Great Summer Marsh Birding!
If you are the type of birder who loves to explore marshes and wetlands, then the St. Lawrence Valley in summer may be heaven on earth. After all, the valley is loaded with wetlands - such as those in Robert Moses State Park or others along the river north of Malone - and birders who explore them can return home with a long list of species. These include Great Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail, Common Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Red-winged Blackbird, Swamp Sparrow, Marsh Wren, Pied-billed Grebe, and Wilson's Snipe. Swallows - like Tree and Barn - course low over the water and in places near their colonies, Cliff and Bank Swallows can occur in large numbers.
Fields, Woodlots, and Boreal Birds
Barn and Tree Swallows are also quite common feeding over the fields which compose so much of the St. Lawrence Valley around Malone. These same fields provide habitat for birds like Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Eastern Bluebird, Killdeer, Savannah Sparrow, American Kestrel, and Red-tailed Hawk, among others.
The fields and marshes create lots of little woodlots and edge habitats which birders can also scour for an assortment of species. And so their lists often contain Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Wood Thrush, Veery, Black-billed Cuckoo, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Great Crested and Willow Flycatchers. In some places birders might also find Golden-winged Warbler, a species of conservation concern which nests in the St. Lawrence Valley - particularly further west in the valley.
And if you are a birder who wishes to find loads of other warblers, then a trip south to the Olympic Region and the Adirondacks may be in your future. Twenty species of warblers nest in the Olympic Region alone, many of them in the boreal coniferous habitats preferred by other exciting species - like Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. There are many such boreal sites to explore, one of which is California Road and its splendid boreal habitat - sitting a short distance south of Malone.
Late Summer Diversity
But even as the warm, long summer days lazily drift along and we sip lemonade in the shade, they do not last forever. By mid-summer things begin to change. Little by little our birds complete nesting and become increasingly quiet. Warblers and other songbirds begin to group up looking for food in post-breeding flocks. Migrating shorebirds - like Stilt Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, and Black-bellied Plovers - begin to stop by on their way from the arctic, and any mudflat, flooded field, or marsh edge is worth checking for them.