Blog

A New Year’s Day Trip People celebrate the New Year in different ways, but for most birdwatchers, the year begins with a birding trip. And so, after taking my time to get going with the cold temps outside (it was about -25 that morning!), my four-legged companion Wren and I loaded up for the Lake Champlain Region.  We planned to start our day at Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area. Given how cold it has been, Ausable was a...
Welcome winter! The rumors are true: 2017 gave us a cold shoulder upon its departure. A blast of arctic air at the end of December and Lake Champlain’s liquid surface waved good by; blue became white as anxious ice fishing anglers applauded. Talented local photographer, Shawn Michener, braved the sub-zero temperatures to capture some of the first pictures of the frozen surface off the Port Henry shore. He also got some great shots of...
It’s that time of year With winter upon us, we have reached the time of year when Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) mark the days on the calendars of birders around the country and the world. A few local counts were held during the first weekend of the count period, which straddles the New Year. These included Elizabethtown and Plattsburgh, the latter of which I’ve helped with in the past. This year, as I’ve done the past couple years, I helped...
It might seem like an unpromising time for exploration. An in-between time -- past the hiking trails of summer and not yet consistently fluffy enough for the snowshoeing and cross-country trails of deep winter. But with the right preparation and an adventurous mindset, these times can be just as rewarding. They offer advantages that happen only in those in-between times. You could, like me, become a fan of between season hiking. As seen on...
The convenience of online christmas shopping is wearing thin for many of us. If you’ve been glued to your computer for far too many hours, then why not get out of the house and visit those quaint little shops found in the Lake Champlain Region? Not only will you discover unique gifts for the people on your list, but you’ll also find it an energizing way to get into the holiday spirit! Here, in no particular order, are seven of the many...
Our farmers' markets are more than a source of great produce. They can be a treasure hunt for arts and crafts. But when fall's harvest season draws to a close, there's no need to give up the hunt. We also have a lovely variety of thrift stores and vintage shops. Striking gold On a recent hunt, I toured the Lake Champlain Region offerings, from Keeseville in the north to Ticonderoga in the south. There are listings and even a handy...
Another Beautiful Day in the Lake Champlain Region With waterfowl and other migrating birds on the move, and after our Cave Swallow find a few days earlier, Wren and I took advantage of another great day to go birding in the Champlain Valley, this time along the southern portion of the lake. We began at Westport Boat Launch, where there was a nice selection of ducks on North West Bay including Buffleheads, Mallards, American Black Ducks...
As we approach the holiday season, there is a special event that I look forward to every year. In fact, attending this event has become a holiday tradition for me. Attend once and it will become one for you, too. I encourage you to add this event to your holiday “list of things to do.” The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Every year, in late November — this year it's locally on Monday, November 27 — The Canadian Pacific Holiday...
The Potential of Fall Birding Fall birding brings with it both the usual migrants as well as odd and interesting finds. It not only makes for an exciting time of year, it also means that birders have to be prepared for what might come their way. And so with the hope of both usual migrants and unusual species, Wren and I headed to the northern Lake Champlain Region last week. I had to take care of some business in Plattsburgh,...
The first formal proclamation of Thanksgiving in America was on March 16, 1776. It was issued by John Hancock in his position as President of the Continental Congress. This was during the American Revolution, a time of uncertainty. People needed to gather together. The enjoyment of Thanksgiving has not changed. But since 1776, there have been some striking changes in the details. A handmade time In colonial times, there wasn't too much...
Fall Fronts Anytime a fall cold front passes through the region, it is a good idea to head out and see what’s moving south with the wind in its tail. Such was the case the other day before our current heat wave, when north and northeast winds blew south along Lake Champlain, and I explored the lakeshore to see what I could find. Westport boat launch was quiet – apart from a Belted Kingfisher and the excitement among the Ring-billed Gulls...
A morning walk inspires a day of travel My birding day started with a great deal of promise when I found nine species of warblers while walking Wren along Lake Colby in Saranac Lake. It was late in the fall for such diversity, but given how much south wind we’ve had of late, I figured many of our migrants had been held up, awaiting winds from the north. The list was highlighted by four Tennessee Warblers that foraged in one small tree...
Many people think that when the leaves are past their peak, there is nothing left to enjoy. I am not one of those people. I love the late fall, when the weather often gifts us with delightful Indian summer days. It's perfect hiking weather, with the crisp air and bright sunshine. There's even a bonus we won't get again until early spring. The fallen leaves let more light onto the forest floor, brightening up any hike and expanding...
An Opportunity to Bird the Valley Any chance to do some birding along Lake Champlain is a good one, so I took advantage of a trip I was making to Plattsburgh by birding with a friend. We began at Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area, and the morning rain was slowing down as we explored beneath a drippy, overcast sky. We parked at the boardwalk and checked out the edge habitat along the road. Ausable Marsh Songbirds...
Contributed by guest blogger: Rick Harker Can you feel it? I’m talking about the cool, crisp fall air. Now combine it with the feeling of warmth the bright sun brings as it pounds against your jacket. I absolutely love this time of year! Not only because of the striking beauty the colorful changing leaves bring to the landscape of the Adirondack Mountains, but something special takes place every year beyond the beauty of ...