Some of the best birding in the country is in the Adirondacks and especially in the vast wilderness which the Elk Lake preserve is central to. There are two professional birders in the Adirondacks who know every inch of this terrain and how to find the rare species within it. They can be booked in advance to take you on exciting adventures through the wilds of Elk Lake or any other part of the Adirondack Park. I have birded with both of them and they are not only top notch birders and professional outdoorsmen but charming and interesting people. They are also professional photographers and the photos included here are taken by them. I asked them to write a small description of the birds found in the Elk Lake Preserve.
Birding at Elk Lake Lodge
The last time we went birding at Elk Lake, Pat told me to stop immediately because she heard wood ducks calling directly overhead, so we parked and walked over to Clear Pond, a small pond just past the beginning of Elk Lake Road. Sure enough, a pair of wood ducks in spectacular late spring plumage. The ducks swam casually by perhaps forty feet from us, and as we wondered at their surreally beautiful colors and their reflections in the mirror-smooth pond, we heard the high frequency call of a Blackburnian warbler close by on our left. It didn't take us more than a minute to find the Blackburnian warbler, and as soon as we did we heard an ovenbird holding forth at high volume with its aggressive, fiercely territorial teacher-teacher-teacher. We saw another six species on the ten-minute drive to the lodge and heard four others, only to pull up and hear the haunting tremolos of a common loon if you'll excuse the adjective "common."
John & Pat Thaxton, Principals of Adirondack Birding Tours
Beautiful Elk Lake Lodge offers guests over 45 miles of hiking trails in a remote, peaceful wilderness. Bird life abounds in a variety of habitats that includes boreal, mixed, and high elevation balsam fir forests, bogs, wetlands, and lakes. Northern New York is the best place to visit in North America to see and hear nesting warbler species. Nearly 30 species breed in northern NY, most of which can be found amid the 12,000 acres of Elk Lake Lodge including Blackpoll Warblers that nest at higher elevations and the lovely Canada Warbler that favors wet, bushy areas. Look for the elusive Bicknell's Thrush in elevations over 3,000 feet with balsam fir habitat. The sought-after trinity of Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee are found in boreal habitat areas. The haunting call of the Common Loon can be heard echoing across Elk Lake and Clear Pond. Listen for the captivating, flute-like song of the Hermit Thrush, purported to be the most beautiful bird song in North America! Owls, Hawks, Flycatchers, Vireos, Thrushes, Wrens, Finches and many more can all be found at Elk Lake Lodge!
President, NYS Ornithological Association
cell (315) 244-7127 home (518) 624-5528