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 (http://www.shamrockmotellonglake.com/ ) and the Adirondack Hotel (http://www.adirondackhotel.com/ ). 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 mylonglake.com or visit the facebook.com/mylonglake 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: https://www.facebook.com/AdirondackAvian
Her website can be found at: http://www.adirondackavianexpeditions.com/

Moose Sighting in Long Lake

Joan Collins from Adirondack Avian Expeditions, a local birding and guiding expert, travels frequently, early in the morning and spots incredible wildlife. On September 21, 2015 Joan photographed this Bull Moose along Route 28N in Long Lake (about 3/4 miles past the rest area) heading towards Newcomb at 8 a.m.

Moose on route 28N in Long Lake NY in the Adirondacks

Moose on route 28N in Long Lake NY in the Adirondacks

Joan stopped for a sad reason, having spotted a dead baby Black Bear in the middle of the road. Joan was in the car trying to find something that to pull the bear out of the road when she glanced in the rearview mirror and saw the huge animal entering the highway behind the vehicle. Joan grabbed her camera and stayed by the car with the door open, ready for a quick getaway in case the moose decided to get aggresive. Based on Joan’s account she was amazed at the length of time the bull took to stare at her. As the bull moose walked a few steps toward her when a car came along and frightened it off the road. Two men who work for the highway department showed up a few seconds later and told her it was the third (road-killed) baby bear they have retrieved in the past month. It was extremely foggy this morning, which likely explained this death.

Wildlife moves about in the fall as they prepare and gear up for the winter season. Driver’s should be alert on the roadways, as one never knows what to expect. Moose, squirrels, deer, bears and turkey’s pose dangerous road hazards particularly in the fall.

As a licensed guide Joan Collins leads hiking trips and excursions for the Town of Long Lake. Joan operates her own wildlife birding and guiding service. Joan Collins is a New York State licensed bird guide, bird walk leader, writer, and speaker on ornithology topics. She has led walks and made presentations for many organizations including Audubon, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York State Ornithological Association. Joan also belongs to the ranks of the intrepid Adirondack 46ers (having climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks over 4,000 feet). Visit her website for more information.

Photo by Joan Collins of Adirondack Avian Expeditions

Photo by Joan Collins of Adirondack Avian Expeditions

Photo by Joan Collins, Adirondack Avian Expeditions

Photo by Joan Collins, Adirondack Avian Expeditions

Moose stares down Joan Collins in Long Lake NY.  Photo by Joan Collins, Adirondack Avian Expeditions

Moose stares down Joan Collins in Long Lake NY. Photo by Joan Collins, Adirondack Avian Expeditions

The Gift of Moose – Long Lake NY

The following is a guest post by Ellie George.

When I was about 9 years old, I found a catbird nest with its beautiful blue-green eggs on my birthday in early May. I felt that Mother Nature had given me this wonderful discovery as a birthday gift, and from then on, every year around the time of my birthday I have actively sought out the amazing present that Mother Nature would send to me. I have never been disappointed.
Once it was a patch of painted trillium in bloom growing in the woods near my house that I had never seen before. A few years ago I found three shed deer antlers on a small mountain in the Adirondacks. Sometimes Mother Nature delivers right to my home, and a couple of times a male indigo bunting has arrived at my bird feeder at home exactly on my birthday.

Yesterday I was on a fishing adventure in the central Adirondacks with my son Scott. We had already fished one lake and been quite successful, catching and releasing several large smallmouth bass. We were driving along the southern leg of Sabattis Circle Road, heading toward Little Tupper Lake with the intention of carrying a mile into another lake, this time a trout lake, that I had never visited before. I was scanning the sides of the road looking for birds and other wildlife and Scott was driving.

Suddenly Scott hit the brakes and said “Ummmmm,” in a loud and puzzled manner. I quickly glanced at the road to see what was the matter. In about one second’s time, my eyes and brain went through the following sequence of analysis: Horseback riders—–No, horses with no riders——No, MOOSE!!!!! GET THE CAMERA!!

GET THE CAMERA!  Photo by Ellie George

GET THE CAMERA! Photo by Ellie George

In the very center of the road stood two moose, so close their sides were almost touching each other. They looked right at us. I grabbed the camera with telephoto lens from the back seat of the car, pulled it out of its carrying bag, took off the lens cap, and turned it on. Meanwhile the moose had turned and were starting to walk down the center of the road directly away from us. I snapped a few quick photos and the moose trotted over a rise and were out of sight.

Moose on Sabattis Circle Road on May 3, 2015, Long Lake NY Adirondacks. Photo by Ellie George

Moose on Sabattis Circle Road on May 3, 2015, Long Lake NY Adirondacks. Photo by Ellie George

Scott asked what we should do, and I said to drive along behind them slowly, ready to stop in case they were standing in the road again. We moved forward over the rise and the moose were ahead, still trotting down the road together. Scott swung the car to the middle of the road so I could photograph out the open side window. Fortunately this road doesn’t get a lot of traffic. I took photos while the moose turned to the right, the larger moose leading. It trotted off the road, down an embankment, and into the woods, followed by the slightly smaller moose. Both moose had erected the hair on the backs of their necks, their manes, and they looked big and beautiful.

