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2013 Nature Walk/Event Recap and Reports

Sleeping Snowy Owl

December 2013

Photos by Ken Thompson

The Annual Morton Wildlife Refuge Walk

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today, November 17, 2013 we did our annual GSBAS nature walk at the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor. The weather while at the refuge was very nice. We were greeted by the usual suspects looking for handouts, literally handouts. It's always a pleasure to see our bird friends up close and personal.

After Morton we headed to Dune Rd. to see what we could find there. We had distant looks at two Marbled Godwits, lots of Common Eider and our first of the season Red-breasted Mergansers.

Sunken Meadow State Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

A pleasant Surprise.

Today, on our Tuesday GSBAS walk at Sunken Meadow SP we had again another super weather day. Usually at Sunken Meadow at the end of the season it is brutally cold in the winds coming off the L.I. Sound, not today. Clear crisp sunshine, moderate breeze and moderate temperatures made for another great day.

To top things off we had a very nice bird for the day. On the rock jetty we discovered a Purple Sandpiper. This is the time of year to start to expect them, but to see one on a nice weather day is a bonus. We had thirty one species for the day with a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on berries in the trees. Also we had our first Hooded Mergansers of the season as well. In the L.I. Sound there was a flock of White-winged Scoters. Another good day with some good birds.

Blydenburgh County Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

A sampling of ducks.

Today, on our GSBAS Tuesday nature walk at Blydenburgh County Park, we had a good variety of ducks on the lake. We had ten species of ducks. With the early morning sun highlighting the iridescent colors of the male ducks it was very enjoyable.

All told we had thirty one species of birds for the morning, a highlight was a pair of Rusty Blackbirds at the point where we turnaround and head back to the parking lot. Golden-crowned Kinglets seemed to be everywhere. Thirteen people showed up and enjoyed another really nice morning walk.

Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside Nature Walk

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today, Tuesday October 22, 2013, the great South Bay Audubon walk was scheduled for the Marine nature study area in Oceanside.

It was another gorgeous fall day with a nice breeze blowing from the south. On the first trail from the center we saw a Great Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret sitting up on bridge railing. The sun was lighting them up.

Later out on the loop trail we spent time looking at Different plumages of Swamp Sparrows. We spent time looking a First year male Common Yellowthroat that was tough to identify.

Then on to Jones beach where we saw a hundred American Oystercatchers on the bar, plus a bunch of Black Bellied Plovers and some Dunlin. A Savannah Sparrow sat up and gave us a good look. Another nice walk on a nice day.

Connetquot State Park Preserve Nature Walk

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

A nice day, a nice place and some nice birds. On a lovely fall day we walked through Connetquot. State Park Preserve to see what we could see. The colors around the lake were really very pretty. The ducks are starting to come to the lake for their winter stay. We saw Gadwalls, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal and a flock of eight Wood Ducks seven Males and one female.

We headed out on the blue trail, to find some more birds and were not disappointed. We saw many Cedar Waxwings both adults and young. We had some good looks at two different Swamp sparrows. There was a smattering of some of the regular suspects, and we all had a really nice morning walk.

Avalon Preserve Nature Walk

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today our walk was scheduled at Avalon, a private funded preserve in Stony Brook. It is a great place for a walk. There is a mix of woodlands and open fields that provide great habitat. We managed to squeak out a few birds this morning. A highlight was a flock of Cedar Waxwings. The beautiful tan and tawny plumage highlighted by touched of red and yellow showed up brilliantly in today's gorgeous sunshine.

In keeping with the theme of nature walk we discovered a garter snake, a ten inch earthworm, chipmunks, squirrels and a bug on the milkweed plants. They are the Large Milkweed bug and the smaller ones are nymphs. The photo is a file photo to illustrate what can be seen on a nature walk

Robert Moses State Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

And yet again another fabulous weather day for our walk as has been the pattern we did not see a lot of birds but manage to see some interesting ones. The boardwalk was loaded with Palm Warblers and the Yellow Rumped warblers have arrived in some numbers. We were treated to good looks at a Swamp Sparrow and a couple of Savannah Sparrows as well. A female Yellow Warbler was well seen in the bright sunshine. At the end of the board walk we spotted a bird we had trouble identifying, at home after research and help from friends it was ID'd as a Dickcissel, first fall. We stopped at the Hawk Watch platform but things were very quiet. Hawk people are the only folks I know that wish for bad weather, hoping it helps the Hawks migrate past our platform. We went to Field 2 and came upon a feeding flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets to end our day.

