Sunday, January 24, 2010

Red Crossbills, Schoharie county

My wife and I drove around Schoharie County on Sunday from 10AM-2PM. On the way down Rt. 30, at the creek crossing in Middleburgh, we had at least one Common Merganser in the water, with some Mallards, and one Belted Kingfisher watching the action overhead from a wire. Farther down the road a Merlin flew directly above us.

At Max V. Shaul SP, it was quiet at first, except for a female Pileated Woodpecker who flew over and perched. When we finally heard a lone nuthatch, we decided to "pish" to see if we could bring anything in. Well, that was the best our efforts have ever worked, as a huge, angry mob (they may have had pitchforks and torches) of chickadees, titmice, both nuthatches and creepers showed up all around us, sounding off their displeasure. We moved on, leaving the angry villagers behind.

Up the hill in Burnt-Rossman Hills SF, we ran into my namesake, Tom Williams, of Berne, who was staking out the intersection at Huckleberry Kingdom Rd. He gave us a quick education on the local habitat, and very soon a pair of male Red Crossbills flew into the top of a nearby deciduous tree. Their color, bill shape (of course) and song are quite distinctive. There was also a very large congregation of American Goldfinches feeding in the pines. Thanks Tom for your friendly guidance.

Over in Sharon Springs we had a flock of 17 Wild Turkeys, and a Cooper's Hawk flew overhead along Rt. 10. Despite being in agricultural environs much of the day, we encountered no roadside flocks of buntings or larks.


  1. Loved your description of the "angry mob"!

  2. Thanks, Ellen. Even after we stopped pishing, they kept getting louder, and more birds kept arriving. I felt bad for starting a riot. Thanks for reading this stuff, BTW. You may be the only one.