The primary mission of the Great South Bay Audubon Society is to advocate for the conservation of habitats for native birds and other native wildlife on Long Island.

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Nature Walk/Event Recap and Reports

Sunken Meadow State Park

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today was at Sunken Meadow State Park. The weather was again spectacular. If not for the lack of rain we cannot complain about the weather we have been having for our walks.

We started by going to the boardwalk to check the Long Island Sound for seabirds and ducks. We did manage to get looks at a few, and sometimes far waterfowl. There were Common Loon and White-winged Scoter seen through the scope.

After we left the boardwalk and headed to the hedgerow we spotted a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, which gave most of us good looks. The we headed to the brush piles at the western end of the parks and saw Song Sparrows and Juncoes.

The second half of the walk was at the eastern end of the park by the spillway. We did a loop around the near pond. At the bridge over the ponds we encountered a flock of Cedra Waxwings feeding on berries in the trees, The sunshine and the waxwings were spectacular, well worth the price of admission.

Blydenburgh County Park

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

Wow, what another beautiful morning for a walk. Our walk today was at Blydenburgh County Park. We met at the boat ramp and started by checking out the ducks. The pond did have some algae left from the summer but the ducks are starting to show up anyway. We saw American Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard and Mute Swans. Our highlight was seeing Green-winged Teal and Wood Ducks, beautifully lit up by the morning sun.

Then we did our walk through the woods. The clean crisp air and bright sunshine made for an enjoyable walk. We managed to scrape up some woodland birds to top off our beautiful fall morning.

Jones Beach West End

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today our walk was at Jones Beach west End, near the Coast Guard and Marina. The weather was once again spectacular.  Brilliant sunshine and cool temperatures made for a nice walk.  The winds were strong out of the north west making for a very clear sky with good visibility.

We started at the hedgerow near the Coast Guard Station and spent some time looking at a variety of sparrows, mixed in with some Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We then headed over to the median and were almost overrun by Golden-crowned Kinglets. It seemed that every tree had at least two or three jumping around in it.

Avalon Preserve

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today's walk was at Avalon Preserve in Stony Brook. It was a gorgeous day for our walk,even though we could use the rain we still enjoyed the morning. Avalon gives us a mix of habitats, woods and fields and a pond. On starting our walk we spotted a Wood Duck in the main pond. Further up the path at a small man made pond we saw some green frogs and some warblers. There were a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers drinking in the stream.

Midway through the walk we were led to a Praying Mantis.

At the end of our walk we were told of a Ring-necked Pheasant being very cooperative...and he was.

We all got very good looks at a very pretty bird.

Robert Moses SP

Tuesday, October 12, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

A great fall day for a walk at the beach. We had mild temperatures, bright sunshine and moderate wind for our walk at Robert Moses SP. We started our walk leaving the parking lot and heading along the boardwalk towards the lighthouse. Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere. A sign that fall is here. There was also an influx of sparrows over the last couple of days. We had six species of sparrows, Song, White-throated, Swamp, Savannah White-crowned and Slate-colored Juncoe.

At the Hawk Watch platform we saw Kestrel and Merlin and Northern Harrier and Sharp-shinned hawk fly over, we also saw a Buckeye Butterfly and a Praying Mantis.

You never know what you can see on our walks so come join us and get out and enjoy the outdoors and nature.

Massapequa Preserve

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

In previous years our fall walks at Massapequa Preserve have been less than stellar. Not today though. We had one of our best days there in a long time. Eight of us gathered for the walk at the entrance at Pittsburgh Avenue. As a group we had over thirty species for bird for the morning.

As we headed up the path we encountered groups of birds foraging. There were hundreds of American Robins and Grey Catbirds everywhere. An isolated group had several Cedar Waxwings again foraging in the trees for berries. Further on, two distinct groups contained warblers. We saw Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Northern Parula, Black and White, Blackpoll and Common Yellowthroat. It also seemed like it was a good day for vireos. There were multiple Red-eyed Vireos all along the path, and we also saw a couple or Blue-headed and White-eyed Vireos.

The highlight was a Scarlet Tanager in a transitional plumage. We discussed that it might be a Summer Tanager but analysis after the trip confirmed it was a Scarlet Tanager. It was a good morning in spite of the sun not peeking out as predicted.

Robert Moses State Park

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

On an iffy morning ten brave souls showed up for our walk at Robert Moses SP. The weather was cloudy with a light misting rain and winds out of the north. This was a good sign that there might be some hawk migration activity at the watch platform...and there was. During our stop at the platform we saw six Osprey and five Merlins and one Peregrine come past the watch.

