Birding

So Many Warblers in So Many Habitats!

The Adirondacks are amazing during the summer with warm days, clear lakes, and long days to enjoy. Add to that a long list of birds to see, and birders will not have to worry about finding something to do with their time.

Of these birds, warblers are some of the species birders most often seek, and they can be found in every habitat in the region. In fact, there are 20 species of breeding warblers in the Olympic Region alone, and other species add to that diversity during migration. And so birders can start their exploration of the area by poking around in deciduous forests for species like Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird, American Redstart, and in many young forests, Mourning Warbler. And of course, such warblers are not the only birds they can find. That list includes Least Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Red-eyed and Philadelphia Vireo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Barred Owl, Broad-winged Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Winter Wren, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Birders should also check out the many coniferous and boreal habitats in the region - such as those in places like Massawepie, Spring Pond Bog, and Sabattis Bog. There they can start their list with warblers like Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Black-and-white, and Magnolia, while they search for Northern Waterthrush and Canada Warbler in the wet thickets nearby. These same habitats are home to the boreal species which so many birders seek, and while looking for conifer-loving warblers, they can also find the likes of Black-backed Woodpecker, Lincoln's Sparrow, Gray Jay, Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Boreal Chickadee, and perhaps even a threatened Spruce Grouse.

Hiking and Paddling for Birds

Birders in the mood for a workout can hike one of the local mountains - such as Blue Mountain in Hamilton County or Ampersand Mountain. They will climb through various habitats as they do - tallying an assortment of species and ending in the spruce-fir forest home of Blackpoll Warblers. And the warblers don't have the mountaintops all to themselves, either. They share their home with Winter Wrens, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Boreal Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Swainson's Thrushes, and Bicknell's Thrushes - all worth the effort of a hike.

Birders who'd rather stay at lower elevations can explore the wetlands and edge habitats which dot the park - including Tupper Lake Marsh. The edge of these wetlands is perfect for Common Yellowthroats and Chestnut-sided Warblers, but once again such warblers aren't the only breeding residents of these habitats. After all these wetlands harbor Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe, Swamp Sparrow, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and even Sandhill Crane - the latter of which was first documented breeding at Tupper Lake Marsh in 2016.

Excellent Late Summer Birding

If that isn't enough to motivate birders to explore the region, they should consider that the beautiful Adirondack summer is short. That means that while summer is loaded with an assortment of birds, it also presents a limited time to find them. For as July stretches into August, birds begin to move. Some of the first to begin their journey are shorebirds which migrate from the arctic, passing through the North Country on their way south. Interested birders can check out the St. Lawrence Valley for them and check out that website here.

But soon enough songbirds are also on the move and mixed-species late summer flocks can be found anywhere. Such flocks can contain vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, thrushes, flycatchers, and anything else which passes through the region. And of course that means lots and lots of warblers. This is helped by additional species - such as Tennessee, Wilson's, Bay-breasted, and Cape May which add to the already diverse mix, and birders can spend the days sifting through the migrating birds while enjoying Common Nighthawks on the move in the evening. It is one of the best times of year to go birding in the North Country.

But like the Adirondack summer, it is short-lived. Because as September speeds us towards fall before we are ready, the flocks begin to depart and we must wait until spring for the colored diversity to return.

Plan your birding expedition!

By staying in Tupper Lake, a birder is surrounded by wonderful boreal habitat destinations and also close to the famous St. Lawrence Valley. Every conceivable habitat in New York, except ocean, is an easy drive from Tupper Lake! Grab lunch, and whether you decide to paddle, hike, or drive to your viewing location you're sure to enjoy your Tupper birding experience.

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