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Nature Walk/Event Recap and Reports

GSBAS Nature Walk - Elizabeth A. Morton NWR

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had our annual pilgrimage to Morton NWR today. The early weather was warm and we had overcast skies and a brief shower. We stared down the trails and were greeted by a couple of the resident birds

The wild turkey flock was hangnig around the building complex early before most of the folks arrived. The Red-tailed Hawk seem to be there every year along the trail beginning.

Further down the trail we saw a frog jump along the ground on the edge of the path. It was reddish in color and blended with the fallen leaves very well.

My field guide identified it as a "Spring Peeper", what it doing out in the fall I have no idea. And what is a walk at Morton without feeding some of the tame birds, A tufted Titmouse enjoyed it's snack.

It was a good walk we did see some fall ducks, Longtails, Red-breasted Mergansers and Buffleheads on the bay, along with Common Loon and Surf scoters.

Another enjoyable and fun trip to Morton NWR.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, November 15 2015

Recap by John Gluth and Alice Heller, GSBAS Trip Co-leaders

GSBAS's Wertheim Nature Walk took place Sunday, November 15 2015, a delightfully sunny fall morning, crisp to start and warming nicely throughout. Trip co-leaders John Gluth and Alice Heller, 12 eager attendees, and National Wildlife Refuge Ranger Therese Schaffner assembled at the refuge visitor center, from where we caravanned out to Wertheim’s Impoundment Area to begin our Nature/birding Walk.

Among a total of 34 species observed, highlights mostly involved raptors: two (2) immature Bald Eagles soaring together; a Peregrine Falcon, and multiple (3-4 each) Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Harriers and Red-tailed hawks, the latter frequently giving their telltale “keeeer” vocalizations. Other interesting birds included a Rusty Blackbird in flight, a Great Blue Heron perched atop a snag providing good photo ops, and three (3) Greater Yellowlegs. Despite repeated efforts, we could not get a Virginia rail to emerge or at least call from within the dense reeds of the Impoundment Area. Non-avian highlights included: a buck White-tailed Deer with an 8-point rack of antlers drinking water, and a wooly bear caterpillar (Isabella Tiger moth larva).

Photos are courtesy of Jody Banaszak, Bob Glasser and Vera Capogna. Thanks to Vera Capogna who was kind enough to share her home baked pumpkin muffins – which were delicious, of course! And thanks to all who joined another of GSBAS’s adventures in this very special – permit only – area of Wertheim. And special thanks to Ranger Therese Schaffner, for answering myriad questions and educating us all.

P.S. Jody and Alice, on their ways home, both saw an adult Bald Eagle in flight while driving north on Horseblock Road en route to Sunrise Highway. They clearly saw its white head and tail against the clear blue sky!

Complete bird species list:

  1. Rusty Blackbird
  2. Pied-billed Grebe
  3. Mute Swan
  4. Gadwall
  5. American Black Duck
  6. Green-winged Teal
  7. Hooded Merganser
  8. Bald Eagle
  9. Northern harrier
  10. Sharp-shinned hawk
  11. Red-tailed hawk
  12. Peregrine Falcon
  1. Greater Yellowlegs
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Black-backed Gull
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. Herring Gull
  6. Mourning Dove
  7. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  8. Downy Woodpecker
  9. Northern Flicker
  10. American Crow
  11. Black-capped Chickadee
  12. Tufted Titmouse (H = Heard)
  1. Winter Wren (H)
  2. Carolina Wren (H)
  3. Eastern Blue bird (H)
  4. Cardinal (H)
  5. American Robin
  6. Song Sparrow
  7. Swamp Sparrow
  8. Dark-eyed Junco
  9. Red-winged Blackbird
  10. American Goldfinch

