A Fools Errand For Fools Hen

*There are no pictures for this post and you’ll have to read why!  Also spell check isn’t working, so if you see an error please let me know here.  Thanks!

I made yet another Adirondack trip with Corey from 10,000 Birds and two other birders, Jory and Tom all of us from the Albany, New York area.

I picked Corey and Jory up at Corey’s apartment at 4am on Saturday.  From there we went west and met Tom at the Amsterdam Thruway interchange and from there we headed north into the Adirondacks and arrived at our first destination shortly before 6am.

Our first stop was a gate to a religious camp just off Rt. 30 in Speculator.  A Tennessee Warbler had been reported from this location and all of us had missed this bird in migration.  We searched the area for about half and hour and found many common birds, but no warbler.

Our next stop was in Franklin County (of course after breakfast at Stewarts!) at a place called Spring Pond Bog.  Now this bog, which is massive, is owned by the Nature Conservancy.  However all the access to the bog is in private hands.  This means you need to obtain permission to even get to the bog (which we did).  We arrived at the gate and made our way to the bog, passing some really neat habitat and an abandoned town.  Tom gave us a history of the place as his uncle has a camp in the area and as a kid he used to visit the area frequently.  The reason for going through all the trouble?  ‘Fools Hen’ or Spruce Grouse.  Spring Pond Bog is one of the last remaining strong holds in New York State.  By some estimates there may be fewer than 400 birds left in the State.  We knew our chances were not good, but we had to try.

We hiked through the woods, which is a remarkable bit of Boreal habitat.  No Grouse.  We proceeded up and Esker (A glacial mound) and then across the boardwalk which goes along part of the bog.  No boreal birds were found, although Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Nashville Warbler kept us company.  We followed up along the Esker, taking in some spectacular views of the bog, which is several hundred acres large.  We made it to the end of the short trail and found nothing.  On the way back we were treated to a view close looks at Pine Siskin and a very brighly colored Palm Warbler paid us a visit.

We were still missing nearly all of the boreal birds and made our way from there to Paul Smith’s, when the rain came.  It rained and rained, stopped briefly, then rained again, harder.  A brief stop at Paul Smith’s where there had been no recent sightings of any of our target birds.

We had lunch at Gus’ Corner Diner somewhere between Paul Smiths and Saranac Lake (near the road to Rainbow Lake).  If you like food that isn’t good, but cheap this is the place for you!  We were all starving and you know what, it tasted great.

We hit Bloomingdale Bog and Bigelow Road, Oregon Plains Road, Moose Pond and didn’t find a dang thing.  The rain was steady and heavy (hence no pictures, I didn’t want to take the camera out).  After striking out everywhere (we did have a medium sized woodpecker at Moose Pond, turned out to be a Hairy Woodpecker).  We made the long drive from Bloomingdale to Cranberry Lake in St. Lawrence County.  It poured almost the entire way.  We made a brief stop near Sevey Corners where we were treated to a family of Common Ravens.  We arrived at Cranberry Lake and our cozy motel accomodations, where we effectively quit for the night.

We had dinner a local restaurant off the main drag that Tom had heard about.  The Windfall Inn & Bar.  In a strange twist of events, the owners knew Corey growing up, adding to our already long and somewhat strange day.  The food however was good.  We returned to the hotel totaled up the day’s bird (67 species all total) set the alarm for 3:30am and got ready for what we hoped would be a better day on Sunday.


One response to “A Fools Errand For Fools Hen

  1. Pingback: Fool Birders

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