Brown Booby Rare Bird Sighting Long Lake NY Hamilton County 2018

Brown Booby Photos by Tom Whitney

From Joan Collins, Adirondack Avian Expeditions.

“On Saturday, August 25, 2018, Long Lake Camp Owner, Tom Whitney photographed a juvenile Brown Booby on the mast of his sailboat on Long Lake.

This is a mega-rare bird for Long Lake and there is huge interest from birders around the state.  He found it south of the Big Brook inlet.  On Monday, August 27th, Joan Collins saw the Brown Booby between Big Brook and Round Island also on Long Lake and it flew up, circled around, and flew to the east side of the lake and along the tree-line and disappeared from view.

Following up the Saturday, August 25th sighting, Birders Joan Collins and Larry Master, ventured out by boat on Tuesday morning, August 28th from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to explore the northern end of Long Lake. This area of the lake has limited road access so a boat was necessary to reach the northern most location on the lake.   Unfortunately there was no repeat Brown Booby sighting at that time.

This Juvenile Brown Booby will spend time perched on channel markers or other perches it finds suitable (like a sailboat mast) and it will also simply float on the water. 

The juvenile Brown Booby is dark with a distinctive dark border on its breast and yellowish feet.  It also looks a bit like a Northern Gannett if that is a familiar bird to some.

From Joan: “I wanted to get the word out to people around the lake since 14 miles is a large area to look for one bird!  It may still be around, or it may have moved on.  This Brown Booby is way outside of its normal territory (Florida and the Caribbean).  If you spot it, please try to get a photo (or video) – and please email and let her know right away!  Thank you!”

Fun sighting:  Five days before Tom’s sighting in Long Lake, a juvenile Brown Booby was being observed in western Massachusetts, and birders think the bird on Long Lake may be the same individual.



Brown Booby Facts:
Juvenile is brown overall; belly ranges from mottled brown and white to mostly dark. Sharp line still visible between darker chest and lighter belly. Underwing coverts are pale. Bare parts generally dull gray.

A widespread seabird of tropical waters, the Brown Booby ranges as far north as the Gulf of California, and rarely to both coasts of the United States. Like other boobies, it feeds with spectacular plunges into the sea.



Winter Birding Weekend Announced in Long Lake, NY

Winter Birding Weekend in Long Lake!
Saturday & Sunday, January 28-29, 2017

Enjoy a weekend of birding events in the Central Adirondacks this winter! Events will include field trips, a presentation, and social dinner. Participants will look for winter “irruptive” species such as Common and Hoary Redpolls and Pine Siskins, along with year-round boreal residents such as Black-backed Woodpeckers, Gray Jays, and Boreal Chickadees.

Winter Birding event in Long Lake, NY January 28th - 29th, 2017

Winter Birding event in Long Lake, NY January 28th – 29th, 2017

Joan Collins will lead field trips on both days. The main field trip will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2017 beginning at 8 a.m. There will be an optional field trip on Saturday, January 28, 2017 for those who arrive early. This trip will also begin at 8 a.m. (In the event of inclement weather on Sunday, the Saturday trip will become the main field trip.) The meeting location for both field trips is the Geiger Arena parking area (across from the Long Lake Post Office). Participants can car-pool to reduce the number of cars in our train!

Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., Joan Collins will present “Winter Bird Visitors of Northern New York” at the Long Lake Town Hall. Each year, avian visitors from the far north move south to spend the winter in our northern New York region. Some of the species, like Bohemian Waxwing and Snow Bunting, can be found every winter. Other species, such as Pine Grosbeak, irregularly “irrupt” into our area only in certain winters, while some species irrupt on a fairly regular schedule, such as the Common Redpoll, which tends to visit every other winter. Why the birds move to our region, and where you can find them, will be discussed. The presentation will feature nineteen species that visit northern New York in winter using photographs, audio, and video.

A social dinner at the Adirondack Hotel will follow the Saturday afternoon presentation. Participants will gather at the Adirondack Hotel after the talk and dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Registration is required to attend the field trips. Call the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department at 518-624-3077 to register. There is a maximum of 25 participants for each field trip. The presentation and dinner at the Adirondack Hotel are open to the public. If you plan to attend dinner at the Adirondack Hotel after the presentation, please call the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department to register by January 25th. It will be an ala carte meal, but reservations requested for head count.

Places to stay: Shamrock Motel and Cottages ( ) and the Adirondack Hotel ( ). The Long Lake Diner opens for breakfast at 6:30 a.m. Stewarts offers quick breakfast items. On Saturday, participants can pre-order lunch from the ADK Trading Post for pick-up along our birding route. Menus will be sent to participants. Sunday’s lunch plans will be decided as the winter progresses and our birding route is planned for that day.

