Our 2014 Adirondack Trip
June 27 to July 1, 2014

(pictures by Kelli and Michael Bochnik)

This was planned as both a relaxing vacation and a birding trip. I think we accomplished both.

Friday

We left after rush hour; many people had the same idea. The New York State Thruway was backed up for two and a half miles to the Tappan Zee Bridge, so we cut out some of the backup by using Route 119. Once we were past exit 15, the traffic was far better. Our first mini stop was at Exit 18, the New Paltz exit to see if the Purple Martin colony was still there. It was but only consisted of two houses.

Back on the road we traveled up the thruway and onto the Adirondack Northway. Lunch was at a Cracker Barrel in Clifton Park, exit 9. This town needs to get its act together. There is no traffic planning here. It took us over 15 minutes to get back on the highway even though the restaurant is right next to the exit. We made a note not to stop in Clifton Park again!

The ride was uneventful the rest of the way to exit 30 and we were now in the 6.1 million acre park, the largest state or national park in the lower 48 states.

We stopped along Route 73 to view and photograph the Roaring Brook Falls. It had recently rained so the flow was up and we could even hear the falls from the road.


Roaring Brook Falls

We birded by car along Hulls Falls Road but it was late in the day and not much was out.

We arrived at our favorite place to stay in the high peaks/Lake Placid area, The Placid Bay Inn. It has a variety of suites, some with mini kitchens, a pool with fantastic views of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain, walking distance to some great restaurants, and even canoes to take out onto the lake.

We decided to rest and have dinner at a great new restaurant across the street called Pan Dolce.

We started with drinks, Key Lime Pie-Tini for Kelli and a Whiteface Mounds for me. And yes, the drinks tasted like a Key Lime Pie and a Mounds candy bar.

We shared the appetizer Charcuterie - Aged Italian meats paired with assorted imported cheeses, homemade fruit marmalade and sliced baguette.

Kelli ordered the Grilled Eggplant - Garlic and olive oil rubbed eggplant medallions topped with roasted tomato and olive salsa and served over dolce spiced potatoes and asparagus. I had the Rainbow Trout Wrapped in prosciutto - cracked black pepper, pan seared and topped with roasted tomato and olive salsa, served with Dolce spiced potatoes and asparagus. Both were excellent choices. The appetizer filled us up so we took half of our entrees back to the room.

 

Kelli was full but I finished the meal with a pear and raspberry tart.

Saturday

We woke up early at 5:30 and after a quick breakfast at a McDonalds in Saranac Lake we headed to the expansive Bloomingdale Bog. We took the snowmobile trail heading south from Country Road 55, actually an old railroad bed that cuts through the bog. White Admirals (a butterfly) were everywhere. We soon saw Common Yellowthroats, Magnolia and Nashville Warblers, heard Lincolns Sparrows, Red breasted Nuthatches and Palm Warblers singing. We got views of them later on. A Broad-winged Hawk buzzed by overhead being chased by an American Kestrel.


Common Yellowthroat

Our first boreal bird was a male Black-backed Woodpecker which was later joined by a female.

 
Black-backed Woodpecker

Black-backed Woodpecker, female

As we approached the small bridge crossing a stream I heard the distinctive call of a Gray Jay. Soon a parent and a juvenile bird found us. We had some peanuts with us and each bird flew onto our hands for some free food.

 
Immature Gray Jay

Immature Gray Jay
 
Gray Jay

Gray Jay

We made it to the bridge and went a little further and found another female Black-backed Woodpecker along with Alder Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwings, Swamp Sparrow and Black-and White Warbler.

 

On our way back out we found that the pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers was joined by another female, making it 4 for the day. Closer to our car we found some Red Squirrels chasing each other through the trees.

We crossed the road and explored the northern section. We ran across an American Redstart and a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail which looks very similar to our Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. We tried to bird Bigalow Road by car but turned back due to some huge puddles covering the entire road.

 
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

White Admiral

We stopped in at The Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC) and found more Red Squirrels. In the Butterfly House we found a Viceroy, Common Ringlet and a few Pink-edged Sulphurs. On our way out near the entrance we saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly across the road.

 
Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Pink-edged Sulphur

Pink-edged Sulphur

Viceroy 

Common Ringlet

We had a late lunch on the way back at Tail O' The Pup BBQ in Ray Brook. It is must stop for those visiting this area.

   
Fried Pickles
 
Clam Chowder

The rest of the day we relaxed back at the resort, ate our leftovers from last night for dinner and played miniature golf at Boots and Birdies just down the road from our resort.