Robert Moses and Jones Beach State Parks Nature Walk

Tuesday, September 21, 2013

Recap by John Gluth

The chapter's weekend field trip to Robert Moses State and Jones Beach State Parks on September 21st enjoyed excellent participation (12 people—regulars and new faces), fine weather, and birding that, while slow overall, was elevated by a few interesting sightings.

Starting at Field 5 at Robert Moses at 7am, our group walked the boardwalk through dune and scrub habitats obviously altered by Hurricane Sandy. A couple of Palm Warblers pumped their tails as they moved along the boardwalk ahead of us, and a few Common Yellowthroats skulked through the adjacent vegetation. Arriving at the hawk watch platform we found that day's counter, Diana Teta, who had little to count at that point. The wind direction and warm temperatures were not conducive to bird migration in general and raptors in particular, so our stay was short. We next drove west over to Field 2, where the sharp and diligent eyes of Michael McBrien spotted 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls among the more common gulls loafing in the parking lot. We birded the shrubbery around the perimeter of the lot, concentrating on the area between the lot and golf course, and then the volleyball courts. Among the few highlights were 2 Brown Thrashers, an American Redstart and a Field Sparrow.

We caravanned to Jones Beach west end next, where our luck improved a bit. We found the sand bar of Short Beach Island covered with a large gathering of shorebirds. American Oystercatchers and Black-bellied Plovers made up the majority of the birds present, but among them was a single juvenile American Golden Plover (spotted by Tim Dunn), several Red Knots, a few short-billed Dowitchers and a Dunlin still in juvenile plumage (not a common sight). A Black Skimmer made a brief appearance and a few Forster's Terns fished the waters off the marina. At one point most of the gathered birds lifted into the air en masse for no reason we could determine, wheeling about in coordinated chaos. Many did not return to the bar, so we moved on to the "hedgerow" in front of the Coast Guard station, followed by the wooded park road median, looking for land birds. They were as scarce as they'd been earlier, but we managed to find a few notable birds—Eastern Phoebe, E. Kingbird and Prairie Warbler. There was a mass gathering of Tree Swallows along the east side of parking field 2, numbering in the neighborhood of 10,000 birds. The swallows were sitting on the pavement, festooning the snow fencing and dune scrub, and rising periodically into the air in clouds. A very impressive sight and nice punctuation to the trip.

GSBAS' Ed Davis Memorial Beach Cleanup - Sunken Forest / Sailors Haven on Fire Island

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Under sunny skies last Saturday, fifteen GSBAS volunteers scoured the beaches on Fire Island as part of the New York State Beach Cleanup, which is a part of the International Coastal Cleanup, and coordinated by the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society. Our GSBAS team removed a variety of debris from the beaches and dunes, each piece being identified and documented. As our cleanup was going on, thousands of other volunteers across New York also participated in the cleanup, including Billy Joel and Gov. Andrew Cuomo who were in Oyster Bay cleaning up the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach.

Over 1,100 items were collected by GSBAS and listed in our report.

What did GSBAS volunteers find?

The collection this year was a bit different from other years, with more lumber and home items, which I think was due to the storm, and less “new trash” as well. Since the beach was flatter, and the sand firm in spots, there was not the usual collections of debris, a lot of times we had to dig around or move piles of seaweed and branches to find items. We did find a lot of balloons and ribbons which we all know are detrimental to sea life. We also observed the extensive changes to the dunes.

