Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
|Date: June 9-10, 2012
Location: Basha Kill, Shawangunks NWR, Doodletown
Reported by: Joe Giunta
Our group of 11 birders left the Audubon Center on 23rd St. at 9am. The weather forecast for the next two days was for on and off rain showers. After about one hour and fifteen minutes, with one stop along the way, we reached our first destination, Doodletown. It was slightly raining, which reduced the amount of singing that is usually heard at this time of year. We walked halfway up the entrance hill and encountered some great birds. First was a male Redstart quickly followed by a Cerulean Warbler. Cerulean Warbler is quite common along Doodletown road and before we left Doodletown we would see a total of four. We stayed in this area and saw Yellow-throated Vireo, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole. Walking down the road we heard and then saw a Worm-eating Warbler. It wasn’t the best of views but we were all satisfied. We continued seeing and hearing other birds like Blue-winged Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo. Finally we got to see a key bird of the trip, a Hooded Warbler. This bird was very accommodating as it perched completely exposed on a utility wire. The rain showers were off and on so we passed on having lunch at the Doodletown Reservoir and headed back to our van. We had lunch in the van. At about 12:30 we left this spot and headed towards our next destination, Baskakill. Making one stop along the way it would take us about one hour to get to this venue.
As soon as we left Doodletown the rain stopped and we had sun and broken clouds for the next two days. Our first stop at Basha Kill was along Haven Road. From this location one sees the awesome beauty of this 4000 acre preserve. At this spot we had very good looks at an Eastern Kingbird. We drove about ¼ mile to an area known as ‘the Orchard‘ where we saw very well Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Yellow Warbler. Next we went to the area known as the ‘Main Boat Launch’. Here we scoped a Bald Eagle nest, with young, and scoped 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 again at a different spot. Our group got back in the van and drove to the ‘Nature Trail’ parking lot. Here we had perfect views of the Virginia Rail, as the bird walked back and forth across the trail. At about 5:30 we headed towards our hotel, the Day’s Inn of Wurtsboro. This is the fifth time we have made this trip to Basha Kill and the fifth 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, we went out to do some nighttime birding. 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. We heard its beautiful song and saw it fly back into the woods. 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 drove 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. Every year the canal looks the same and yet it looks different. The heavy rains and flooding from the previous fall and winter removed the beaver dam and with it much of the material in the canal. This year the canal was more like a slowly moving river than a marsh. A key target bird of the trip, Alder Flycatcher, breeds in this area. We were able to see him as he perched on some exposed branches of an Alder bush. A miss was the Golden-winged Warbler. This is the second year in a row that we missed this bird. The Golden-winged Warbler may not be breeding here anymore as it may have been replaced by the Blue-winged Warbler, which we heard and saw a few times. It was a disappointment. We left this area of the canal and walked the trail to the south side. Here we saw many Redstarts and more Blue-winged Warblers. As we left the D&H canal along McDonald Ave we picked up a singing immature Orchard Oriole. 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, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. A new bird for the trip was a Dark-eyed Junco. At the top of the mountain a Pileated Woodpecker flew in and perched on a snag. We all got so excited that we chased the bird away. 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, checked out of the hotel 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 taking in the beautiful view of Basha Kill marsh framed by the Shawangunks mountains. Everybody was happy.
We 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 looking for a key bird of the trip, the Upland Sandpiper. Here we saw all the birds that we would expect to see at the ‘Gunks’. There were many (30) Bobolinks in the fields. There was also a good number of Meadowlarks. There were Bluebirds perched on the fence, close by, and everyone got good views of them. No reason to go to the ‘Gunks’ since we had already seen all the birds that would be there. Instead we scoped the fields in vain for the Upland Sandpiper. It started to get late so 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 saw over 100 Bank Swallows flying around and entering the cavities that they created in a dirt bank. It was about 3:45 and we decided to return to NYC. With one stop along the way we arrived back at 23rd St. at 6:30pm. It was a great trip enjoyed by all.
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Species seen - 80