Muskrat at Vischer Ferry, 4/06

After some unplanned Friday birding with my niece, Raven, that featured four species of woodpecker in my sister’s backyard, Daisy and I decided to do a snerklefork (our word for picnic) and birding expedition at Vischer Ferry on Saturday.

Vischer Ferry is a marvelous preserve at the southern end of Saratoga County, bordered on the south by the Mohawk River. The wetlands and woodlots hold a plethora of possibilities in terms of avians but in the cold it was mildly disappointing. Not that we didn’t see birds, and some good ones at that.

My first of the year in New York Blue-winged Teal were present as were Hooded Mergansers, Green-winged Teal, a solitary drake Wood Duck, Great Blue Herons, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Song Sparrows. The rattling call of a Belted Kingfisher allowed us to track it down and Muskrats like the one on the top of the post were easily viewable. Lots of American Robins fed in the grassy spots and an Eastern Phoebe had enough energy to pump its tail so some birds were doing okay in the unseasonable cold.

first of the year in New York!

Blue-winged Teal and Mallard

We were really looking for a certain type of bird that I have sworn not to mention until I see one in a local patch this year and came away disappointed and cold. But a trip to the video store for Blood Diamonds and Volver (both were pretty good) and a late afternoon and evening of vegging-out watching movies and eating junk food together cheered us up immensely.


some of the remaining sumac berries that birds are eating…I’ll stick with chips

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.