Why is this cleanup so important? (The following is from the ALS)

  • Making up approximately ¾ of all marine debris, plastics persist in the environment for many years and are especially harmful to wildlife. Ingested plastics can cause internal injury, intestinal blockage and starvation.
  • Thousands of birds and marine animals die each year from entanglement in monofilament fishing line, strapping bands, and 6-pack ring holders.
  • Marine debris can cause injury to beachgoers and pose a navigation hazard to boaters.
  • Pollution from marine debris also compromises the productivity of wetlands which act as nurseries for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish.
  • Marine debris compresses and kills the salt marsh grass which supports the estuary’s food chain, filters pollution, and protects the coast from wave damage.

What happens with the data?

All the data sheets that were filled out during our cleanup was consolidated and sent to The Ocean Conservancy for analysis. The resultant studies produce strategies to combat marine pollution and to inform policy makers, the media, and the public about solutions to the problem.

What we have learned from our continued efforts in cleaning up the shores of the Atlantic ocean is that we can and do make a difference.

Thank you to all of our volunteers and I look forward to next year!

For more information:

American Littoral Society

Fire Island National Seashore

Click to enlarge photos

Norman Levy Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today we walked at Norman Levy park in Merrick. The park is interesting in that it is a recovered landfill. It is good too see something positive come from something that seems unusable.

Things started off slowly, despite a lot of effort by everyone on the trip. The first half, walking up,the hill to the turnaround had few birds. When we started on our way back it got much better. With everyone helping spotting birds we managed to put together a decent morning's list. We had five species of warbler, Magnolia, Prairie, Black-throated Blue, Northern Parula and Common Yellowthroat. All the warblers presented us with good looks so we could study them. Another highlight was a Brown Thrasher that everyone loves to look at, such a sleek looking and beautifully rust brown colored bird with elegant lines, great to see anytime.

You can always find a way to make it good day with everyone pitching in to help.

Jamaica Bay Nature Walk

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Got Warblers? We did. We saw ten different species of warblers today on our walk. It was another beautiful morning to be outdoors. Crisp temps, bright sunshine and plenty of birds in the gardens at Jamaica Bay. As we entered the south gardens there were birds all around us, it was hard to keep track as they flew around the shrubs and trees, high and low. Every one got looks, not all at the same bird at the same time.

In the north garden we had a very cooperative Northern Parula Warbler as it flew and landed an stayed sitting in the bright sunshine, the yellow breast lit up like brilliant light. We all enjoyed that friendly little bird.

We finished the day by heading to Big John's Pond and saw some shorebirds highlighted by a pair of Solitary Sandpipers. We also had the opportunity to compare side by side both a Lesser and a Greater Yellowlegs. A nice finish to another nice day.

Birding & Breakfast at Connetquot Preserve

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Saturday, September 14, 2013 we held the fall Birding and Breakfast at Connetquot State Park and Preserve. This is a cooperative effort between Connetquot State Park, The Friends of Connetquot and the Great South Bay Audubon Society. This has become quite a popular event, each time turning folks away.

We started with coffee and goodies while looking at an introductory birding presentation by park staff. Then we assigned three groups for walking with the different leaders. All three groups went to watch a release of Northern Bobwhite Quail as part of a Quail restoration program. While we were watching the release a Red Tailed hawk and a Coopers hawk made an appearance just to welcome us. Then the groups proceeded to different areas of the park to do some birding.

The weather was spectacular, Clear, cool sunny with little wind, an ideal day for a walk in the park. We totaled, across the three groups 31 species of birds. Everyone got some good looks at some of the birds. Some of the people in one of the groups managed to see a Red-headed Woodpecker., a spectacular bird. Everyone went home with memories of a nice walk in a great park and a great day and seeing some nice birds.

