I left the house at 3 a.m today for a nearly 5-hour long drive up to Lake Placid, New York. This area hosted the Olympics twice, yet my interest was in the boreal birds of the Adirondack Region. Specifically the town of Bloomingdale and it's boreal pine forest.
Right away we saw some Pine Siskins, and it has been a few years since I last saw this species.
Next we tried for the Gray Jay but did not find this bird. However we did come across a flock of Chickadees, and mixed in were at least one, possibly two, Boreal Chickadees. I did not expect to see this bird, as it can be elusive, yet I got some great looks at it and saw it on 4 separate occasions.
Afterwards we wee driving through the bog area and found some beautiful male White-Winged Crossbills along the roadside. The birds are attracted to the road by the grit leftover from sanding the roads after the recent, and still continuing this morning, snowfall.
Previously in Maine a few years ago I had briefly seen a drab immature WW Crossbill, so seeing these bright red males with their black-and-white wings was just like getting a life bird.
And these males were very close, and no higher than a few feet off the ground.
They stuck around long enough for very nice binocular views, and I was able to get them in my spotting scope as well which gave me incredible closeups of their unique bills.
Later on our car got stuck in the snow, and we thought an expensive tow-truck visit was up next. But some nice local "Adirondackers" came by and pulled us out with a rope. This saved us lots of money, and importantly time.
After getting out, we drove around the area looking at the bird feeders and fortunately for us one contained a Gray Jay, which was another life bird for me today.
On the drive back home, we stopped in the Glens Falls, NY area of Fort Edward. This area of large farms is hosting an unprecedented, at least for me, showing of Short-Eared Owls.
I've seen this bird before in New Jersey, New York, Florida, and even Hawaii, but never before have I seen so many at once.
On the farm equipment, haybales, and pine trees, we saw an astounding 38-39 birds in view at once! The birds were incredibly close, and we saw over a dozen in flight at different points.
A truly remarkable experience that I'm sure not too forget.
In this area we were also treated to nice views of the arctic breeding species Rough-Legged Hawk.
We were able to see a few different birds, and included both the light-morph and dark-morph of this species.