“When birder friends visit us at our camp in the Adirondacks and ask about the possibility of seeing Bicknell’s thrush, I get in touch with Pat and John Thaxton, who always manage not only to find the bird but to deliver great looks at it. One friend had journeyed up Whiteface Mountain four times without getting Bicknell’s, and then on a rainy day in June the Thaxtons drove us up out of the clouds and showed us not only one but two Bicknell’s thrushes, standing twenty feet apart on a rocky slide thirty feet away, calling.” Dr. Frank Gill, Stockton, NJ and Keene Valley,NY
“The New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) held a boreal bird workshop and field trip this weekend in the Adirondacks. Wendy and Steve Hall at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington hosted the workshop, given by John and Pat Thaxton. The Thaxtons showed slides of a variety of boreal specialists, reviewed their field marks and vocalizations, and discussed their distribution and status. They also presented little known facts about their natural history. Special thanks to Wendy and Steve for the surprise hors d'oeuvres. On Sunday, the Thaxton team led a field trip to Whiteface Mountain, Bigelow Road, Bloomingdale Bog and Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center. The weather was spectacular, the bugs were few and the birding camaraderie was palpable. Seventeen birders from all over New York State and two from Massachusetts participated in this event and were rewarded with long looks at a very cooperative Bicknell’s Thrush that sat on an exposed perch for several minutes near the hairpin turn on Whiteface. Other noteworthy species from this tour of Adirondack birding hotspots included: Osprey, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Gray Jays with young at a feeder, Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson’s Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Dark-eyed Juncos with young. NYSOA would like to publicly thank the Thaxtons for sharing their time and expertise and for making this exciting trip possible.” Kathy Schneider NYSOA VP and field trip organizer Stuyvesant Falls, NY
“I have been on many birding trips led by Pat and John Thaxton. We have hiked up mountains, paddled down rivers, skied through woods, always amassing a wonderful long list of birds for the day. My most memorable occasions have been the early morning trips up Whiteface Mountain in search of the Bicknell's thrush. The Thaxtons are wonderful leaders, full of bird information, good humor and even bug dope should you have forgotten yours to keep off the black flies. They are amazingly knowledgeable, as well as eternally patient. The four times I made that Whiteface trek we were rewarded with great close up views of the Bicknell's singing. I can't wait for this years visit.” Patricia Levine New York City and Jay, N.Y.
“Last June, I drove from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, to the Whiteface Mountain area—a 10+ hour, 550 mile drive—target birds were Bicknell’s thrush, Boreal chickadee and black-backed woodpecker. Having spent the night in beautiful Lake Placid, I headed up toward Whiteface armed only with bits of information gleaned from the local internet list-serve. At the gate at the bottom I met Pat and John Thaxton, who were leading several others to look for the Bicknell’s thrush. They offered to have me follow them—and THAT was the real beginning of a great trip! They not only found several singing Bicknell’s thrushes for the group, but were exceedingly patient to be sure we all had the good looks, and good listening, that we wanted. Within half an hour, after a beautiful drive, they led us down a dirt road and pointed out a black-backed woodpecker; half an hour later, along a road through a spectacular bog, they found a singing boreal chickadee. John and Pat know their birds! There was no wasted time even though it seemed a leisurely, but very exciting, couple of hours. I’d love to bird with them again, looking for life birds or just enjoying time together.” Dave English, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
"Need to see a Bicknell's Thrush? Whiteface Mountain in New York with John and Pat Thaxton is the place to go. I had a marvelous time and excellent views of the thrush thanks to the Thaxtons. I could not have had a better 60th birthday present - seeing the thrush, enjoying mountain birding, and meeting new friends amid the fantastic scenery. Thanks John and Pat!" Bill Osborne, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
"I have had so many flashbacks to our wonderful trip and your expert guidance through such gorgeous terrain! June 20-22 was my target event for so many months, and it was all I hoped it would be. I do see your posts on NNY Birds and still picture myself there, too!! Thank you so much for the patience and skill you both exercised with our group. I learned a lot and truly enjoyed your company. We'll get a nice write-up in our newsletter so others can connect with your services. I hope your summer is progressing nicely!" Sincerely, Becky Gretton Delaware-Otsego Audubon
October 8, 2014 "Thank you for giving my mother such a wonderful experience. She enjoyed her time with you." Denise Erenstone Lake Placid, NY
July, 2015 We had a great time as well! It was so relaxing and enjoyable! Beautiful scenery too!! You two are very knowledgeable!! Can't get over that you can distinguish between a call and a song of every bird! We still talk about how much fun we had as well. You are a delightful couple to be with and we enjoyed all the laughs! Nance Sprague East Rochester, NY
January, 2016 I do feel particularly blessed that our first CBC was with you two. You are great birders and lots of fun - a pairing not always found in the same being:) Looking forward to reading your articles and hoping to see you at next year's count if not sooner. (Can we call pre-dibs on birding with you two at next years CBC?) Rebecca Allen Canton, NY
November, 2016 Dear Pat and John, We want to say a big thank you for the birding day in the Champlain Valley. We learned so much about good birding places and enjoyed everyone's company. The final bird, the rough-legged hawk, was a real treat. Gratefully, Carlotta & Ran Shaw