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Into the Adirondacks
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2008

I moved my way North today, from Watertown to Cape Vincent, then Potsdam, and down into the Adirondacks in Newcomb.  There is a bird called the Grey Partridge which was introduced into New York as a game bird in the 30s.  These birds established breeding colonies and have lived as wild birds in the state ever since.  Lately, though, their population has declined drastically, and now there are only a handful of birds in the state.  This is a bird that I'd especially love to see for my Big Year, and my Bull's Guide (a record book of birds in NY) told me that Cape Vincent is the last stronghold for Partridge.  So this morning found me cruising through the snowy back roads of Cape Vincent, and beautiful penninsula towards the top of New York State, just across the border with Canada.  The area is lots of farmland leading down to a craggy coastline, and I can see why it's a popular summer vacation spot.  As I was driving up and down these back roads, windows down and heat blasting, I made a couple of calls to people that I thought might know something about the birds.  As the morning progressed, I talked to some very helpful birders who told me that the last time the Partridge was seen in Cape Vincent was between two and four years ago, and was now believed to be extirpated.  The only spot in the state that the bird has been seen recently, it turns out, is Malone, which is about 3 hours east of Cape Vincent.   Well, I really want to see this bird, so I made some calls and juggled some work stuff to extend my trip a couple of days to take a shot at it.   I'll be visiting Malone in a day or two and will, of course, keep you posted!

Meanwhile, I spotted a beautiful male Ring Necked Pheasant at a feeder, and found a Lapland Longspur in a flock of Horned Larks on the road.  
Also had a Rough Legged Hawk flyover.  The big highlight of the area, though, was the multi-thousand flock of Redheads right off the coast of Cape Vin
cent.  Here are two photos, one from a distance and one a little closer.

 
In Potsdam I stopped at Joan Collins house.  Joan has feeders and has been posting online about some amazing birds she's had this winter, including hundreds of Bohemian Waxwings and a couple of Hoary Redpolls.  There were just Common Redpolls at the feeders today, but Joan was very gracious and friendly, and we talked a bit about finding some of the area specialties, especially in the Adirondacks.  I guess today's theme is the importance of information...good info on a bird usually makes the difference between finding it and getting skunked.  Joan gave me plenty to work with, and I plan to take advantage tomorrow morning in Bloomingdale Bog.