Birding the ‘Dacks in early June!

Bruce Beehler in a Papua Field

I did my first birding in the Adirondacks in 1962 as a small boy and to this day the Adirondack Park is a birding Mecca for me, especially in the month of June! After a myriad north woods birding experiences over twelve years, I wrote a book about the birds of the Park, and the Adirondacks will forever be a favorite place to get into the woods and chase thrushes, wood warblers, vireos, and my personal favorites, the two elusive species of three-toed woodpeckers.

I am headed up to Hamilton County for the annual Adirondack Wild Birding Festival on 7-6 June. I cancelled a trip to Papua New Guinea and changed jobs just to make sure I was able to get there this year after experiencing the wonders of last year’s festival.

Why is it so great? Great people, wonderful natural environments, and tons of birds in full song—including many species that are difficult to see anywhere else or in any other season. The time is ripe and the locations are stupendous—marshes, lakes, ponds, forests, mountains, and bogs that are the summer home to Mourning Warblers, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Bicknell’s Thrushes, and Black-backed Woodpeckers!

I live in the Washington, DC area, and I can hop on a Southwest flight from BWI to Albany and then race my rental car up to Long Lake in no time (with a few stops for roadside birding and taking in the sublime scenery—including the vista of the High Peaks from the Newcomb overlook). In early June the spring tide of nature is rushing at full-flow. There is nothing better to recharge a soul wearied from the urban grind.

This year, my goal is to see twenty warbler species and to hear the songs of four Catharus thrushes (Swainson’s Hermit, Bicknells, and Veery). If we toss in an American Three-toed Woodpecker (a longshot) and an American Bittern (another toughie) we have the makings of a memory to last a lifetime. Birding in beautiful wild lands is, after all, the great memory-maker, and that’s what living is all about!

Bruce Beehler

Long Lake