List of birds seen or heard

  1. Am. Robin
  2. American Goldfinch (heard)
  3. Belted Kingfisher
  4. Black-capped Chickadee
  5. Blue Jay
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Carolina Wren
  8. Cedar Waxwing
  9. Chipping Sparrow
  10. Common Grackle
  11. Common Yellowthroat
  1. Cooper’s Hawk
  2. DC Cormorant
  3. Eastern Phoebe
  4. Eastern Screech Owl (lecture guest)
  5. Eastern Towhee (most people heard only)
  6. Gadwall
  7. Gray Catbird
  8. Mallard
  9. Mourning Dove
  10. Mute Swan
  11. Northern Bobwhite (released)
  1. Northern Cardinal (heard)
  2. Northern Mockingbird
  3. Red-bellied Woodpecker (heard)
  4. Red-headed Woodpecker (seen only by 3 people)
  5. Red-tailed Hawk
  6. Song Sparrow
  7. Tree Swallow (heard)
  8. Tufted Titmouse (heard)
  9. Vireo species (very brief view but probably Red-eyed Vireo)

Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area/Jones Beach Nature Walk

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

On an overcast and humid day we headed to the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area. A great place to do some early fall birding. On the first leg of the walk heading east we encountered a few Green herons which were flying around and perching for us to look at. On the walk out to the Osprey nest we saw two yellow-crowned Night Herons up close and personal.

After we finished at MNSA we headed to Jones Beach West End Coast Guard station. The tide was rising, but here was still enough of a sandbar to hold a nice number of shorebirds. There were large numbers of Black Skimmer and American Oystercatchers, at least fifty of each. There was also a small group of Red Knots, it is always good to see them. The highlight was a Caspian Tern sitting amongst the Skimmers and Oystercatchers.

Shinnecock Bay Nature Walk

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Birding between the raindrops Actually birding between the torrents. Today, our first day of the 2013 fall season, started at Shinnecock inlet and we then proceeded to drive Dune Rd. There was not much to see at the inlet with the fog, so we headed to road I to see what was happening. This was the first of our rain delays. A couple of minutes later we we walked to the bayside beach and started birding. What a great stop. We saw a Golden Plover, while we were looking at that we spotted a Upland Sandpiper. While looking at that a Whimbrel flew by and landed in the marsh. We walked up and got good looks at it in the grass. A quick stop produced three really nice birds. We had looks at each of the birds in the scope for all to see and study.

We then proceeded down Dune Road and stopped in between rain spells and continued to bird.  We saw a small sampling of the migrating shorebirds. After the last rain/hail torrent we called it quits and headed home.

What a way to start the season.

Hummingbird Sanctuary Nature Walk

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recap by Alice Heller, GSBAS Trip Coordinator

Photos courtesy of Jody Banaszak, Warren Davis, Carol Jansch, and Edith Wilson

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, a clear warm summer August morning, GSBAS's Hummer Nature Walk took place with 30+ attendees and Field Trip Coordinator, Alice Heller, meeting both Paul Adams at his Private Hummingbird Sanctuary in Baiting Hollow for the seventh year in a row and meeting in person for the first time Dr. Mark Bridgen, from Cornell.

This year Dr. Mark Bridgen, Professor and Director, Cornell University, Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center (“Cornell”), Sound Ave., Riverhead and his lovely wife Margot Bridgen, joined our hummer nature walk.  Those of us car pooling met Mark & Margot at Cornell’s Sound Ave., facility and got a chance to enjoy seeing Cornell’s lovely gardens there first, before our caravan drove up to Paul’s private hummingbird sanctuary. Many of our attendees were first time attendees and their excitement and exuberance was contagious for sure! Attendees walked around Paul’s hummer sanctuary in awe of its beautiful garden setting, proceeded to locate a chair or a bench and sat down to quietly await the sighting of hummer(s).  Paul’s hummers did not disappoint; the hummers seemed to favor his natural dazzling array of flowering: plants, container plants and shrubs, over the many hummer tube feeders this year.  Swallowtail butterflies and cabbage moths were plentiful too!  We saw hummers directly overhead – giving us a chance to look up to see them zipping by us quickly and immediately away and out of sight, only to again reappear shortly directly in front of us. Some attendees chose to meander the trails leading down to the beach of the Long Island Sound and others of us enjoyed sitting on either one of Paul’s two deck areas in chairs to take in the sanctuary’s serenity and beauty; the back deck area afforded views of the bluffs of the Long Island Sound with busy hummers visiting all of the flowering plants, potted plants and shrubs in that section.

