Where the Birds Are: Adirondack Birding Guide Points the Way
For the Adirondack Birder in Your Family, This Guide is the Perfect Christmas Gift
Two of the Adirondack Park’s region’s most skilled birders collaborated on this comprehensive guidebook to birding hot spots in the region.’
John M.C. Peterson of Elizabethtown and Gary N. Lee of Inlet drew on decades of experience in selecting the sites described in Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds, published by Lost Pond Press ($20.95, softcover, 240 pages).
The book is being distributed by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), the Park’s largest environmental organization, with 30,000 members.
John Kettlewell, ADK’s publications and marketing director said, “Like ADK’s line of hiking guidebooks and maps, Adirondack Birding provides all the information needed to find trails and locations that are great birding hot spots.”
Birders will be able to use the guidebook to search for the Park’s most-coveted species, including boreal birds not found in the state outside the Adirondacks as well as uncommon winter visitors and rare migrants.
“It’s the indispensable guide to birding in the Adirondacks by two of the best birders around,” said John Thaxton, the “Birdwatch” columnist for the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. “Beautifully designed and illustrated.”
Adirondack Birding contains 46 color photographs of wild birds taken by Jeff Nadler, one of the region’s premier bird photographers. They include the Park’s boreal species, such as the Bicknell’s thrush, gray jay, rusty blackbird and spruce grouse, and other birds of interest, such as the bald eagle and common loon. The book also has more than 90 black-and-white photos of birds and landscapes. Many of the landscape shots were taken by Carl Heilman II, one of the Park’s most celebrated photographers.
Other features include a history of Adirondack birding, tips on finding boreal birds, an Index of Birds, and hand-drawn maps by Matthew Paul, a Saranac Lake artist. The site chapters not only list resident birds, but they also include records of rare sightings (such as the yellow-nosed albatross that flew over Crown Point in 1984).
Peterson, the longtime regional editor of The Kingbird, an ornithological journal, and Lee, a retired forest ranger, have been birding in the Adirondacks since the 1960s. Both contributed to the Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, published by Cornell University Press in 1988, as well as its successor, which was scheduled to be released in December.
In 2004, the authors collaborated on Birds of Hamilton County, N.Y., a brochure that lists all the species observed in the county, with dates and locations. Peterson also has authored or edited similar compilations for Franklin and Essex counties.
But both saw a need for a guidebook that covered the whole 6-million-acre Park and that offered detailed descriptions of sites and their birding potential.
“Hardly a day passes without someone posting a query on birding chat lines asking for directions or suggestions,” Peterson said. “Where’s this Noblewood place? Any good birding spots near Lake Placid? How do I find a gray jay? Adirondack Birding has the answers.”
“The book will show people many of the great places in the Adirondacks to see birds, including some sites few know about,” Lee said. “It should take pressure off some of the more popular areas.”
Most of the 60-plus sites described in the book are in the Champlain Valley, the High Peaks or the boreal lowlands in the northwestern Adirondacks, as these are the places that attract the species of most interest to birders. However, there are some in the vicinity of Lake George, including Tongue Mountain, the Washington County Grasslands and Ticonderoga Marsh.
Lee, who authored the Tongue Mountain chapter, notes that more than a dozen species of warbler have been observed on the peak. He also recommends that birders take a canoe trip down Northwest Bay Brook. “Along the brushy banks before the marsh are Gray Catbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers, and Warbling, Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos,” he writes. “In the marsh, look for Great Blue Heron, Least Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Mallard, Hooded and Common Mergansers, Merlins nesting in the nearby pines, and White-throated, Song, and Swamp Sparrows.”
Other sites in the southern Adirondacks include the Northville-Placid Trail near Wells, the Powley-Piseco Road, the West Branch of the Sacandaga River, and Pillsbury Mountain.
Adirondack Birding may be purchased in stores or on the Lost Pond and ADK websites.
Lost Pond Press also is the publisher of Within a Forest Dark by Michael Virtanen, an award-winning mystery novel set on Lake George, and Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of writings by one of the nation’s most important wilderness advocates. ADK is the publisher of more than 30 hiking, paddling, skiing, and snowshoeing guidebooks and maps, including the best selling Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region.