The Moose exit Sabattis Road in Long Lake, NY on May 3, 2015.

The Moose exit Sabattis Road in Long Lake, NY on May 3, 2015.

Once the moose had passed into the woods, we drove to the spot where they had entered the woods and I got out to see if I could find them. But no, they had vanished, leaving only a few tracks in the sand on the side of the road.
Wow, that was awesome! I thought that the moose were both yearlings, out on their own for the first time. But after we got home and I examined the photos, I think that the larger moose, the one that led the way down the road and into the woods, was a cow, and the smaller moose was either its yearling calf or possibly a two year old calf. I don’t know how large a moose calf grows in a year. The younger moose was almost as tall as the cow, but much more slender in body build. Also, both moose appeared to be in good health, with full, almost glossy coats of fur, not showing any signs of winter tick infestations which have been plaguing moose populations recently. They also moved on the blacktop road easily, as if they were accustomed to it. Sometimes when I see deer walk on blacktop, they walk strangely, almost as if they are walking on ice.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for perhaps the best birthday present ever! Early May is such a great time to be out in the wild world looking for and celebrating all forms of life.

Ellie George

Fawns, Do Not Disturb the Wildlife

DEC Urges New Yorkers Not To Disturb Fawns and Other Young Wildlife

New Yorkers should keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today cautioned.

It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal.

Young wildlife quickly venture into the world on shaky legs or fragile wings. While most are learning survival from one or both parents, some normally receive little or no care. Often, wild animal parents stay away from their young when people are near. For all of these young animals, the perils of survival are a natural part of life in the wild.

White-tailed deer fawns present a good example of how human intervention with young wildlife can be problematic. Most fawns are born during late May and the first half of June. While fawns are able to walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still. During this period a fawn is also usually left alone by the adult female (doe) except when nursing. People occasionally find a lone fawn and mistakenly assume it has been orphaned or abandoned, which is very rare. Fawns should never be picked up. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to nurse.

A fawn’s best chance to survive is by being raised by the adult doe. Fawns nurse three to four times a day, usually for less than 30 minutes at a time, but otherwise the doe keeps her distance. This helps reduce the chance that she will attract a predator to the fawn. The fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless all help it avoid detection by predators and people.

By the end of its second week, a fawn begins to move about more and spend more time with the doe. It also begins to eat grass and leaves. At about ten weeks of age, fawns are no longer dependent on milk, although they continue to nurse occasionally into the fall. During August, all deer begin to grow their winter coat and fawns lose their spots during this process.

Should you find a fawn or other young wildlife, If You Care, Leave It There. In nearly all cases that is the best thing for the animal. DO NOT consider young wildlife as possible pets. This is illegal and is bad for the animal. Wild animals are not well suited for life in captivity and they may carry diseases that can be given to people. Resist the temptation to take them out of the wild. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit the DEC website at: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6956.html.

Big Fish Ice Fish

Raquette Lake, NY Big Fish

Photo by Rachel Pohl

Big Fish caught in Raquette Lake, NY on February 23, 2011. Weighing in at 17 pounds and 37 inches. Based on many facebook comments and deduction crowd consensus labels this a Lake Trout. Or a Monster. Congrats to local Long Laker Mike Lance for making the venture. Common questions.. how big was his auger? How did the tip ups not fall into the lake?

Mama Bear & Her Three Babies

BearsLong Lake, NY has four residents that have been visiting various neighborhoods in late August and September. Mama and her four babies have been spotted on Tarbell Hill Road in the trees at the Lustberg House, on Route 28N behind Mike & Patty Farrells home, over on South Hill Rd and in downtown Long Lake near Hoss’s. Lot’s of reports and spottings come in. Descriptions of Mama mostly mention her communication with interlopers, it generally sounds like a scratchy barking noise.

I invited a friend up to Long Lake, he works at the Intrepid Museum in NYC and he had the distinct honor of an introduction to the animals up in a tree. One of the cubs held still with his soft brown face perched over the evergreens. Mama Bear merely a silhouette in the tree, but her crackly bark intimidated him to back up carefully to the car. He was a bit nervous when I insisted we climb the Pinnacle, a beautiful vista at the top of the hill that the bears had obviously been marching around for several weeks. Didn’t see any bear scat on our journey and I told him to make a lot of noise and make himself look bigger than the bear if we stumbled upon them. The main thing, not to get between Mama and her babies. Word in the mountains has it that bears are much more agressive than they used to be, so it is best to use caution.

I recommend a visit to the Dacks before hibernation season, you never know when you may stumble upon wildlife. Like deer in the backyard, a heron on the pond and of course Mama and her three babies paying homage at the cemetery.

Long Lake