Paul introduced himself, made himself available to all to answer any and all questions, and to further educate our first time attendees and those of us attendees who come back, year after year, about our Ruby-throated hummingbirds.  A new treat this year added by Paul was a live Hummer Web cam set up, which is located in an area outside of Camp David, Maryland ---- showed a very active and busy Web cam site where several hummers frequented three closely arranged circular hummer feeders with perches; Paul explained that this type of feeder was actually more attractive to the hummingbirds.  Additionally, Paul let us know about a nursery in Medford that stocks and sells several garden plants that attract hummers.  All of us present thoroughly enjoyed yet another wonderful visit this year to Paul Adam's Private Humming Bird Sanctuary.

Remember if anyone would like to make a donation, Paul previously let us know that donations can be made to the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, specifically to support: Operation Ruby Throat: The Hummingbird Project.   Hilton Pond Center is located at 1432 Devinney Road, York, SC 29745, USA if you’d like to make a visit and/or visit via its website: www.hiltonpond.org.  You can also visit via this link: www.rubythroat.org.

GSBAS's and my sincere thanks to our host, Paul Adams for scheduling this August 2013 GSBAS Hummer Nature Walk and to Dr. Mark Bridgen, Professor and Director, Cornell University, Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, 3059 Sound Ave., Riverhead, NY for again allowing GSBAS to use its Sound Avenue parking lot and especially for Mark and Margot joining us this year.

GSBAS looks forward to again seeing Paul and his hummers in August 2014.

Help our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate (fall and spring) by preparing and putting out sugar water (please note: NOT TO USE prepared mixtures with red dye).  Follow this recipe to make your own sugar water: use four (4) cups water to one (1) cup sugar; boil water & sugar mixture on stove; let cool before filling hummer feeders; refresh hummer feeders after a couple of days.

Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area Nature Walk

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today was our last nature walk of the season, we will not resume Tuesday walks until September 3. This morning we were at Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area. It is always a delightful place to walk, especially on a day like today with bright sunshine and mild wind. Little by little we managed to see a few nice birds, most of them cooperating for nice scope looks. The Osprey nest was occupied by an adult and two chicks, one who kept popping it's head up to look at us as we looked at it. The marshes were a beautiful deep rich green. we saw both Great and Snowy Egrets. throughout the marsh there were scattered many young Yellow-crowned Night Herons. The picture is of one that posed for us. A nice finish for our spring season of Nature Walks

Shinnecock Inlet and Dune Road Nature Walk

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our Tuesday trip today was to Shinnecock Inlet and Dune rd. we had a nice size group this morning. The weather was brilliantly clear but very windy. We started at the inlet where we saw a pair of Bonapartes Gulls. Then as we progressed down Dune Rd. we started to see some Shorebirds. We managed to get a nice list of shorebirds considering the conditions. We saw, Ruddy Turnstones, Semiplamated Sandpipers, Oystercatchers and Black-bellied Plovers. We also got some chances to look at Piping Plovers and Red Knots, both very nice to see anytime. At the final stop we kept hearing a calling Clapper Rail, despite waiting, it never showed itself much to our disappointment. We had a great day in the fresh air with some good birds and good company.

Pine Barrens Walk at Black Tupelo Trail (Pine Barrens Discovery Day)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Recap by Alice Heller

Time: 10:40 AM

Event: Pine Barrens Walk @ Black Tupelo Trail
Pine Barrens Discovery Day - Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Shirley, NY

Co-Trip Leaders: Alice Heller, GSBAS and Patricia Manzi, Ex.Director, LI Nature Collaborative for KIDS

Weather: Sunny and warm

Birds: Heard and Seen: 15 Species

  • American Crow
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Common Grackle
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Gray Catbird
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Great Egret - in flight
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Osprey
  • Ovenbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Plants:

  • Star Flower (See picture to the right)
  • Common fern
  • Hayscented fern
  • New York  fern
  • Skunk cabbage
  • Wintergreen

Butterflies:

  • Skipper

Wildlife:

