive area below the dam. Canada Geese predominated, but significant numbers of mallards, Hooded and Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneyes made the view seem very active after a long time seeing hardly anything on Northumberland.
16 species

Canada Goose 1700
Mallard 55
American Black Duck 8
Common Goldeneye 24
Hooded Merganser 14
Common Merganser 15
Bald Eagle 2 One adult by the house on the island while crossing bridge. the other immature was soaring and scaring gulls and geese toward Mechanicville
Ring-billed Gull 9
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 14
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 23
European Starling 34
White-throated Sparrow 1
House Sparrow 2

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eBird Report - Hanehan Road, Jan 1, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Hanehan Road, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 1, 2018 3:08 PM - 3:23 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments: No sign of Northern Shrike seen before Christmas. Many feeder birds at a house near sharp farmer's corner, git me to stop. Picked up Cooper's Hawk way in back in a hedgerow. Next thing I knew, it was trying to grab a Junco righting front of the house.
15 species

Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 19
Mourning Dove 4
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 5
Tufted Titmouse 1
Eastern Bluebird 9 4 at feeder mentioned above, 5 more east down the hill toward Hudson River. Males very vocal,
European Starling 25
American Tree Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 27
White-throated Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 4
House Finch 5

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eBird Report - Robins, Swamp Road, Jan 1, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Begin forwarded message:

From: ebird-checklist@...
Date: January 1, 2018 at 10:49:24 PM EST
To: rharrower@...
Subject: eBird Report - Swamp Road, Jan 1, 2018

Swamp Road, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 1, 2018 2:40 PM - 2:50 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.8 mile(s)
Comments:     Not much seen in open marshes, but encountered 9 American Robins in shrubs and trees up the road West from big bend in road.
5 species

Red-tailed Hawk  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  4
American Robin  9
European Starling  2

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eBird Report - Northumberland farmland, Jan 1, 2018

Ronald Harrower

Northumberland farmland, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 1, 2018 12:45 PM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
8.0 mile(s)
Comments: Met Lindsey on Harris Rd, She had just seen a Snowy Owl, so we went in pursuit. No further Snowy action, but did see dark-phased Rough-legged Hawk on Stone Bridge Rd. Desired field birds were absent despite fresh applications courtesy of local dairies.
22 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose 45
Mallard 24
American Black Duck 2
Common Goldeneye 12
Common Merganser 25
Common Merganser (North American) 8
Bald Eagle 1 Eating what looks to be a duck carcass, being pestered by a crow
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Rough-legged Hawk 1 Dark-phased
Ring-billed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 35
Mourning Dove 18
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1 On Harris Road
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 43
European Starling 75
American Tree Sparrow 8
Dark-eyed Junco 23
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 4
House Sparrow 5

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This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (



Greetings All,
  The seventh annual Ulster/Dutchess (NYUD) Christmas Bird Count was conducted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017.  We’ve been fortunate, for continuity sake, to hold this count within a three day window from 12/26-12/28. 41 birders in 14 field parties along with two feeder watchers observed a new high total of 95 species (+2 cw species) for the NYUD CBC.  The 20,792 individual birds counted were nearly 3000 more than our average for the previous six counts and represented our second highest total (23,039 in 2011). Of the species that have appeared three or more years on this count seventeen species were recorded at a new high number and six species at a new low total.  To illustrate how complete a team effort this year’s count was an outstanding seven species were added to our composite NYUD list from seven different sectors!  This raised our composite total after seven counts to 120 species. Exceptional finds included a soaring Golden Eagle in Sector E, a vocalizing Long-eared Owl in Sector G, an unexpected Red-headed Woodpecker in Sector J, two cooperative Lapland Longspurs in Sector D, and a female White-winged Scoter in Sector F.  Two species, a House Wren in Sector B and an Iceland Gull in Sector I moved from “CW” historical status to join us on count day.

  Temperatures ranged from 2 degrees at 6:00 a.m. (having dropped from 8 degrees at the start of our nocturnal effort at 4:00 a.m.) to a balmy 26 degrees mid-day.  Luckily diurnal birders basked in a sun-filled day with calm winds.  Standing bodies of water were iced over but the Hudson and it’s tributaries within the circle remained open and definitely helped field parties locate a very respectable 16 species of waterfowl.  Three inches of a powdery snow cover was rare for the NYUD and surely helped to consolidate sparrows roadside and maybe even aid in our record number of Snow Buntings.

