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Nature Walk/Event Recaps and Reports

Morton Wildlife Refuge Recap

Tuesday, November 18, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

What a beautiful fall morning for a walk.Mid temperatures and no wind with bright sunshine helped us have a very enjoyable walk.

The usual cast of characters greeted us by mooching sunflower seeds from our hands. At the beach we saw our first of the season long tailed ducks, calling on the bay. On the way back from the bay we heard a bird singing that we had trouble identifying by sound. A little further up the path we saw a beautiful Fox Sparrow that was responsible for the lovely song. Then a pair of Bluebirds dropped in to add to our morning.

Blydenburg County Park Recap

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today's walk was at Blydenburg County Park in Smithtown. The weather was spectacular, clear crisp and refreshing with bright sunshine and a nice breeze.

Eight of us enjoyed a nice fall walk. Highlights were a nice flock of kinglets that hung around for us all to get good looks. We had 21 species of birds as we walked our loop. Another highlight was two brown creepers which was a new bird for some of our folks. A nice day, and a nice walk.

There were a pair of pied billed grebes on the lake holding our attention.

Jones Beach West End Recap

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Sparrows everywhere you look. As can common be in the fall Jones Beach West End had migrating sparrows all around the grassy areas. We had 38 species of birds this morning, including 8 species of sparrows. Other birders saw an additional 32 species that we just missed.

The weather started out slightly overcast with some clouds. Then it gave way to bright sunshine and mild temperatures. There were many shorebirds o the sandbar. We had Oystercatchers, Black-bellied Plovers, Semi-palmated Sandpipers and Dunlin. There was a flock of Forsters terns flying around. In the bay were both Surf and Black Scoter.

A really nice day at the beach is always worth a good walk. The picture is of an immature White-crowned Sparrow.

Avalon Recap

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Recap and Photos by Vera Capogna

It was a beautiful, crisp autumn day for our Tuesday walk at Avalon Park and Preserve in Stony Brook on Oct 16. We scanned the pond with the scope before beginning our walk. In addition to the Mallards ans swans on the pond, we spotted a Black-Crowned Night Heron sitting in some dead branches over hanging the water, along with several Double-Crested Cormorants sitting in their normal position-- basking in the sunshine. Along the boardwalk we saw several warbler species and some of the group spotted a Blue-Headed Vireo. Carolina Wrens seemed to be singing everywhere, while we enjoyed long looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flitting around some trees along the fields. We stopped to admire a colorful cluster of mushrooms, chicken-of-the woods, growing on a tree trunk. A Red-Tailed Hawk made several appearances overhead, and much to our surprise, just as we we began heading back into the woods, we heard its raspy scream loud, long and clear so close ahead of us. A beautiful morning with a great bunch of people.

Robert Moses Recap

Tuesday, September 22, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today was scheduled at Robert Moses SP. The weather was very nice. We had northwest to North winds all morning after a cold front. These are excellent conditions for Hawk Watching at the platform.

We walked the boardwalk to the lighthouse and back to the Hawk Watch platform. We had a just a smattering of the usual suspects in the way of land birds. The sit at the platform made up for it. Thanks to the good winds there was a steady stream of raptors coming through. As usual Merlins made up the bulk of the migrating raptors. During our time at the platform I counted 18 Merlins, 3 Peregrines, 4 American Kestrel, 2 Northern Harriers and 4 Osprey. All in all a very good morning.

Dune Road Recap

Tuesday, September 22, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today was at Dune Road in Hampton bays. The initial weather was not very cooperative. Cooler temps plus a fog hampered viewing. The tides were extremely high due to a new moon and high tide plus some offshore winds. We could not get onto our off-road pullouts because of flooding.

While standing at the meeting spot we did see some shorebirds. It was a nice mix of Semi-palmated Plover, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Piping plover and Sanderling. Along Dune road we a had nice mix of waders, Great Egret, Snowy egret, Great Blue Heron and Green Heron. We had over 20 Great egrets, it seems the high tides were causing them to be more visible. Again we made the best of a not so good day.

Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside Recap

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today our walk was scheduled at the Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside. Again the weather forecast was not good and only a few folks showed up. The weather held off and allowed the few who attended to get our walk in. This site is always a great place to come, even if there are not a lot of birds the walk is enjoyable. The walkways around and through the marsh make for an easy and scenic walk We get to see shorebirds and waders up close. It is one of the more consistent places to see Yellow-crowned Nigh Herons. We did get a good look at one today. (Photo Bob Glasser)

After the MNSA we went to the Jones Beach Coast Guard Station where there were some shorebirds on the sandbar. There were over 70 American Oystercatchers hanging out on the beach. We can always find something to enjoy.

Birding & Breakfast Recap

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

On a beautiful morning we had thirty people attend our fall Birding and Breakfast. This program ia a joint effort between NYS Parks Connetquot State Park Preserve and Great South Bay Audubon Society. Parks provides the facilities and the birding presentation by Pam Hunter. GSBA provides funding for the breakfast and the leaders for the bird walks after the presentation. The bagels were donated by the Melville Deli.

The birding after the walk was very enjoyable. The folks were enthusiastic and the birds were cooperative. At the start of our walk we were greeted by the local Great Blue Heron. We then went to see the Red-headed Woodpeckers and did mange to see an immature, showing that breeding was successful again this year. Then our next target was a Ruby-throated Humming bird in the butterfly garden and again we were successful. Everyone got good looks. We had twenty four species of birds.