  • Chipmunk (Heard)

Massapequa Preserve Nature Walk

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had about a dozen folks show up this morning, including a student from the East Islip schools They are always a welcome addition to our walk. On first getting to the pond we disturbed five Wood Ducks. Not everyone in the group got to see them as they flew off quickly. We then walked around the pond and up to the north pond. There were lots of the local breeders around. We managed to see two different Robins nests, one with visible nestlings being fed by the parents. We also,saw an active Chickadee nest cavity and a Downy Woodpecker carrying food into its cavity nest. Spring is a busy time. There were a lot of Baltimore Orioles around and they looked really bright, lit up in the morning sunlight.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Walk

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Recap by Michael McBrien

While poor conditions may have caused low turnout, the spirits of the few participants were not dampened by the weather. We had overcast skies throughout the trip with occasional showers. Despite the weather, we were able to come up with 61 species. Highlights included Little Blue, Tricolored, and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Clapper Rails, and several species of shorebirds. A walk through the gardens produced four species of warblers including 3 Magnolias. Additionally, the damage that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on the refuge was evident throughout our walk. Most shocking was the inlet that Sandy cut through the West Pond Trail's path, allowing the bay water to flow into the pond. In addition to the damage to the trail itself, Sandy's effect on the bird habitat, especially around the West Pond, is profound. The vegetation is heavily salt-burned and the feeding areas around the perimeter of the pond that are used by shorebirds, ibis, and herons are completely destroyed. Let us hope that steps are taken to alleviate the situation quickly.

Norman Levy Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

The weather was a mixed start for our Tuesday trip this week. We went to Norman Levy Park in Merrick. It is a mixed habitat, some trees, some open spaces, some bay water edges and shorelines.

It started out slow but by the time we got done we had fairly impressive morning list of birds. Three Monk Parakeets flew over to start our walk. We had some shorebirds including a Spotted Sandpiper and a Yellow-crowned Night Heron in the marsh. We had three different wrens, House, Marsh and Carolina. A Willow Flycatcher sang and sat up for us nicely to look at in the scope. By the time we were done the weather cleared and it was sunny and warm. Another great GSBAS Nature Walk.

Hempstead State Park Nature Walk

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Spring birding Fall weather?

On clear crisp cool, forty degrees or so, spring day the GSBAS trip was at Hempstead State Park. It started off very nicely with extended viewing of multiple Wood Ducks in the near pond. We then proceeded to the woods along the creek and around to the field. We saw lots of Myrtle Warblers and afew Black and Whites. In the woods along the field we some more warblers. We saw Blackburnian, always a crowd pleaser and Magnolia. A hardy few hiked up the stream trail and saw a Solitary Sandpiper.

Then in the cars and off to Jones Beach. On the approach road to the West End entrance there was a Red-headed Woodpecker sitting alongside the roadway. What a spectacular bird, the sun was lighting it up and the colors were brilliant.

Another really good trip for,our Tuesday GSBAS folks to participate.

GSBAS Annual Dinner

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our Annual May Dinner fundraiser was held at Capt. Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore on Monday, May 6, 2013. Thanks to the generosity of our members and friends we had many lovely prizes. The dinner was a huge success and all who attended had a grand time.

This year’s award winners are:

Cathy & Kenny Wilvert - Bob Laskowski Conservation Award
Juliane Wohler - Fran File Awardd
Larry Merryman - President’s Award

Photos by Helga Merryman and Judy Davis

Central Park Nature Walk

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Here's the list of birds spotted on the Central Park Nature Walk. List provided by Steve D'Amato:

  1. American Crow
  2. American Goldfinch
  3. American Robin
  4. Baltimore Oriole
  5. Barn Swallow
  6. Black-and-white Warbler
  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  8. Blue Jay
  9. Brown-headed Cowbird
  10. Canada Goose
  11. Common Grackle
  1. Double-crested Cormorant
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. European Starling
  4. Gray Catbird
  5. Herring Gull
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Mallard
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Northern Cardinal
  10. Northern Flicker
  11. Peregrine Falcon
  1. Prairie Warbler (song only)
  2. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Red-winged Blackbird
  5. Rock Pigeon
  6. Song Sparrow
  7. Tufted Titmouse
  8. Warbling Vireo
  9. White-throated Sparrow
  10. Yellow Warbler