GSBAS Nature Walk - Blydenburgh Park

Saturday, November 3, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

With temperatures in the high sixties and bright sunshine and no wind we started our morning birding. The birds must have slept in on such a nice day. The birding was slow to start and to finish. In the middle of the walk we took a side path and headed into a grove of Cedars. As we entered we spotted a flock of Cedar waxwings eating the berries on the cedars. Then all of a sudden an explosion of Robins, from all the trees in the area, flew over our heads and headed somewhere else. Then a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew chasing the Robins and any other bird it could get to. It was interesting to see the quick unanimous hasty exit by the smaller birds. He who hesitates is lost.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Heckscher State Park

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today at Heckscher State park was highlighted by bright sunshine and brilliant fall colors in the trees. We discussed how Bright and colorful the fall foliage has been on Long Island this year. There is no need to go upstate for fall leaf peeping when we have such a show here on L.I.

The birding was again somewhat slow in the woods so we went to Field 7 and checked the bay shore. We walked the bike path through to Field 8 and in scanning the shore line we discovered some remaining shore birds. There were fifteen Black-bellied Plovers, seven Dunlin and seven Sandrlings tucked away on the shore line. A pleasant surprise for this location and season.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Caumsett State Park

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We started out on a cool brisk morning in Caumsett State Park with clouds and wind. We ended with sunshine and a nice day. There were plenty of birds to go around as we walked the many open acres of a beautiful north shore park.

Soon after discussing whether we might see some Bluebirds, they sure enough popped up for all to see. There was flock of about fifteen working the berry vines in a group of trees. They were flying and hopping and making a racket in the trees and vines. We spent a good amount of time enjoying them.

The park has many open fields and fields with horse paddocks. We walked around the perimeters and enjoyed the horses in the pasture as well the birds working the edges. In a lower pasture we watched a pair of Red-tailed hawks circling and calling. We had four raptor species for the morning, Red-tailed, Cooper's, Sharp-shinned and Northern Harrier. Over all we had over thirty species of birds for our efforts this morning.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Jones Beach West End

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today's walk wast at a blustery Jones Beach West End. Heavy winds out of the west had all the birds hunkered down, but us persistent birders managed to get some birds for the morning.

There was a beautiful Peregrine falcon sitting on top of the Coast Guard radio antenna. He was holding on for dear life. We scraped an assortment of sparrows out of the bushes as the were trying to stay out of the wind. We saw Savannah, Song, Swamp, White-crowned, White-throated, Chipping and Slate Colored Juncoes. You can always find something.

There were large numbers of Tree Swallows and Flickers and Yellow-rumped Warblers migrating through the beach area.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Robert Moses State Park

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

What a gorgeous morning for a walk. We had clear air, bright sunshine and little wind. A perfect fall morning to walk along the beach side in the park. The patches of goldenrod were being frequented by migrating Monarch Butterflies.

We had a fairly good bird migration today also. There were plenty of Eastern Phoebes and our first of the season Kinglets. Both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned were feeding in the cedars in the swales, We walked all the to the Fire Island Lighthouse, stopping at the Hawk Watch platform to see Merlins, Kestrels and Sharp-shinned Hawks flying by. We also saw our first of the season White-throated Sparrows, and Slate-colored Juncoes. The seasons are changing, get out in nature and enjoy.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Massapequa Preserve

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today was at Massapequa Preserve. The sky was overcast and the temperature was warm, humidity was high. It is early in the fall season and there were no new ducks on the pond, There was a pair of Mute Swams with six cygnets.

The land birds were scarce also. We did spend some time discussing and observing the wild flowers along the pathway. On of the wild flowers was Jewelweed, or sometimes called Touch Me Not. It is liked by humingbirds. It also has medicinal properties. It is known to relieve itches from insect bites. Another plant was Chicory, the roots can be dried and ground to make a substitute coffee.

There is more to our walks than just birds.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Robert Moses State Park

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

The sun was shining through the clouds as we approached Robert Moses SP for our weekend nature walk. As it peeked through one area it created a sun dog, sort of a mini rainbow light display, a nice way to start our day.

