Important Bird Areas

Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve

New York

This site is a large freshwater wetland along the northern edge of
the Mohawk River in Saratoga County. It is popular with birders
because of its easily observed marshes and ponds. The site is primarily
administered by the New York State Thruway Authority, but is leased
and managed by the Town of Clifton Park, with adjoining acreage
owned by the state.

Ornithological Summary

This site contains important wetland habitat with cattail marshes
that support at-risk species, including the American Black Duck
(migration), Pied-billed Grebe (migration), American Bittern
(breeding season), Least Bittern (probable breeder), Osprey (migration),
Northern Harrier (migration), Sharp-shinned Hawk (migration),
Cooper?s Hawk (migration), Common Nighthawk (migration),
Willow Flycatcher (migration), Wood Thrush (probable breeder),
Blue-winged Warbler (migration), Bay-breasted Warbler (migration),
Canada Warbler (migration), and Rusty Blackbird (migration). This
site is particularly important as a concentration area for post-breeding
herons and egrets. In 1991, it hosted 102 Great Blue Herons, 17 Great
Egrets, and one Black-crowned Night-Heron.

Conservation Issues

Water level control is critically needed for this site to continue supporting
the same numbers of wetland bird species it has in the past. The current
master plan recommendations could increase recreational use, which
might negatively impact this site?s avifauna. Positive aspects of the
master plan include suggestions to reduce the non-native vegetation
encroaching on wetlands and acquire additional lands nearby. Plans
for this site should explicitly recognize its importance to wetland birds.
More inventories and monitoring of at-risk species and wading birds
are needed to better understand bird use and determine whether this
site continues to meet IBA criteria.