The Winter Birding Weekend is sponsored by the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information see the Long Lake website at or visit the page.


Joan Collins is President of the New York State Ornithological Association and Editor of New York Birders. She is also Vice-President of Northern New York Audubon, past President of High Peaks Audubon Society, and past member of the Board of Directors for the Audubon Council of New York State.

Joan, President of Adirondack Avian Expeditions & Workshops, LLC, leads birding field trips year-round, is a New York State licensed guide, an Adirondack 46er, and has climbed all the Adirondack fire tower peaks. She is a frequent guest speaker and teaches classes on ornithology topics. Joan has published several journal, magazine, and newspaper articles on wildlife and conservation topics in various publications including New York Birders, Conservationist, and The Kingbird. She authored several warbler species accounts, in addition to serving as a peer reviewer for The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. Mountain Lake PBS, Adirondack Explorer, and Adirondack Life magazine have featured pieces on Joan, and her regular birding segments with Todd Moe can be heard on North Country Public Radio.

Follow Joan on Facebook at:
Her website can be found at:

Adirondack Birding in Long Lake


What’s on your Bird List? Long Lake and Hamilton County is an unbelievable boreal bird zone and not to be missed!

The Adirondack Birding Festival in Hamilton County launches on Friday, June 13th through 15th. This three day event features birding hikes, walks, safaris and seminars stretching from Long Lake all throughout Hamilton County. Free birding expeditions, all you have to do is sign up.

Hamilton County is over one million acres of the Adirondack State Park. Long Lake is one of the prime destinations to watch boreal birds. Now in its 10th year, the Hamilton County Birding Festival brings together bird watchers from all over the United States to explore and discover the amazing bird habitat of the Adks.

Joan Collins is a premier birding expert in the area and calls Long Lake her home. Every year she participates in guided hiking trips in and around the Long Lake area. Her love of birds is palpable and her amazing ability to hear them is something not to miss. “Shhh, be quiet!” Have your ears ready for a special auditory experience. Check out the schedule and sign up!

Be ready for the unexpected when it comes to weather in June. It can be hot, humid, rain, cold, and even snow. (let’s hope not) Though June is typically filled with warm days and cool evenings, you can never be sure so packing properly is part of the fun of exploring the area.


For each trip be sure to bring the following:

bug repellent (netting or a bug shirt is recommended)
snacks and/or lunch
bird books
comfortable waterproof footwear
For canoeing trips, you also need to bring a canoe/kayak, paddles, and a PFD (as required by law)
Event Schedule

FRI. JUNE 13, 2014

7-10am Inlet Walk at Ferd’s Bog with guide Joan Collins
7am-12pm Long Lake Hike at Hitchins Pond/Low’s Ridge/Upper Dam with guides John & Pat Thaxton
10am-12pm Raquette Lake Walk at Raquette Lake Rail Bed/Marion River Carry with guide Joan Collins
2-4pm Long Lake Walk at Forked Lake Campground area with guides Jerry Roberts/Bill Labes
5-7pm Indian Lake Walk at Cedar River with guides Mike & Wanda Moccio
6:30pm Raquette Lake Dinner Cruise (Black Fly Challenge & Birding Festival) Special Cruise W.W. Durant Cruise & Dine Steamship

SAT. JUNE 14, 2014

7-10am Inlet Walk at Ferd’s Bog with guide Gary Lee
7-11am Indian Lake/Speculator Walk at Perkins Clearing with guides Mike & Wanda Moccio
7am-12pm Long Lake Walk/Hike at Hitchens Pond/Lows Ridge with guide Joan Collins
7-11am Piseco Hike at Fiddler’s Pond with guides Jerry Roberts/Bill Labes
7am-12pm Newcomb Hike – New Trip! at Roosvelt Truck Trail with guides John & Pat Thaxton
7-11am Morehouse Walk at G Lake with guides Laurie Freeman/Jamie Taft
2-4pm Piseco Driving Safari at Powley Road with guides Laurie Freeman/Jamie Taft
4-5:30pm Blue Mountain Lake at Adirondack Museum with guide Joan Collins for “Boreal Species”

SUN. JUNE 15, 2014

7am-12pm Inlet Road Safari at Moose River Plains with guide Joan Collins
7am-12pm Long Lake Hike at Northville-Placid Trail with guides John & Pat Thaxton
7am-12pm Indian Lake Walk – New Trip! Former Finch and Pruyn lands/Chain of Lakes Rd. with guides Mike & Wanda Moccio

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