The next morning I continued walking and slowly driving ba
ck roads in the area, but didn't have any luck, depite Matt's excellent help. Crossbills are tricky because they have somewhat nomadic tendencies, and although you can go where they might be (they feed on pine cones), that doesn't mean you'll see them.
My last stop of the trip was in New Paltz. I had emailed Christine Guarino, who had reported Red Headed Woodpecker in the area. Red-Heads were much more common as recently as five years ago, but have been in serious decline, and now they take some effort to see. Just as I drove up to New Paltz, wondering exactly where to find the bird, Christine called me and offered to come out and point them out. It's just another example of the amazing generosity that I've seen from birders all over the state.
While I was waiting I got some shots of a kettle of Black Vulture that were soaring overhead...Christine says they are local residents. She drove up and showed me where to scan for the woodpecker, and withing a couple of minutes I'd picked out a distant bird with a bright red head and white tail...bingo! Christine confirmed it, although it flew off before I got a photos (ANOTHER bird I need to go back to get a good shot of). We drove down the road and scanned some Canada Geese for anything unusual, and then I headed back down the Thruway to Brooklyn, my first Northern trip of the year a definite success.