We then walked to the lighthouse and thanks to Jim Clinton's pishing ability we managed to see some land birds.  There were warblers, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers plus many Eastern Towhees and Catbirds.

Later on at Jones Beach West End we were surprised to see over 100 American Oystercatchers on the sand bar. There was also a few Red Knots and Black-belled Plovers.

On what started as an iffy day, we had some nice birds and an enjoyable walk.

Shinnecock Inlet & Dune Rd.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had a beautiful morning for our regular Tuesday walk. We started at The inlet and proceeded to caravan down Dune Rd. As we drove from one point to the next there was a cloud of Tree Swallows dipping up and down across the road and the marshes and shrubs, and lining the utility lines.

Further on down the road we saw a group of egrets congregating along a shoreline, apparently feeding on a pod of baitfish.

We did wind up seeing 27 species of birds for the morning and we all had the pleasuer of the beautiful weather and some really nice sights.

Birding & Breakfast

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

This Saturday we held our fall Birding and Breakfast at Connetquot River State Park Preserve. As usual this was a joint effort between The Connetquot State Park Staff, The Friends of Connetquot and Great South Bay Audubon. Again we had a full house, the program is very popular and we always have a wait list.  The breakfast was supplied by the Friends of Connetquot and the bagels donated by the Melville Deli. Annie McIntyre from the Park Staff did an intro to birds presentation, after which the Great South Bay Audubon folks led the bird walks.


June Outdoor Program

Saturday, June 21, 2016

Rescued Animals are STARs of the Show - Photos and Recap by Vera Capogna

An anxious crowd of about 60 people welcomed wildlife rehabilitator Katherine Schelp and two volunteers from STAR (Save the Animals Rescue) to Brookside County Park on June 16. Katherine was very informative and engaging, and obviously passionate about what she does. She shared many interesting stories about encounters she has had with many mammals, birds and reptiles, some with happy endings, some not too happy.

Katherine offered advice on what to do and not to do if you ever come across an injured animal, or witness a turtle trying to cross a road, or discover a baby bird that has fallen out of its nest.

Several animals made appearances and we learned about each of those species: A woodchuck, which is another name for a groundhog; a box turtle –do you know how to tell its age? A few birds of prey: A Screech Owl, a one-winged Long-eared Owl; an American Kestrel, which led to a little talk on falcons and falconry; and two reptiles: a Ball Python and a very unfamiliar reptile species, a Tegu, both are non-native reptiles that were rescued. Katherine explained that they must have been escaped pets, leading to a discussion about the dangers of non-native animals being released into non-native habitat.

Katherine also spoke of the importance of keeping your cat indoors as well as the piping plover/beach controversy on Long Island.

Refreshments and snacks, compliments of GSBAS were served. This June program is always popular with chapter members and the general community. We already look forward to next year’s presentation.

Hempstead State Park Walk Recap

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson - Photos by Helga Merryman

Today we had one of our better walks in the last few years at Hempstead State Park. Twelve people showed up and as we started from the parking lot we ran into a batch of warblers. There were a Blackpoll, and a Black and White, and at near eye level and close up, a Northern Parula.

We had ten Warblers among over thirty species of birds for the morning. Some highlights were a pair of Scarlet Tanagers, all the Baltimore Orioles you could want, and good looks at Magnolia and Canada warblers.

At the end of the walk we spotted a Baltimore Oriole sitting on a branch, after we looked around we found a Oriole nest near where the Orioles were sitting.

Today was one of our better walks in a long time.

Birding and Breakfast Recap

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson - Photos by Jack Carlson

A dank and dreary start to the day did not deter the folks from showing up at our May Birding and Breakfast outing. We had over thirty people sit and have a continental breakfast while viewing a slide presentation of anticipated birds.

The Birding and Breakfast is presented by a group of organizations. The State Park folks, Pam Hunter, do the slide presentation and the set up of the facilities and food. The Friends of Connetquot pay for the food, Melville Deli supplied the bagels and Great South Bay Audubon provided the guides for the bird walks.

After the presentation we stepped out to the porch to find it raining. As we were waiting for a break someone spotted a Caspian Tern over the pond. It was immediately followed by a Bald Eagle. Then someone asked, "what is that bird" right over our heads in the tree next to the porch. It was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. And we hadn't moved ten feet.

The rain did let up and we did go on our walks and all had a good time and saw a good variety of birds.

