Birding

migration time in Malone

Late Summer and Early Fall Birding

Fall migration in the North Country begins during the second half of summer. It is then that shorebirds begin to move out of the arctic, and the flooded fields and waterways of the St. Lawrence Valley can become stopover sites for the likes of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Least, Solitary, Spotted, and Pectoral Sandpipers, as well as many less common species. Many of the best sites for shorebirds sit along wetlands and waterbodies, and the accompanying marshes can be a great place to look in late summer and early fall for Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Virginia Rail, Sora, and both American and Least Bitterns.

An Amazing Diversity of Songbirds

The edge habitats which surround such wetlands are also often great for a medley of migrant songbirds - the mix of which changes daily. Birders can check out any forest, any road, any shrubby, edge habitat and find an assortment which may include species like Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Flicker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Philadelphia, Warbling, Blue-headed, and Red-eyed Vireos, and a litany of warblers. In fact, about 25 species of warblers can be found during fall migration in the North Country, and any trail, any field edge, any forest, and any yard can harbor them as they pass through. This colorful pageant includes everything from Nashville Warbler to Black-throated Blue Warbler to Cape May Warbler to Blackburnian Warbler to Bay-breasted Warbler, but by mid-September many of the warblers have passed through the region.

Those that are left are usually mixed in with other fall species like Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a variety of woodpeckers. And a trip in search of warblers may also bring birders to some of the boreal habitats of the Adirondacks where they can find Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, and Black-backed Woodpecker. Soon enough the warbler diversity gives way to an impressive assortment of sparrows, and birders can check out the fields and field edges for the likes of Song, Swamp, Savannah, White-throated, White-crowned, Chipping, Fox, Vesper, Field, and Dark-eyed Junco. The fields of mid-fall may also be alluring to American Pipits, Horned Larks, and Snow Buntings, while Pine Siskins call on the winds racing overhead.

Raptors on the Move

Many of these songbirds should keep a wary eye open for hunting Northern Shrikes - recently arrived from the north. And shrikes aren't the only predatory bird passing through the area. The raptor migration during the fall is popular with birders all over the continent, and folks can find a suite of predatory birds searching for food on their way south. As such a trip to the St. Lawrence Valley during fall may yield the likes of Merlin, American Kestrel, Cooper's, Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed, and Red-shouldered Hawks, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and Golden Eagle, while species like Rough-legged Hawk arrive in late fall to remain all winter. In fact, birders can find any species found in the northeast winging their way south with cold fronts in their tail feathers.

And hawks aren't the only raptors on the move. Northern Saw-whet Owls migrate through the region during the fall, and Short-eared Owls arrive for a spell to hunt in the fields of the region before pushing further south with the onset of winter. Other species like Great Horned, Barred, and Eastern Screech Owls remain year-round.

Ducks, Grebes, Loons, and... Snow Geese

As fall continues to advance, the St. Lawrence River becomes an incredible magnet for waterfowl and aquatic species of all sorts as thousands of them pack into wildlife management areas, pools, and marshes. Almost any species found in the northeast can be found in these flocks including Ring-necked Duck, both species of scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, and Common Loon. As a result, places like Robert Moses State Park and Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area can offer an amazing diversity of birds.

But even with all of that, the most impressive congregation of water birds may be at the Malone Memorial Recreation Park. While there are usually a few ducks present on the pond, it is the honking throng of geese which blow the minds of onlookers. Thousands of Snow Geese pack the pond - feeding on neighboring fields - and birders can come enjoy both the spectacle and attempt to find a Ross's Goose in their midst. Not to be completely outdone, thousands of Canada Geese can also be found there, and they may hide either a Cackling or Greater White-fronted Goose in their close ranks. The raucous extravaganza lasts until the geese begin to move further south. Their departure marks the beginning of winter and the birding possibilities it brings.

Plan your next migration

Now you've heard our song and we hope our tune has you singing too. Ready to take flight? Search to find the best nest for you and book now to join the rest of the flock in Malone.

E-Newsletter Signup Form

This spot is located just north of Malone where Lower Park Street creates a dog leg with Brand Road where it crosses the Salmon River at... Read More
Jones Pond is a great place for a paddle and it offers excellent birding while you are on the water. Most of the pond’s shoreline is public... Read More
The St. Regis River not only offers phenomenal paddling, but also excellent birding and one of the best places to explore for birds is... Read More
Located near the junction of Routes 26 and 27 in the Town of Duane, Debar Pond offers a quiet birding paddle for anyone interested in... Read More
The landscape around Malone is a bucolic collection of farm fields, wood lots, and hedgerows. Several roads east of town are worth checking... Read More
Drum Street Road cuts from Fort Covington through a series of private fields and hedgerows before it enters the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve.... Read More
The Osgood River takes paddling birders into one of the best boreal habitats in the region. Access to the river comes through Osgood Pond (... Read More
An excellent hike in the northeast Adirondacks, Lyon Mountain should not be skipped by birders either. Birders should follow the new trail... Read More
Owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed in cooperation with the New York State DEC the Everton Falls Preserve east of St. Regis Falls... Read More
One of the recently dubbed Saranac Lake 6ers, St. Regis Mountain is a nice hike with an excellent view of the numerous lakes which compose... Read More
Accessed along Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s, this snowmobile trail in the winter becomes an easy walking path during the... Read More
Like the eastern side of town, Malone’s western end offers good field birding, and birders will do well to drive along Fay County Road (... Read More
The Blue Mountain Road extends off of Keese Mills Road in Paul Smiths. It leads birders through deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and... Read More
Sitting just west of Malone along Route 11, the airport has breeding Killdeer and Savannah Sparrow during the summer. During the fall... Read More
Along the northern end of Blue Mountain Road, Azure Mountain is worth the short, steep climb for the view alone. The fact that it can offer... Read More
Some roads to check around Hogansburg include Frogtown Road to the west of town and Townsend and Beaver Meadow Roads to the east. All roads... Read More
Dexter Road runs between the northern end of Blue Mountain Road and Route 458 in Santa Clara and the small bog along it can be a great stop... Read More
The large lake and its marshy edges can hold species like Common and Hooded Merganser, American Bittern, and Ring-necked Duck. Birders can... Read More
These two roads sit just east of Fort Covington and they pass through fields and shrubby edge habitat. Edge habitat may offer Eastern... Read More