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Southern Adirondack Audubon Society

Protecting the environment through the preservation of natural habitats
 and the advancement of environmental education


Birding Hudson Crossing Park 
Schuylerville, Saratoga County, NY

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Hudson Crossing entrance gates

    Hudson Crossing Park (HCP) is operated by a nonprofit organization of the same name although the land itself is owned by several entities including the NYS Canal Corporation, the Towns of Northumberland and Saratoga, the Village of Schuylerville, and the NYS Museum. Close cooperation and in-kind support from those organizations have made this park a reality. The Dix Bridge over the Hudson, closed to vehicles for many years, saw many partners help raise the funds to rehabilitate it as a walking and biking bridge. In addition to the property owners, many other groups help with maintenance and programming in the park; some of those are Saratoga National Historical park, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Schuylerville Public Library, and the Schuylerville School District.

    The park currently consists of about 50 acres, with most of the land lying between the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal leading to Lock C-5. The nonprofit HCP was formed in 2005, although the work of creating the park from neglected land was begun in the late 1990s.  The park lands consist of riverfront, open fields, a wooded ridge between the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal, and brushy areas along the canal - all habitats that will support a great mix of avian species.  There are a pollinator garden, a play area, and a canoe launch as well.  The name of the park comes from the fact that this location has long been a place for crossing the river because it is quite narrow there.  Perhaps the most famous crossing to take place was the Bridge of Boats, by means of which the British Army crossed near today’s Dix Bridge on its way to the Battles of Saratoga. But Native Americans crossed here before that, and remnants of trolley and railroad bridges still exist in the park.


The Hudson Crossing Park Bird Species List

Directions

From the north, head south on Rt.4 from the Village of Ft. Edward.  Continue across the steel deck bridge, then turn left to continue on RT4 towards the village of Schuylerville.  Turn left ontoCounty Rt42 where you see signs for Canal Lock 5.  Continue on this road past the lock until you see the wrought iron Hudson Crossing gates.  The parking area is on your right. 

From the south, go north on Rt.4 from the Village of Schuylerville.  Turn right on County Rt42 where you see signs for Canal Lock 5.  Continue on this road past the lock until you see the wrought iron Hudson Crossing gates.  The parking area is on your right.


Viewing Deck on the Hudson
This viewing deck provides a nice spot to rest
with a great view of the Hudson.

Bridge and view upriver
The walking bridge over the Hudson provides
a place to view migrating waterfowl.

Wooded trail
Both the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal
can be seen from the wooded ridgrail.
            

Birding Hudson Crossing Park

You will be surrounded by birdsong on a Spring  morning in this park, whether along the river trail or on the wooded ridge trail that leads to the point near the dam.  Warblers move through on their way north; thirteen species have been recorded so far and with more intense birding in the future the list is sure to grow.  Magnolia, Blackpoll, Northern Parula, Tennessee, and Black-and-white are among those that have been seen here.  Vireos are active as well;  Warbling, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated all stay to nest and Blue-headed has been seen in migration.  Five flycatchers - Least, Eastern Phoebe, Great-crested, Eastern Wood-Peewee and Eastern Kingbird - return in Spring to take advantage of the many emerging insects in this wetland habitat.  Watch for the Osprey pair to return - they nest on one of the large abandoned cement pilings in the river.  Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfisher will return to the river as well.  Keeping an eye on the sky should give you views of migrating raptors and Turkey Vultures.  

During summer look for fledgling birds of many species.  Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and wrens seem to be everywhere and it is a good time to study the young birds, many of which have yet to learn fear of humans.  Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows nest in the boxes provided and can be studied from the covered pavilion near the play area.  Gray Catbirds are numerous as expected and seem to scold you from every trailside shrub as they search for insects to feed their growing nestlings.  See if you can find all six of the local woodpeckers - Downy, Hairy, Pileated, yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker and Red-bellied.  Baltimore Orioles and Scarlet Tanagers supply a flash of color if you keep your eyes on the treetops.  If you walk to the end of the ridge trail overlooking the dam you should see swallows over the water flying gracefully as they feed on the wing. There is plenty of shade on the ridge trail and even on a hot summer day an early morning visit will reward you with the flute-like song of the Wood Thrush.

Fall is a great time to visit the park.  Southbound migration is underway and many species not seen at other times can be found then.  Warblers missed in the Spring may very well be seen in fall; Kinglets move through as well.  Sparrows always seem to be more numerous in fall - perhaps it is the addition of this-year's juveniles heading south for the first time.  Blackbirds and Canada Geese will begin to flock up in readiness for moving out to a warmer climate.

Winter hosts many resident favorites such as Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal and noisy Blue Jays.  Dark-eyed Junco will have returned from summer breeding grounds.  Because the water most often does not freeze below the dam this is a great area for waterfowl to congregate.   The bridge offers a good spot to set up a scope to study ducks and geese as they feed.  Where there is open water there may be Bald Eagles - they have been sighted here, so check all the trees along the riverbank carefully!


We know this location hosts many species not yet observed, so if you have any
additions to this list, please send us the species name, your name,
 and the date the bird was observed.



Open field for bluebirds and swallows
Open areas provide good habitat for Eastern Bluebirds and
ree Swallows to raise their young.