 

Sunday

We slept in and had breakfast at Pan Dolce. This is fast becoming our favorite restaurant in Lake Placid.

We decided to head back to the VIC and hike some trails. We chose the Heron Marsh Trail. We came across a couple of American Toads along with a Green Frog that jumped out of a puddle in the middle of the trail. We sat for a while along the pond enjoying the quiet and beauty of the place.  We watched a Broad-winged Hawk soar over our heads and watched a Northern Harrier cruise along the shore, being chased by a Red-winged Blackbird. We lingered on the floating bridge across the pond taking pictures of the lily pads and dragonflies, mostly Chalk-fronted Corporals. In the woods we found a few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers including one going in and out of a nest hole in a tree.

 
Green Frog

American Toad
 
Chalk-fronted Corporal

Chalk-fronted Corporal
 
Muskrat

We spent time near a bridge where Ebony Jewelwings were dancing and chasing each other along the water. Birds included Palm Warblers, Lincolns Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warbler and both Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos.

 
Ebony Jewelwing 
 
Ebony Jewelwing
 
Palm Warbler

Blue Flag
 
Lincoln's Sparrow

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Lunch was at a hotdog stand at Route 86 and Route 30 where I tried a Michigan Dog. I found out later it is a particular favorite in the North Country of New York State, and is similar to a chilldog. Michigan Sauce is a meaty sauce usually tomato based.


We were not meanies

Kelli had seen a bakery near our resort and we stopped by for some cupcakes at Cake Placid. They were nearly as good as Avaís Cupcakes in New Jersey.

We relaxed at the pool in the afternoon and had dinner in town at Generations. It has views of Mirror Lake and we could watch people sail boarding and practicing swimming for the triathlon.

Kelli had the Atlantic Salmon ~ Pan seared salmon with a creamy dill & lemon sauce and I had the Generations Crab Cake ~ Jumbo lump crab cake served on a bed of spinach with cajun remoulade & a shrimp skewer. We skipped dessert and did some shopping along the main street in Lake Placid. We capped the night off later with a walk from our room to the ice-cream stand for a banana split and a hot fudge sundae.

Monday

We woke up early for the long ride to Inlet, New York and Ferdís Bog, the place where I proposed to Kelli eight years ago. This famous bog is known in the birding world as a great spot for boreal species. On the drive we saw a few Common Ravens along the road and a couple of Wild Turkeys. We had great luck here with two more Gray Jays, two Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Olive Sided Flycatchers, Purple Finch (now seemingly rare downstate) and two Boreal Chickadees. The bog had numerous carnivorous plants with plenty of Pitcher Plants and Sundews

 
Boreal Chickadee 

Appalachian Brown
 
Sundew
Insects get stuck on the sticky globules and the plant absorbs them

Gray Jay on the floating boardwalk   

We had Breakfast for Lunch at our favorite Inlet restaurant, the Tamarac Inn; followed by shopping in the quaint shops in town. On our way back we stopped for more cupcakes.

For our last dinner we headed over to the Hungry Trout in Wilmington; one of the finest restaurants in the Adirondacks. It overlooks The Flume, a massive waterfall along the Ausable River. They gave us the best table in the house.

We started with their outstanding House Smoked Rainbow Trout. I tried their ribs with homemade barbeque sauce, best sauce I ever had. Kelli had the Maple Glazed Atlantic Salmon with maple wasabi and soy reduction. I tried their White Chocolate Mousse dessert in a almond shell. After dinner we walked over The Flume and to a beaver pond in the back. We found four active Great Blue Heron nests. It was getting dark so we pledged to stop by in the morning on our way home.

 

Tuesday

We slept in, finished packing and had breakfast nearby at Saranac Sourdough. This little restaurant makes great French toast and sandwiches from their own variety of fresh baked breads.

We stopped in town for some last minute shopping then headed over to Wilmington to view the Great Blue Heron nests in better light. I took a spotting scope to get great views, pictures and video of the nests. A few people passed by and we let them view the birds through the scope. 

Finally it was time to head home. We stopped for lunch in Keene Valley at the Noon Mark Diner and had terrible service and ok burgers. We never have luck in this place. Unfortunately there isnít much else around here. Next time we will do the hotdog stand just before getting on the Northway; the service is so bad here.

It was a long 6 hour trip home

We hope you enjoyed our trip report and pictures.

To read more of Kelli and Mikeís Trip reports visit: http://www.bochnik.com

Comments: E-mail Michael at bochnikm@cs.com