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Southern Adirondack Audubon Society

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


Birding Spring Run Trail
in the city of Saratoga Springs,  Saratoga County, NY

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Spring Run Trail underpass sign

The Spring Run Trail is a one-mile handicapped accessible walking, running, and biking trail. Dogs are allowed on-leash.  The trail follows the old Saratoga-Schuylerville Railroad.  As such, it is straight and flat making it an easy walk while providing a nice transect through young forest, wetlands, and the namesake stream. Spring Run meanders back and forth along the trail as it makes its way to Lake Lonely.  It is owned and maintained by the city of Saratoga Springs, which plows and sands it in the winter, making it a year-round birding destination. 

  The Spring Run Trail Bird Species List


Directions

From the North:
From Exit 15 off the Northway continue on to NY 29 Truck/Route 50 for 0.9 miles.  Turn left onto East Avenue.  In 0.2 miles, after crossing Excelsior Avenue trailhead parking will be on the left.

From the South:
From Exit 14 off the Northway continue on NY 9P N/Union Avenue for 1.1 miles.  Turn right onto East Avenue.  In 1 mile parking will be on your right.

If using your GPSr, enter 98 East Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 for trailhead and parking.

Paved trail
A portion of the paved Spring Run Trail.

Spring Run after a hard rain.
Spring Run the day after a hard rain.

The boardwalk
A boardwalk through the marsh is nice for for viewing the wetland.
          

Birding Spring Run Trail

Located within the city boundaries, this is a popular trail for walkers (with and without dogs), runners, and the occasional biker.  Its accessibility, as well as the combination of upland and wetland habitats makes it a good spot to bird year-round.  Birds that would be expected here on nearly every walk would include Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Cardinal.

With the arrival of spring begin looking for the return of Great Blue Herons in the backwaters at the beginning of the trail or in the marsh at the boardwalk near the end of the trail.  In the forest, the year-round woodpeckers, including the Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and Pileated may be joined by Northern Flicker and the occasional Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  Eastern Phoebe will be heard calling their name, as will their family member, the Eastern Wood-Pewee.  As you walk along the boardwalk, the Red-winged Blackbirds, which have been observed here every month of the year, will be increasing in numbers as they are joined by Common Grackles.  Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat also return with spring and remain common throughout the summer.

The heat of summer will not discourage the Red-eyed Vireo from singing incessantly as you walk the trail. Tree Swallows may be swooping overhead as they forage for flying insects.  Cedar Waxwing observations peak this time of year.  Listen for the flute-like song of the Wood Thrush or the equally beautiful accompaniment of the Veery. As summer comes to a close look overhead for a chance sighting of Common Nighthawk winging their way south in the August skies.

The Canada Geese loudly and in great numbers, announce the arrival of fall, with skeins of hundreds in an asymmetrical V, hinking and honking their way south.  Mallards begin to be seen more regularly in the fall and will remain as long as they can find open water, often by the first bridge crossing.  Insect eating warblers will be leaving their northern breeding grounds.  Mid to late September may yield American Redstart or Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Palm, or Yellow-rumped Warblers. 

In winter, American Robin and Eastern Bluebird will supplement their invertebrate diets with fleshy fruits, feeding in small flocks, or be seen or heard flying overhead.   Carolina Wren will continue foraging along the stream banks for insects and spiders throughout the winter.  A lone Gray Catbird, whose diet is largely fruit in fall and winter, has lingered into December skulking in the shrubs. Dark-eyed Juncos are regular winter visitors,  while Pine Siskins may be seen in numbers some years and absent in others.




Flowers and fruit for birds
Wildflowers and fruits provide food for many species of birds.