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Help with Eastern USA hit list (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Forgot to add, Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, and Veery should be possible almost anywhere in NY, though the grouse would take some luck. Veerys will be quiet but still around, worth learning their contact calls. Check any field-woodland edges in the countryside for Wild Turkey.


Speak softly and carry a long lens
Eastern Towhee is a "backyard bird" throughout the east, though it's a bit of a solitary brush-lurker, so not necessarily as effortless as, say, common grackle. Call it a 1.5 (I'd put Brown Thrasher in the same category.) They do come to feeders, though, which reminds me:

In the US there is a loose network of volunteer Audubon Societies which can be a valuable source of local knowledge. Many of the local clubs own and maintain small properties, scattered almost everywhere, with nest boxes, feeders, and sometimes blinds. Chances are the folks you'll meet at these places have been birding for thirty years and can tell you exactly which tree the screech-owls are nesting in this year. Something to consider when planning rest stops along your route. Google maps will find them if you "search nearby" for "Audubon". (Also try "bird sanctuary".)

Overall, if you're set on Niagara then I think you'll enjoy the Adirondacks which are more-or-less along the way. Driving up Whiteface (as early in the morning as possible) for boreal species is a great idea.

From your original target list I'd be tempted to fly someplace more southerly (Washington DC? ) and drive in a loop that takes in both the coast and the Appalachians. You won't like the airfares for that idea, though.
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Well-known member
In addition to the PMs I sent you... As the time of your trip gets closer remind me and I will check again. I know a few specific spots around here where Screech and Barred Owls frequent... but not solidly year round, so I can confirm if they are being seen there or not at that time. Towhees are rather common but sometimes stay hidden in the underbrush... but are a easier to come across then Brown Thrashers.

Side note: I'm in NJ... So believe me, I wrote the book on toll frustration. Often comes into play when deciding to chase a rarity that shows up in NY.
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Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Thanks again all. I'll check those places out on ebird, and see if I can piece together a possible route. And yes, info closer to the time, concerning where eg owls and whip-poor-will are getting seen would be very useful. :t:

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
I wouldn't sweat the tolls unless you're trying to get through NY City. For example, the toll from Newark Airport to Cape May (145 miles) is only a little over $5. The bridges into Philly are also only $5.

It's the NY bridges and tunnels that'll kill you. The Hudson River crossings are $15 and the Verazzano is $17 (without a New York EZ Pass toll transponder).

And back to birds, Towhees are rather common here in eastern PA.

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
From your original target list I'd be tempted to fly someplace more southerly (Washington DC? ) and drive in a loop that takes in both the coast and the Appalachians. You won't like the airfares for that idea, though.

If it was just me and the birds, it would be different, but for the family it has to include NYC and Niagara, and also (mainly for me) Richmond Virginia, to hook up with an old friend.


Well-known member
Hi Larry.

I'm late spotting this thread. Two words. Cape May. Me and a gaggle of other Brits lived there throughout the Nineties. In fact I was just digitizing some of our old log books this morning. I just glanced at your list briefly and saw at least a dozen familiar names that would be pretty easy on Cape May 'island'. I could add a few others within ten mile radius. Apart from anything else, it's a very pretty place, though a bit on the expensive side (you have to pay to go on the beach!). (My mother and grandmother came on holiday and really liked it - lots of old Victorian architecture, tree-lined streets etc) There's Cold Spring Campground on Cape 'island' itself: breeding Eastern Screech Owl and Wild Turkey within walking distance; and I think Barred Owl now breeding there, though could find out if you were really interested. Should still be one or two Piping Plovers around - they breed, but tend to depart fairly early - Saltmarsh, Seaside and Field Sparrows all breed within 3-4km radius. And so on... Other than that, there is always the chance of migrating Warblers and Waders around, though maybe only 1-2 of the former included in your hit list?

As others have said, August is hot and humid almost anywhere in the States, and you will undoubtedly see a lot more mozzies than birds. Cape May does at least provide some coastal sea-breeze relief from the hot interior - though still very humid compared to what we are used to in UK.

I glanced back at the list and totted up 20-22 birds that would be feasible in a 10-mile radius of Cape May at that time of year, though some, such as Acadian Flycatcher, wouldn't necessarily be that easy on your own at that stage of the breeding cycle - indeed the same goes for Owls and Whip-poor-wills, for example, that may not be calling. I've seen migrant Veeries at Cape May by late August in some years - though again, there'll just be the odd one or two; not guaranteed.
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