We also did see a Praying Mantis along the trail by the near marsh. I think this might be a Chinese Mantid. I would welcome an expert opinion (

GSBAS 2018 Bird Festival

Saturday, September 9, 2018

The GSBAS family had a great day of fun and games at Brookside County Park and learned all about our local bird species, met Ranger Eric's animal ambassadors, and enjoyed family hikes in the nature preserve, kids games, face painting and more! Thanks to everyone for making it a terrific event!

GSBAS 2018 June Outdoor Program

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Our program this year featured Ranger Eric Powers, host of the TV Show “Off The Trail”, and a bunch of his animal friends, as well as a multitude of animal artifacts, such as furs, feathers, skulls, sheds, and much more!

Photos by Vera Capogna

Oceanside Marine Nature Study Center Recap

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today our walk was at the Marine Nature Study Center in Oceanside. We had another good turnout for our walk. The weather was cooperative in that we had no rain, and temps were mild.

We were greeted by a Green heron and multiple Egrets. We had both Great and Snowy Egrets along our walk.

One of the Great Egrets is the official greeter at the site. It is used to the staff doing demonstrations for school students and he gets the leftover seafood from the seine nets. We then went to Jones Beach West End for a few minutes to finish the morning. We had good looks at Brown Thrashers.

We then walked to the beach side pavilion and saw Least Terns in their breeding colony.

Hempstead State Park Recap

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

A foggy misty morning turned into a clear day with bright sunshine to finish our walk at Hempstead State Park. A dozen folks participated and were not disappointed.

We had over thirty species of birds for the morning, including twelve warblers. We had great looks at Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue and Blackpoll warblers on our walk A Yellow-billed Cuckoo popped up on the return trail heading back to the parking lot.

A really nice surprise were a pair of Wood Ducks on the pond as we were finishing our walk. One of them posed in a tree for us to enjoy the finale for the morning.

Massapequa Preserve Recap

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Finally the weather has seemed to realize it is spring. We had a sunny, mild, and clear day for our Tuesday Nature walk. Today it was at Massapequa Preserve. The leaves on the trees are not fully out yet which made for easier viewing.

We had 33 species of birds, with five warblers and multiples of some of them. We did see four Black and White Warblers and four Yellow Warblers and Two Northern Parula. We did not see the Warbling Vireo which I usually expect here. There were three Forsters Terns circling the pond and a first of the year Catbird and Red-eyed Vireo.

All in all a nice day with some nice birds in a nice place.

Norman Levy Park Recap

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Oh what a beautiful morning, it could make a great song title. It was just spectacular this morning on our walk at Norman Levy park in Merrick. Bette Davis said it, "What a dump". The park is a recovered landfill. Nicely laid out for a great walk with different habitats as you walk around the trails.

We were greeted by the resident Monk Parakeets as we gathered at the beginning of the trail.

We walked to the top and back down seeing 25 species of birds despite the trees not having leafed out yet. At the end of the walk we spotted a Little Blue Heron to finish the day.


Connetquot River State Park Preserve Recap

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had our annual April walk at Connetquot River State Park Preserve Saturday, April 21. The weather was delightful. A warming feel to the air and bright sunshine and a crowd of 24 people made for a great walk.

We headed to the Mill hoping to see the resident Bald Eagle and were not disappointed. He did a flyover right on cue. We had a good raptor morning.  We also saw a Cooper's Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a number of Ospreys flying around. We had two early warblers, Pine warbler and Palm warbler. After explaining to the group about our Bluebird trail we spotted a pair of Eastern Bluebirds approaching box 14 seeming to prepare to nest. We wound up with 39 species for the morning. One of the best April trips I can remember.


Gardiners Park Recap

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson

Wow, another less than stellar day for one of our spring walks. It will get better. The temps were in the forties with a brisk bone chilling wind. Eleven hardy souls ventured forth to see what we could see.

Apparently the birds also felt the impact of the weather and decided to sleep in. We did persist though and managed to squeak out some nice birds for the morning.Some highlights were Great Egrets and Ospreys flying overhead. There were Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds galore. A few Cardinals and both American and Fish crow were around.

On the way back to the parking lot a Snowy Egret Joined us on the pathway

Birding and Breakfast Recap

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Recap by Ken Thompson - Photos by Bob Labuski

Thank goodness for a break in the weather. The rain stopped, the temperatures rose and we managed to have another successful Birding & Breakfast program. The program is presented by NYS Parks staff at Connetquot SPP, The Friends of Connetquot supply the breakfast and Great South Bay Audubon helps lead the field walks after the presentation.

After the presentation by Pam Hunter of the Park Staff, we went outside to do our walk starting at the main lake. The walk leaders were Helga Merryman, Bob and Edith Wilson, Jack Carlson, and Ken Thompson with assistance from Dave Masone.

At the lake we saw a good sampling of ducks. There were, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Northern Pintail, Mute Swan, Bufflehead, Canada Goose and as we were ready to leave there two Common Merganser flew in to top off the morning. We the walked in the park and managed to see a good sampling of winter landbirds.

Again, another well received Birding and Breakfast, come and join us May 13, 2018 for our next scheduled Birding and Breakfast. It's always a good time.