Birding & Breakfast at Connetquot Preserve

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Recap by Edith Wilson

The morning of 4th May came clear and bright. Over forty people showed up at Connetquot Preserve to enjoy a delicious continental breakfast of bagels, cinnamon bread, assorted cakes, fruits and cheese, with beverages. The splendid repast was sponsored by the Friends of Connetquot with bagels and spreads donated by Melville Deli.

During our walk, the warm spring weather had many birds actively singing and flying out in the open in their efforts to establish or defend their nesting territories. The large number of bird enthusiasts was split into two groups to give everyone a chance to see resident and migrant birds encountered in the trails. A pair of Tufted Titmouse was observed gathering nesting material at the Hatchery area; all around us were the pleasant sounds of male Chipping Sparrow, Pine Warbler, Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee, and many others announcing their presence to females of their respective species. Below is a complete list of the thirty-nine birds seen (S) or only heard (H) by one or both groups.

  1. American Crow (S)
  2. American Goldfinch (S)
  3. American Robin (S)
  4. Baltimore Oriole (S)
  5. Barn Swallow (S)
  6. Black-and-white Warbler (S)
  7. Black-crowned Night Heron (S)
  8. Blue Jay (S)
  9. Blue-winged Warbler (H)
  10. Brown-headed Cowbird (S)
  11. Canada Goose (S)
  12. Chipping Sparrow (S)
  13. Common Grackle (S)
  1. Double Crested Cormorant (S)
  2. Downy Woodpecker (S)
  3. Eastern Bluebird (S)
  4. Eastern Phoebe (S)
  5. Eastern Towhee (H)
  6. European Starling (S)
  7. Great Egret (S)
  8. Herring Gull (S)
  9. House Wren (S)
  10. Mallard Duck (S)
  11. Mourning Dove (S)
  12. Mute Swan (S)
  13. Northern Cardinal (S)
  1. Northern Mockingbird (S)
  2. Osprey (S)
  3. Ovenbird (H)
  4. Pine Warbler (S)
  5. Red-bellied Woodpecker (H)
  6. Red-tailed Hawk (S)
  7. Red-winged Blackbird (S)
  8. Song Sparrow (S)
  9. Tree Swallow (S)
  10. Tufted Titmouse (S)
  11. Wild Turkey (S)
  12. Yellow Warbler (H)
  13. Yellow-throated Warbler (S)

Jamaica Bay

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recap by Ken Thompson

Four folks including myself showed up this morning at Jamaica Bay for the GSBAS Tuesday nature walk. Again, still pretty quiet but through persistence we managed to make a nice morning out of it. In the gardens we had very good looks at two White-eyed Vireos and two Brown Thrashers, all standing still in the open for nice viewing. The Yellow Warblers have arrived in numbers and they were everywhere to be seen. Also in good numbers and active and visible were Eastern Towhees, a really nice bird to see.

GSBAS Walk at Connetquot

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eight folks showed up on a damp morning to walk through Connetquot State Park Preserve. We had a really nice showing of birds despite the overcast and chilly morning. A total of 48 species was seen. We had two students join us on an assignment. We walked up to the hatchery and back down around the lake. Highlights were, Black and White Warblers, Purple Martin, Northern Rough-winged Swallows and a calling Red-tailed Hawk flying over us. Not bad for an early spring day.

Brookside Butterfly Garden Club Spring Garden Clean-up

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On Saturday, March 30, 2013, the Brookside Butterfly Garden Club held their Spring garden clean-up. Four volunteers spent a beautiful morning removing much debris deposited over the winter from the Nor’easters and Superstorm Sandy. With the cold weather behind us, and under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50’s, the grass was raked free of accumulated brush, leaves and litter surrounding the deck, sheds and garden area. The planters were filled with brightly colored spring flowers as a welcome sight to all who visit. The lawn looked beautiful speckled with purple and white crocus! During our visit, a red fox scampered across the lawn and headed to the weir, his distinct scent lingering long after he had disappeared.

