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

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.

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.