We gathered in the parking lot and then walked the boardwalk to the Lighthouse. It was relatively quiet. On our return we stopped at the hawkwatch platform to spend time ad hopefully see some raptors. We had a couple of Merlins fly by, and just as we were leaving a Northern Harrier flew by and gave us a good show. It was slow at the watch as well.

Then we drove to Jones Beach West End. On the distant sandbar in the inlet there were a couple of hundred Black Skimmers with young. Steve D'Amato spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull resting on the near bar. We finished the trip up by walking the roads and median and then called it a day. We had 32 species for the day. It took some work but it was worth it for a nice day walking on the beach.

GSBAS Nature Walk - Jamaica Bay

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

A slow day at Jamaica Bay still beats a days work. The weather started chilly an warmed up as the day went on. The birding started slow and stayed slow throughout the morning. Still, all in all, we managed with a little effort to turn up 24 species of birds. We had Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Heron and a flyover immature Black-crowned Night Heron. The usual suspects, Mockingbirds, Catbirds and Cardinals were around also. We did turn up three species of Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Rumped and American Redstart. Again making the best of what nature gives us.

GSBAS Nature Walk Oceanside MNSA

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today we did a nature walk at the at the Oceanside Nature Study Area. The weather was delightful in the early morning, Beautiful, crisp, clean air,  and really bright sunshine which highlighted the colors. The color of the water was a deep blue and the marsh grass, the spartina, had a golden hue to it. With a light breeze the ripples of both the grass and the water were very pleasant to look at.We some of the usual suspects, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Palm warblers were on the pathways accompanied by Common Yellowthroats.

Then we decided to go to Jones Beach West End at the Coast Guard station to look for migrants. Sometimes things work out well. We had some really nice birds to look at right in the hedgerow by the Coast Guard building. The highlight was a Dickcissel, a very pretty bird, rare to see and always pleasure to enjoy. We had some warblers as well.  We saw Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Common Yellowthroat and Pine warbler. There were looks at Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a tree full of Cedar Waxwings.

Birding & Breakfast At Connetquot River State Park Preserve Recap/h2>

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

On Saturday Sept 12, we had our fall Birding and Breakfast. This is an event sponsored and supported by Connetquot River SPP staff, The Friends of Connetquot park support group, and Great South Bay Audubon Society. This is a very popular event, well attended and drawing a lot of repeat attendees.

Prior to the presentations we had a continental breakfast supplied by the Friends of Connetquot. There were pastries, cake, bagels, fruit coffee and tea and juice. The bagels are provided by the Melville Deli. The tables were set and folks fixed their plates and sat for the presentation. As we are approaching fall and the change of seasons Pam Hunter, from the park staff did a presentation on the changing of the birds as they prepare for fall and winter. It was very informative and showed the different plumage on some of the birds as they change from breeding to non breeding.

After the presentation the Great South Bay Audubon Folks led two groups for a bird walk in and around the park. We saw over twenty species of birds and the highlights were, Northern Flicker, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. For a finale a Great Blue Heron did a beautiful flyover.

A good time was had by all and we are looking forward to our next Birding and Breakfast scheduled for Saturday January 16, 2016. Come and join us it's a lot of fun.

Shinecock Inlet and Dune Road, Hampton Bays Recap

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Recap by Vera Capogna

A hot and muggy morning, made bearable by a beautiful ocean breeze, brought us some good looks at some shorebirds at the inlet. Through the scope we watched several Semipalmated Sandpipers foraging on moss-covered rocks along the jetty.

There were nine of us that showed up to bird, and we proceeded to caravan along Dune Road. On the bay side, we spotted Great Egrets, Great Bue Herons, American Oystercatchers, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs, willets, Semipalmated Plovers, more Semipalmated Sandpipers, and dowitchers.

