- a unique blend of striking scenic beauty, endless outdoor recreational opportunities and celebrated heritage.
Spring is one of the most exciting times of year to bird across the Adirondacks, and the Champlain Valley is a great place to explore as the weather begins to warm. Spring birding along the Champlain Valley begins as the numbers of ducks and other waterfowl start to move north along the lake towards their breeding grounds. Birders can look for the same species they can find in the valley during fall and winter, but during the spring migration of waterfowl in March and early April, they can find thousands and thousands of ducks moving north along the lake. Some of the species of ducks include the following:
The early spring is also marked by the first movements of raptors along the Champlain Valley as wintering birds move out and migratory birds from the south move into and through the valley on their way north. Many species are possible including:
And, while great-horned, barred, and eastern screech owls are year-round residents in the valley, they are often more active and vocal in the spring, meaning that they may be easier for birders to find. After all, owls nest early and start calling more frequently in late winter and early spring as a result. In addition birders should not forget to head up into the bogs and forests of the park to look for breeding saw-whet owls in April as well.
The songbird migration can be equally impressive across the region, and the Champlain Valley is the best migratory funnel the region has to offer. Songbird migration begins in March when the first arrivals such as red-winged blackbirds and song sparrows come from the south. It steadily picks up steam across the entire region with blackbirds and a variety of sparrow species, and blue-headed vireos in April, and then the growing influx of warblers in May. It is truly a magical time, and Lake Champlain can concentrate flocks of migratory songbirds along its shores as these birds move north. For instance, birders should check out the bird banding station at Crown Point State Historic Site where about 100 species and over 25 species of warblers have been banded since 1976! That means on a spring birding day in the Champlain Valley or Adirondacks, birders can find a huge number of birds!
Of course, many of these birds stay to breed in the Adirondacks, and woodlots in the Champlain Valley provide breeding habitat for them. Look for birds such as
And many more!
And a spring day in the valley or further inside the park can find 15-20 species of warblers! Migration along the Champlain Valley can be tremendous. Birders should note that the wooded breeding habitats of the Adirondacks generally support more species of breeding warblers than does the Champlain Valley, so they should make sure to check out some of those areas. And the valley's brushy edges make it great for species such as common yellowthroat and yellow warbler, and there have even been records of breeding prairie warbler and golden-winged warbler, two species which are very difficult to find in the region.
With so many species to see in such a short period of time, the spring is a great time to go birding in the Champlain Valley.
This aptly named Lake Champlain Birding Trail brochure will provide you with details of what species can be found in the region and includes a handy map guide. Click on the image to view and print the brochure.
with a head-to-tail length of 36-55 inches and wingspan of 66- 79 inches, it's no wonder this bird is the largest North American species.