   A big “thank you” as always to Steve Chorvas for inputting and arranging all the data for this count and to all those who cooked, baked, and cleaned up to lessen the load for my now very pregnant wife.  Also a special thanks to Dave Hayes for providing a beautiful facelift to our sector maps.  Finally, to all those in the field (as listed below) congratulations and thank you on our most productive and successful count yet.  Included with participants are notable bird species from each sector.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark DeDea
co-compiler NYUD CBC


Sector A (West Saugerties) 41 species  2,048 individuals
Corey Finger, Vanessa Lane, George Moxham, and Mary Moxham
Rusty Blackbird, Winter Wren, Field Sparrow, and Hermit Thrush

Sector B (Saugerties) B1N 48 species  1,674 individuals  B2S  48 species  925 individuals
B1N Alan Beebe, Doreen Beebe (fw), and Steve Chorvas  B2S Gilbert Thomson and Tyrell Thomson
Mute Swan, Cackling Goose, Northern Pintail, Snow Bunting, House Wren, Gray Catbird, 10 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Great Black-backed Gull

Sector C (Cheviot)  44 species  2175 individuals
Greg Esch and George Steele
Black Vulture, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and 336 American Robin

Sector D (Kerleys Corners)  53 species  3224 individuals
Susan Fox Rogers and Peter Schoenberger
Lapland Longspur, Purple Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Horned Lark, and Snow Bunting

Sector E (Woodstock) E1 26 species 388 individuals  E2 38 species 614 individuals
E1 Allan Bowdery and Dan Porter  E2 Dixon Onderdonk, Loren Quinby, and Dan Spencer
Peregrine Falcon and Golden Eagle

Sector F (Lake Katrine)  44 species  1708 individuals
Lynn Bowdery, Lin Fagan, and Jane Simmons
White-winged Scoter,  Northern Pintail, Snow Goose, and Horned Lark

Sector G (Annandale-on-Hudson) G1 58 species 1895 individuals G2  16 species  262 individuals
G1 Jim Clinton, Jess Prockup, Jim Prockup, and Mathew Rymkiewicz  G2 Doug Bean, Carol Fredericks, and Ken Fredericks
Long-eared Owl, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Black Vulture, Field Sparrow, and Rusty Blackbird

Sector H (Red Hook) H1N 38 species  1022 individuals  H2S  34 species  606 individuals
H1N Adrienne Popko and Chet Vincent  H2S Barbara Butler, Jim Closs, Ginny Collins, Roberta Dopson, and Dominic Sherony
Chipping Sparrow, Rough-legged Hawk, and Ring-necked Pheasant

Sector I (Kingston)  61 species  2952 individuals
Charlotte Adamis, Mark DeDea, Annie Mardiney, and Donna Seymour
Snowy Owl, Iceland Gull, Killdeer, Eastern Towhee, Red-breasted Merganser, and Great Blue Heron

Sector J (Rhinebeck) 52 species  1299 individuals
Dave Hayes, Rodney Johnson, Deb Kral, and Wendy Tocci
Red-headed Woodpecker, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Canvasback, Fish Crow, Greater Scaup, and Peregrine Falcon

Rusty Blackbird, Winter Wren at VF

Steve Mesick

A delayed report, (sorry pretty booked the last two days) but at Vischer Ferry (and other places in our sector of the Troy CBC, we had several good birds. Most notably, at one tiny spot with some open water along the towpath east of the fireman’s entrance we had a Rusty Blackbird, a Swamp Sparrow and a Hermit Thrush. On that same section of towpath a little further east there was a Winter Wren.

The water in general made some birds more scarce (first time since I have done it when there have been no ducks, geese or gulls of any kind) but the fact that there was so little open water meant birds were concentrated, the location above being the best spot. We also had two other Winter Wrens on the count, 2 Great Blue Herons, a Merlin, a Belted Kingfisher, 4 (possibly 5) Rough-legged Hawks, a Red-winged Blackbird, 2 Screech-owls and a Great Horned Owl, and, of all things, a Ring-necked Pheasant!

Crazy but extremely cold day enjoyed by me, Jackson, Richard White, and 2 new birders, Dave Luck and Chris Saffron.

Steve Mesick, East Greenbush, NY

Carolina Wren


Had a Carolina Wren on my suet off and on for most of the day yesterday. 

Heidi Klinowski 

Rough-legged Hawks

John Kent

I saw 6 or 7 Rough-legged Hawks on a drive around Coxsackie today. First I saw one hunting on both sides of River Road in Coeymans, near the LaFarge conveyor. At River Road Grasslands in Coxsackie, there was one dark morph perched in a tree well southwest of the viewing/parking area. At Industrial Parkway, there was one hunting the fields on the west side of the road. Next I found one on Flint Mine Road near 9W, then another in a field on the east side of 9W about a mile north of Flint Mine. Then I saw two more over the fields behind Save A Lot and Serta. I think one of those, a dark morph, might have been the same one I saw earlier from River Road. Otherwise, it was pretty quiet. I only saw a couple of Red-tailed Hawks, and no harriers or anything else of note.

John Kent

New Year's Day Bird Count at Five Rivers EEC- summary


Approximately thirty birders braved the frigid weather at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar this first morning of 2018, and recorded thirty-one species, including a Merlin that blasted across the parking lot in pursuit of a Cooper's Hawk as our group was dispersing. Other notable species observed included Northern Flicker, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Winter Wren. Many thanks to the staff at Five Rivers for hosting this fun annual event once again, and especially to Kitty Rusch and director "emeritus" Craig Thompson for leading our two groups.

Tom Williams