The highlight of the trip was witnessing the amazing migration of thousands of tree swallows. They flew in swarms overhead, stopping intermittently to rest on the tops of some low trees. Helga Merryman reminded us that not only do they eat insects, but tree swallows also will eat bayberries, which were abundant all around the parking lot area at Tiana Beach.

At the end of Triton Lane, Bob Wilson heard a clapper rail, but it never appeared for us to view. Abandoned osprey nests along the way were constant reminders of the summer’s end.

It was a beautiful and enjoyable morning. Quoting one of our new members: "This is so much fun!"

Heckscher State Park Recap

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We stared our fall season of Tuesday Nature Walks today at Heckscher State Park. The temperature was getting warmer as the day progressed. The first attempt at birding was thwarted by a a horde of mosquitoes. As we moved out of the wind into the wetter area the mosquitoes were fierce. We regrouped at the water front where there was a breeze and were much more comfortable.

We saw several lingering Ospreys, a few Eastern Kingbirds, some Mockingbirds and a Downy Woodpecker. There was a Killdeer on the road median and a Spotted Sandpiper at the bayside watre edge.

A nice start to our fall season. Come join us.

Hummingbird Sanctuary Nature Walk

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recap by Alice Heller, GSBAS Trip Coordinator

On Saturday, August 15, 2015, a very humid summer August morning, GSBAS's Hummer Nature Walk took place with 18 +/- attendees and Field Trip Coordinator, Alice Heller, all meeting Paul Adams at his Private Hummingbird Sanctuary in Baiting Hollow.

First time attendees, and many of us returning attendees, chose to walk around Paul’s hummer sanctuary to find ourselves in awe of its beautiful garden setting, and then proceeded to locate a chair or a bench to sit on and quietly await the sighting of our first hummer. Paul’s hummers of course do not ever disappoint; the hummers visited all the natural, dazzling array of flowering: plants, container plants and shrubs, in addition to the many tube feeders. Silver spotted Skippers and Black Swallowtail butterflies were plentiful too! Hummers zoomed overhead by us, but then quickly and immediately away and out of sight, only to again reappear shortly. 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 and shrubs in this section, most notably Paul’s shrimp plant.

Paul Adams, as always, 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. We were all treated to yet again another wonderful visit this August to Paul's special Private Humming Bird Sanctuary.

GSBAS sends a thank you for the wonderful photographs taken that day and shared by some of GSBAS’s attending members, Jody Banaszak, Steve D’Amato, and Ellen Merryman. Take particular note of Steve D’Amato’s hummer picture at a tube feeder, where it appears the hummer’s wings aren’t even moving. Using a Canon T5i, Steve points out the fact that the shutter speed of the camera was able to actually stop the wingbeat of the hummingbird in flight. And Steve D’Amato did some research and found: "...It said that the normal flight and hovering wingbeats/sec ranged between 40-80 wingbeats/sec but could reach as much as 200 wingbeats/sec during courtship dives."

Also of note a Brown Thrasher was identified by Steve D’Amato, after Annette Brownell pointed out the bird sitting high on top of one of Paul’s evergreen trees. I thought it was an odd place for a Brown thrasher to be sighted, but Steve assured me it was not!

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: You can also visit via this link: Our Chapter will be making a donation in support of this project!

Mine and GSBAS’s sincere thanks to our host, Paul Adams for scheduling this August 2015 GSBAS Hummer Nature Walk.

Before leaving, Paul said to me that he looks forward to seeing GSBAS in August 2016! So mark your calendars for August 2016 to again make the visit with GSBAS to Paul’s private hummingbird sanctuary.

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.

