Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
|Date: June 11-12, 2011
Location: Basha Kill, Shawangunks NWR, Doodletown
Reported by: Joe Giunta
Our group of 14 birders left the Audubon Center on 23rd St. at 9am. The weather forecast for the next two days was for rain but we actually had no rain on our trip. We got lucky and we got lucky with the great birds that we would find on our trip. After about one hour and fifteen minutes, with one stop along the way, we reached our first destination, Doodletown. We walked halfway up the entrance hill and encountered some great birds. First was a singing Redstart quickly followed by a Cerulean Warbler. Next bird was a Hooded Warbler. Within fifteen minutes we had seen three of our target birds for this location. Our group walked along the trail seeing other birds like Scarlet Tanager and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. When we reached the intersection of Lemon Road and Doodletown Road we found two other key target birds. We saw a Worm-eating Warbler carrying food and then heard and saw a Yellow-throated Vireo singing his song. Also present close by were male and female Indigo Buntings. We continued seeing and hearing other birds like Blue-winged Warbler, Wood Pewee and Eastern Phoebe. We had lunch by the Doodletown Reservoir and picked up two more species, Louisiana Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat. At about 1:30 we would leave this spot, get in the van and head towards our next destination, Baskakill. Making one stop along the way it would take us about one hour to get to this venue.
Our first stop at Basha Kill was along Haven Road. Here we would see and hear two more target birds for our trip. In the marsh on the north side of Haven Road was a singing American Bittern. It was a great sight as we were able to put the bird in the scope and see the notes of its song formed in its throat. This would be the highlight of the trip for some people. Next we heard and saw a Common Moorhen. This bird was swimming, in the open, from one side of the marsh to the other. We left this part of Basha Kill and drove to the ‘Main Boat Launch’ area. Here we would scope a Bald Eagle nest, with young, and scope an Osprey nest, also with young. We then took the trail going north and saw and heard a Least Flycatcher. Next was an uncooperative Virginia Rail. We heard the bird but only had poor views. We would try for this bird again tomorrow. Our group got back in the van and drove to the ‘South Road’ parking lot. Here we would hear, but not see, Sora and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. At about 5:30 we headed towards our hotel, the Day’s Inn of Wurtsboro. This is the fourth time we have made this trip to Basha Kill and the fourth time that we have used this hotel. I highly recommend it as it is very clean, quiet and perfectly placed to maximize birding in the area. At 6:30 we left the hotel and had dinner at a local restaurant, Danny’s.
After dinner, at 8:45pm, came the highlight of the trip for most people. We boarded the van and drove to Upper Pine Kill Road where in front of number 218 we saw and heard a Whip-poor-will. The bird flew over us a few times and then perched on a dead branch completely in the open. It was an ‘amazing’ sight and one that we may never forget. We left this area and drove back to the hotel arriving back just before 10pm.
On Sunday, our second day, we would have breakfast at 6am and be on the van by 6:30am for birding. We would drive about one mile to the McDonald Ave entrance to the D&H Canal. In all my birding experiences this is still one of the most beautiful places to visit. One change this year from last year was that a beaver was constructing a dam and the water flow was somewhat changed. I wonder how this will affect the birding here in the future. The first bird seen was a very cooperative Veery. The bird was singing from an exposed perch. We walked the north part of the trail seeing and hearing Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Pine Warbler. A key target bird of the trip, Alder Flycatcher, was only heard. His singing was coming from across the canal in an area which we could not access. A miss was the Golden-winged Warbler. The area where I had the Golden-wings for the last three years didn’t have any. It was a disappointment. We left this area of the canal and walked the trail to the south side. At this spot we heard a bird singing the song of a Blue-winged Warbler but when we saw the bird it was a Brewster’s Warbler. In a way this was a made up for the miss of the Golden-wing. Next came another highlight of the trip, a Pileated Woodpecker flew over us about four times. Everyone had great looks. At about 10:30 we left this spot and traveled about one mile to Gumaer Falls Road. This road goes up the mountain to a height of about 1500 feet and into a Pine-Hemlock forest. This area is also extremely beautiful with an understory of Mountain Laurel. Here we would see different birds like Blackburnian Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. A new bird for the trip was a Dark-eyed Junco. The bird was singing at the top of the mountain. This year we missed the Acadian Flycatcher and Winter Wren. They were birds that we had seen at this spot in prior years. At about 12 noon we left this area and headed towards a deli for sandwiches and a lunch break. We ate lunch at a nice spot in the ‘Main Boat Launch’ parking area. This spot was right next to the Virginia Rail location. We took a short walk along the trail hoping to see the bird. This time we were much more successful. We saw the bird walking through the marsh at a distance of about 15 feet. Everybody was happy.
We went back to the hotel, checked out and headed towards our last venue, Shawangunks NWR. It would take us just under one hour to reach this venue. Just before reaching the ‘Gunks’ we had a stop at Blue Chip horse farm. Here we scoped the fields and within about 5 minutes we located an Upland Sandpiper. The bird was perched on top of a fence post. It was a medium scope view. There were Bluebirds perched on another fence, close by, and everyone got good views of them. We went back to the van, drove about a mile and entered the Shawangunks NWR from the Galeville Park area as the main area was under construction. Here we saw many Bobolinks and a few Meadowlarks. Also present were a Field Sparrow and a Northern Harrier that flew over the grasslands. Just like last year we again had information that a colony of Bank Swallows was close by. We drove about a mile to an uncompleted subdivision development off of Albany Post Road and Galeville Road. Here we would see many Bank Swallows flying around and entering the cavities that they created in a dirt bank. It was about 3:30 and we decided to return to NYC. With one stop along the way we arrived back at 23rd St. at 6pm. It was a great trip enjoyed by all.
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-throated Green Warbler
Species seen - 91