Brookside Clean-Up

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Recap by Janet Gremli

Spring Clean-Up at Brookside County Park by Janet Gremli On Saturday, April 23, 2016, members and friends of the Great South Bay Audubon Society joined together for the annual Spring clean-up at Brookside County Park. Despite the cool temperatures and sporadic showers, our group of volunteers magically restored the park using rakes, gloves and lots of enthusiasm. The bushes were trimmed, the was lawn was raked, and leaves and branches were removed. Volunteer family members, Karen, Dan and daughter Julia spent time sweeping the front porch and collecting litter. Grandma Elaine worked tirelessly trimming branches and vines from the west side of the main building. The butterfly garden looked great after Helga and Jean removed the ground litter of fallen leaves and dead stalks from the previous season to better expose the emerging plants. Members Jody and Janet trimmed the rhododendron bushes to clearly define the parking area while Vera leveled the many piles of mounded dirt near the porch and garden.

Bustling with boundless energy, five year old Julia was ready for a hike despite a busy day of yard work. Dan, Karen, Julia and Janet traversed the trails, collecting litter and debris along the way. The trails were festooned with unfurling leaves of skunk cabbage, delicate Canada May flowers, and the tiny crimson foliage of newly sprouted poison ivy. Walking through the woods, the signs of bright green leaves on trees and bushes are beginning to unfold, creating a bright contrast against the brown and grey of the tree trunks. With broad smiles and sore muscles, volunteers had the pleasure to see the transformation at Brookside accomplished by this team effort. Leaving the park, the sunny yellow flower heads of the daffodils dotted along the brook were a joyful reminder of the simple beauty that Nature holds.

Connetquot River State Park Preserve Recap

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

This was our best ever attendance for Nature Walk. Thirty five students, from the East Islip High School biology class, showed up to do an assigned field walk. We also had a half dozen non students join us. We split into three groups led by myself, Bob Grover and John Gluth. We walked the area around the main house and one group walked to the hatchery and back. Over thirty species of birds were seen plus a box turtle and eastern cottontail rabbit and several squirrels.

The students were attentive,curious and actively participating. We all had a good time and they were exposed to the natural world. Kudos to the East Islip school district for assigning field work for their classes.

Gardiners Park Recap

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson

The first two April Tuesday nature walks were canceled due to inclement weather. Today made up for those days. Twelve people attended today's walk in Gardiners Park, taking advavtage of a superb morning to be outside. Comments were made as to what seems to be a delay in some trees budding and leafing out. We did manage to eke out twenty species of the usual suspects. A highlight was five Snowy Egrets in the marsh down by the bay. It is good to see them coming back to Long island.


Birding and Breakfast Recap

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson - Photos by Bob Labuski

Despite the threat of bad weather, the January 16th Breakfast and Birding at Connetquot River State Park Preserve was another success. The event is put on by the New York State Parks Environmental Education staff, the Friends of Connetquot and Great South Bay Audubon.

The room was again full for the continental breakfast and welcoming with the aroma of coffee. The Friends of Connetquot, the Melville Deli and other good people supplied the breakfast foods, which included bagels, cinnamon bread, scones, fruit, and more. Folks filled their plates and watched a presentation by Pam Hunter introducing winter waterfowl and birds we might expect to see.

Then we headed outside for the walks led by the folks from Great South Bay Audubon. We split into two groups and went to the main pond to look for ducks. We saw Gadwall, Mallards, Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, American Wigeons, and a Pied-billed Grebe. Afterward, we walked the paths around the building complex to look for land birds. A highlight was an off-season Eastern Towhee bathing in a roadside puddle that was seen by one of the groups; this unexpected sighting even allowed time to set up a scope and gave everyone a good opportunity see the bird up close. Total for both groups was twenty six species of bids for the day. We hope to see you for our next Breakfast and Birding event.

Montauk Nature Walk Recap

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Recap by Ken Thompson - Photos by Helga Merryman

It doesn't seem fair to do our Montauk walks in above freezing weather. The weather was warm and slightly windy, not the toe numbing cold we are used to. The trip was led by Bob Grover and Ken Thompson.

There were ten of us as we started out by seeing a Lesser Black-backed Gull in the parking lot before we went to the overlook. At the overlook the seabirds were not as plentiful as usual, but we did have our usual mix of birds. When we went to the Camp hero location there were the seabirds, up close and in the thousands, making for very good looks for all.

At East lake we had good looks at a Iceland Gull floating over the surf just outside the jetty. A surprise was a pair of Red-necked Grebes at the entrance to the inlet.

Wrapping up the trip by driving Dune Rd, Edith Wilson spotted an American Bittern, the master of camoflage in the roadside ditch. A nice cap to the day as the sun was starting to set.