GSBAS Guided Nature Hike at West Oak Recreation Corporation (WORC), West Sayville

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Recap by Janet Gremli

Thursday, August 13, 2015 began with temperatures in the low 80's and bright sunshine. It was a perfect day for a summer hike. At the West Oak Recreation Corporation (WORC), a group of about 25 adults, teens and children gathered at the north end of The Crooked Mile. It was here that we began our private Nature hike for the summer community of WORC. The hike was led by Janet Gremli and Peter Schramel as part of a community outreach program for GSBAS. The tour began with a brief history of the site provided by Ed Brunswick, a longtime community member. The property, located on Montauk Highway in the hamlet of Oakdale, was once part of the estate of Frederick Bourne, president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In 1945, the land became a private summer colony. Of the 253 acre parcel, 150 acres are protected from development.

Our hike traversed the winding trail, densely populated with poison ivy, cat brier, bittersweet and Virginia creeper. Low bush blueberry, bayberry and Eastern Baccharis, full of sweet scented flowers, filled the voids beneath the canopy of black cherry, white oak, Eastern red cedar, red swamp maple, pitch pine and white birch. As hikers meandered along Indian Creek, they were serenaded by catbirds, cedar wax wings and hairy woodpeckers along the trail. Up above, the high-pitched peeping of an osprey allowed for easy location of the beautiful raptor. This fish-eating bird of prey, with a wingspan of close to six feet, was found nesting in the top of a dead pitch pine. The pre-historic looking nest was enormous and appeared to occupy the full crown of the pitch pine. Teaching the hikers to be keen on observing clues in nature, large gills from fish were pointed out along the trail before locating the osprey nest. Noting the heavy, white droppings from the birds, it could be determined that the osprey were feeding on the fish while perched in the trees near to the nest.

Along our path, the leathery, white, curled eggshells in the shallow hollow of sand along the shore, were an indication that Eastern Painted Turtles had recently vacated their nest. How lucky were we to observe a baby turtle poke it's head from the 2 inch diameter hole it called home! After several attempts to climb from beneath the earth, the turtle returned to the cool comforts below.

Our walk ended where the trail transitioned from deciduous woods to salt marsh. Sea lavender, phragmites, Russian olive, spike grass, purple thistle, Queen Anne's lace and salt spray rose formed dense thickets between the Great South Bay and the trail. Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons could be observed feeding in the tidal wetlands.

A jewel of Nature, The Crooked Mile proved to delight all of those who hiked it's humble trail.

Annual Outdoor Program at Brookside County Park

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Recap by Vera Capogna

On June 18 Great South Bay hosted their annual Outdoor Program at Brookside County Park. We had large turnout, despite the threat of rain, and were entertained by Sue Krauss of Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown. She brought owls, falcons, hawks and other animals for all to view. The audience learned a lot of interesting facts about these creatures and a good time was had by all.

Lakeland County Park Recap

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today was our last Tuesday Nature walk of the 2015 spring season. We were at Lakeland County Park in Ronkonkoma. As we left the parking lot we were greeted with the sounds of a Wood Thrush singing. What a great way to start or walk. We spotted the Thrush as we walked further down the path. It seemed to be hanging around in the area. We spotted a nest and left so it could return. At the end of our walk we again headed down the same path and this time saw the Thrush on the nest. A very nice sight to see.

The rest of our walk was heading south from the parking lot on the boardwalk. It is a very nice park with boardwalks and paths. We heard more birds than we saw but it was a great place for a walk in the woods. We did see some of the usual woodland birds expected at this time of year. We also happened to see a Muskrat in the streams. It was a nice walk to finish our season.

Shinnecock Inlet/Dune Road Recap

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our Tuesday trip this week was to Shinnecock Inlet/Dune Rd, Westhampton. Despite miserable damp weather six birders showed up to brave the elements and do some birdwatching. We did well considering the light rain and cold and damp weather. We tallied over thirty species for the day. The main feature was shorebirds. We saw Piping Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstones, Dowitchers, Skimmers, Yellowlegs, Willets Oystercatchers and Semi-palmated Sandpipers. Our next trip, at Lakeland Park in Ronkonkoma, will be the last of this spring season.

Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area Recap

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our walk today was at Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area. We had spectacular weather, sunshine, mild temperatures but with a little bit of wind. We saw what one would expect see at Oceanside. There were a pair of Black-Crowned Night herons and a pair of Yellow-crowned Night herons stalking in the low tide areas at a very close distance. The resident Ospreys were on the nest at the bay side. We had a smattering of shorebirds, Willets, Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers and Semi-palmated Plovers. All the boardwalk trails have been restored or replaced. It was a nice morning with some nice birds.

Jamaica Bay Recap

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We did the last of our weekend walks at Jamaica Bay this Saturday May, 23.  The weather was a little cool and windy, but crisp and clear. We met in the parking lot and first went to the west pond old trail. The trail does not go completely around the west pond due to Superstorm Sandy. We walked out to the breech and turned around and went back to the gardens. We walked both gardens and also went to the far side marsh on the north of the west pond. There we had a spectacular view of the NYC skyline and the new Freedom Tower.

Birding was very good. We had over forty species of birds for the morning. We managed to see a few warblers, Yellow, Blackpoll Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia and lots of American Redstarts. At big John's Pond we had some very good looks at a Spotted Sandpiper, a bathing Blackpoll Warbler and a hunting Yellow warbler.

Hempstead Lake State Park Recap

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Again we made the best of an overcast cloudy, misty day to do our birding in. Hempstead usually provides a good morning of birding, and during this one we had over thirty species. Right at the parking lot we started hearing birds, we picked up Blackpoll, Northern Parula, and American Redstart warblers right away. As we walked further down the path a Wood Thrush started singing, always a pleasant sound in the woods. We saw Blue-grey Gnatcatchers and Robins sitting on nests. Warbling Vireos were singing and being seen everywhere.

After Hempstead Park we went to Jones beach West End where we saw an Eastern Kingbird sitting on the roadside. All in all another good morning of birding.

Massapequa Preserve Recap

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Our Tuesday walk this week was at Massapequa Preserve. We had warm temperatures and sunshine for most of the walk, a really nice day. Eleven folks showed up to enjoy a morning of birding and nature. Over the years the preserve has always given us plenty of Warbling Vireos to look at, today was no different. They were everywhere giving us all good looks. A nest was observed as it was being constructed by a Warbling Vireo. We had thirty species of birds. At the end of the walk a Fowlers Toad was spotted hopping alongside the trail A nice day and a nice walk appreciating Nature.

Birding and Breakfast Recap

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

Today we had another successful Birding and Breakfast at Connetquot State park preserve. Over forty people showed up on what started out as a cloudy, foggy morning. As we were having our breakfast and listening to the birding lecture, the skies cleared, the sun came out and we wound up with a spectacular morning.

We do these events three times a year, in September January and May. They are always well attended. It is a coordinated event between The NYS Parks staff at Connetquot SPP, The Friends of Connetquot support group and Great South Bay Audubon. The Parks folks set up the room and prepare and serve the food. The bagels are provided by the Melville deli, the rest of the food is donated by the friends of Connetquot. The parks staff does the bird presentations, and Great South Bay Audubon does the leading of the walks. The Friends of Connetquot also provide moral support.

Over thirty species of birds were seen on the morning's walk. As we left the building a Red-tailed Hawk was seen up close. it was sitting on a fence right near the Grist mill.Later it was perched in a tree. It was sitting in the sunlight just waiting and watching. Everyone enjoyed the moment. There were Baltimore Orioles everywhere you looked and we had regular flyovers by Osprey.

A great morning was enjoyed by all attendees, come and join us next time.

Belmont State Park Recap

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had to work for our birds this morning. One would expect a better list at this time of year but we have to take what nature gives us. We had twenty two species of birds. Every one helped find them. It gave us a lot of time to talk about the wonderful dinner the night before.

As we walk in different locations we develop names for certain areas to help us reference where we have seen birds within the parks. One of our favorites in Belmont is a place we call " the dump". It is an area where the park folks deposit removed or damaged trees, shrubs, and branches etc. This year it gave us our bird of the day, a beautiful Ruby-throated Humming bird. We did see some Warbling Vireos and a pair of Baltimore Orioles later in the walk. We did the best we could.