Anyone interested in participating in the Butterfly Garden Club activities are welcome to join us on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at Brookside to begin planning the additions to the garden. Feel free to participate in as many or few of the meetings and activities that are held as many hands make light work!

Photos courtesy of Judy Davis - Click image to enlarge

Custom Built Raccoon Baffles Installed to Protect Blue Bird Nests in Connetquot River State Park Preserve

March 9, 2013

The GSBAS is the proud recipient of $600 in Audubon Collaborative Funding. Continuing our “Audubon in the Parks” campaign, we have used the funds toward the creation of custom built raccoon baffles. The baffles will help protect our 22 Bluebird nest boxes at Connetquot River State Park Preserve (CRSPP) from the marauding raccoon that has been wreaking havoc for the past two years. Thankfully, the Bluebirds successfully fledged before the raccoon made his rounds but the Tree Swallows have not been so lucky.

Special thanks go out to Edith and Bob Wilson chairs of our Bluebird Nest Box Program, as well as Annette Brownell and her friend Rick Barns, A&N Reliable Welding for getting this project off the ground. The fabrication of the baffles was accomplished by Carl Bausinger, Jr., at The Sheet Metal Shop in Bay Shore.

Installation day, 9 March 2013, dawned clear and relatively warm. Under the guidance of Edith and Bob, the new baffles were installed in two hours by Rick Barns, Annette Brownell, Judy and Warren Davis, Bob Grover, and Helga and Larry Merryman. Bluebirds could be heard in the area. Perhaps they were some of the birds we had observed during the 19 January 2013 Breakfast and Birding.

If you would like to join the Bluebird Nest Box Program team and experience the joy of watching these magnificent birds throughout their nesting process, training is available to become a nest box monitor. Give the GSBAS a call at 631-563-7716.

Photos courtesy of Judy Davis and Helga Merryman - Click image to enlarge

Young Naturalists Club

March 3, 2013

Attendees had lots of fun making hatching chicks!

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Day After Snowstorm at Brookside

Saturday, February 10, 2013

These photos were taken on Saturday, February 10, 2013 at Brookside Park by Tour Guides Lenora and Peter Daniel, following the snowstorm.

All photos were taken by Lenora and Peter Daniel

Click to enlarge photo

Breakfast & Birding

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Recap by Judy Davis

Saturday, January 19, 2013, dawned clear and bright as 46 people gathered at Connetquot River State Park Preserve (CRSPP) for the winter Breakfast & Birding. This event is sponsored by CRSPP, Friends of Connetquot (FOC), and the Great South Bay Audubon Society (GSBAS).

The group enjoyed a marvelous continental breakfast, provided by the FOC and volunteer bakers, while Pam Hunter (CRSPP) gave an overview of some of the woodland birds and ducks we might observe. For the first time, mounted specimens were used during the overview.

With full stomachs, the large group was broken down into three smaller groups lead by GSBAS volunteers, Helga & Larry Merryman, Edith and Bob Wilson, and Ken Thompson. Each group went to a different part of the park in search of birds.

The group I was in, led by Pam Hunter and the Merrymans, headed west. On the pond we viewed Mallards, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, and a beautiful Great Blue Heron. Walking a bit into the west line trail, where the GSBAS has a portion of their Bluebird nest box trail, the group was treated to the sight of at least 10 Bluebirds feeding. Three were perched on top of two nest boxes, their blue feathers glistening brilliantly in the sun.

Other species observed by the groups were: Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Ring-necked duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, American Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, and House Sparrow.

It was a wonderful day spent enjoying nature with old and new friends alike. Did you miss this Breakfast & Birding? Our next event is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2013. We hope you’ll join us!

All photos were taken by Warren Davis

Click to enlarge photo

Daisy Troop Pinecone Feeder Program

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making pinecone feeders at the January 6, 2013 meeting of the Young Naturalists Club.

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