Central Park Recap

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Recap by John Gluth

This year’s Great South Bay Audubon Central Park field trip drew 20 eager birders into the heart of NYC. We lucked out with fine weather and ample numbers of beautiful migrant birds.

Per tradition, we assembled at the W. 77th Street entrance to the park. From there our route took us along the shores of the lake to Hernshead, after which we proceeded via the Bank Rock bridge over the Lake’s upper lobe into the woodlands of the Ramble. After a brief break for breakfast at the Boathouse, we moved on to Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond, the Delacourt Theatre and the Shakespeare Garden, then back into the Ramble to visit Azalea Pond before retracing our steps back to 77th Street. Along the way we enjoyed encounters with 15 species of warbler, 4 vireos and 3 thrushes. Highlights included Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Blue-winged, Magnolia, Nashville and Prairie warblers, Blue-headed and Yellow-throated vireos, Wood Thrush and Veery, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Baltimore Oriole. Other notable birds included Great Egret, Red-tailed Hawk, Chimney Swift and Savannah Sparrow.

All told, it was a very enjoyable day of birding, which nearly lived up to the anticipation that this trip generates every year.

Norman Levy Preserve Recap

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

This week at Norman Levy Preserve, in Merrick, we had a gorgeous morning for our walk. Mild temperature and bright sunshine, but with a little bit of wind.

The walk is on a reclaimed landfill, showing that some good can come from reclamation efforts. We walked the trail from the base up to the top of the preserve. At the top there are panoramic views of Long Island. Today the New York City skyline was clearly visible.

The birding highlights were, a Greater Yellowlegs out of the water showing the length and color of the leg, some first of the season Willets and a very cooperative Black and White Warbler.

After Norman Levy we went to Jones beach where some of us got to see four Crows chasing and harassing two Common Ravens.

Gardiner's Park Recap

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

The weather couldn't make up it's mind this morning. Some sun, some clouds, and brief shower were the theme for this morning's walk at Gardiner's Park in Bayshore.

We had thirteen people show up. We did our usual walk down to the bay and back. Birding was slow but we did have a highlight. An Indigo Bunting was spotted and seen by most but not all of the group as it disappeared quickly. We had some woodpeckers and lots of Robins. Warblers should be coming soon.

We all enjoyed the walk and are looking forward to next week at Norman Levy preserve in Merrick, Nassau County at 9:00 am.

Connetquot State Park Recap

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

The weather today can only be described by a "WOW." We had our annual spring walk at Connetquot State Park Preserve this morning. We were joined by several students from the East Islip School district. The honors biology program requires the students to participate in a nature walk with an organization. Today we had at least ten students plus parents join us for our walk.

They couldn't have picked a better day. Great weather and great things to look at. We had birds flying, frogs singing, turtles basking in the sun and many different spring plants. To highlight the day an adult Bald Eagle flew over the lake as we were wrapping up the morning. Earlier on we had really good looks at Yellow-throated Warblers near the main building. Overall we had more than forty species of birds for the day.

The kids had a good time, it is good to see them being introduced to the outdoors and we can hope they will continue be interested in nature in the future as well.

Robert Moses State Park Recap

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

A small group of fearless and optimistic birders showed up at Robert Moses State Park hoping for the rain to stop so we could do some birding. As it was raining at the start, we decided to do some "Birding by Car". we would drive the edges of the parking lots and see what we could see. When we got to Field 2 the rain was subsiding. We got out and started to walk and by the time we were done the rain had stopped, so we did manage to squeeze in a morning's birding.

We wound up with thirty species of birds. Highlights were a pair of Oystercatchers in one of the Field 5 parking lot grass islands by the entrance. The real treat was a Peregrine Falcon in the middle of Field 2 parking lot sitting on a traffic cone. It then dropped down into a puddle to drink and bathe, making the best of a wet day.

West End Jones Beach Walk Recap

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Photos and Recap by Mike Cooper

On February 7th, ten Great South Bay birders came out for our annual West End Jones Beach trip. Crusty snow made getting around a little tricky, but we managed to find 44 species, with a couple of nice winter sightings. A large finch flock dropped in and allowed us to get nice looks at Common Redpolls. Redpolls are irruptive, and don’t move into our area every winter so these were a nice treat. Several of us saw one or possibly two different Rough-legged Hawks. Other raptors included several Northern Harriers, and singles of Sharp-shined, Red-tailed, Merlin, and possibly a glimpse of the Northern Goshawk that had been hunting in the area for the past few weeks. We ran into several large groups of Horned Larks, each of them containing a couple of Lapland Longspurs. The bay near the Coast Guard Station produced nice looks at the usuals- Horned Grebes, loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw) and a distant flock of a hundred or so Common Eider. Over at the field 10 fishing piers, a couple of Ruddy Turnstones fed under the docks, and off on one of the bay islands a large congregation of Harbor Seals was hauled up on an island.

Birding and Breakfast Recap

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had our annual winter Birding and Breakfast this past January 17. This is a function sponsored and supported by three organizations. NYS Parks is the host at the Connetquot River State park Preserve. Great South Bay Audubon Society provides the nature walk leaders. The Friends of Connetquot supplied the breakfast and moral support.

Breakfast was at 8:00, the room was full. Coffee and juice and tea were served along with fruit and cake and bagels. After a hearty breakfast we started with a presentation by Pam Hunter, of potential winter birds that might be seen. Pam reviewed the ducks that would probably be on the pond and some of the land birds we might see as we walked the park trails.

After breakfast we headed to the pond. At the pond, with a very cooperating sunny day, we saw most of the ducks that was presented in the earlier session. Highlights were Common mergansers, Canvasbacks, Northern Pintail, Red Head and all the expected regulars. We spent time making sure everyone saw all the ducks that were there.

Then we walked the trails and again saw almost all the birds that were presented in the morning. The selection for the presentation by the park staff was spot on. High lights were Both Red and White-breasted Nuthatches. There were Chickadees and Titmice and White- throated sparrows hanging around the feeders. We saw a couple of different woodpeckers,We saw Red-bellied, Downy and a highlight was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which gave everyone great looks. Some groups saw a Red Fox scamper across the paddock, and some folks saw a Bald Eagle fly over the main pond.

It was a beautiful winter day with mild temperatures and bright sunshine. Everyone had a good time and the birds were very cooperative. We saw over thirty species of birds. Winter birding can be fun. NYS parks and GSBAS and Friends of Connetquot would like to thank every one for coming and enjoying our park.

Montauk Nature Walk Recap

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Recap by Ken Thompson

We had our kickoff of GSBAS weekend field trips at Montauk Point this weekend. Eight hardy birders showed up on a cold windy day. the temperatures were in the teens with the winds out of the WNW at 10 knots increasing to 15 to 20. It was cold but not as cold as we have had on other trips.

Birding at the point was pretty quiet excepting for the steady stream of Common Eiders flying from the west to the east all morning long. There were thousands of them, they were every where you looked. Seeing masses of birds is one of the reasons we go to Montauk in January, the seabirds tend to congregate and put on a show.

On our way to Dune Road after finishing Montauk, Bob Grover spotted a large bird soaring overhead. We all pulled over to look at what was determined to be a Golden Eagle, treat number one. That is a great find for Long Island. Later on Dune Road, we pulled into Triton Lane and someone pointed out a Snowy Owl to us, treat number two. A little further down Dune Road we spotted an American Bittern sunning itself in a roadside ditch, treat number three.

We had a greatfinish to a great day of birding with a hardy bunch of birders.