Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
|Date: June 15-16, 2013
Location: Neversink, Sterling Forest, Bashakill, Shawangunks NWR
Reported by: Joe Giunta
Our group of 9 birders left the Audubon Center on 23rd St. at 9am. The previous two days were rainy but the weather forecast for our trip was sunny and mild. After about one hour and twenty minutes we arrived at the visitor’s center of Sterling Forest. After a short stop we left and headed towards Ironwood Drive. We made three stops along Ironwood Dr. each time picking up some good species. First was a male Redstart. We heard a Hooded Warbler but it was a no show. Then for some came the highlight of the entire trip. A male Golden-winged Warbler made a grand entrance and gave everyone great views. Next was a Louisiana Waterthrush. He was singing and flying around us. At the end of Ironwood Drive we exited the van and did some walking. First we crossed the power line cut and then into the forest. We could not go too far because a stream swollen by the recent rains was not possible to cross. We picked up good birds along the edges. Present were Indigo Bunting, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler and overhead were three Red-shouldered Hawks. Just before we left Ironwood Drive we made another stop along the side of the road. This time we were very successful in seeing a beautiful male Hooded Warbler. Our group went back to the visitor’s center and had our lunch. At about 12:30 we left this spot and headed towards our next destination, Baskakill.
To put it succinctly Bashakill was flooded. Haven Road, the only road that crosses the Bashakill was closed. We drove around and approached the marsh from the south side. We were able to access part of the ‘Nature Trail’. No Virginia Rail or Bittern this time but we did get good looks at Common Moorhen and Eastern Kingbird. We went to the ‘Main Boat Launch’ area and people were launching their canoes from the parking lot, the water level was so high. We scoped both the Eagle nest and the Osprey nest. Leaving this area we went to the ‘Orchard’. From here the Bashakill looked more like a lake than a marsh. We did pick up Chestnut-sided Warbler. At about 5:30 we headed towards our hotel, the Day’s Inn of Wurtsboro. This is the eighth time we have made this trip to Bashakill and the eighth 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. Right next to Danny’s and at the main street of Wurtsboro is a huge banner and it says “Welcome Birders”. They want us there because birders are good for business!
We had reservations for dinner and they were ready for us when we arrived. After dinner and desert at “Custer’s Last Stand” we went out to do some nighttime birding. On Upper Pine Kill Road we heard a Whip-poor-will. The bird flew over us a once and then perched. We all saw the bird fly over but finding it perched was very difficult. We all heard its beautiful song and were satisfied with that as the bird flew 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 five miles to the Skinner Road access of Neversink Unique Area. Many birds were singing especially Winter Wren, Ovenbird, Redstart and Louisiana Waterthrush. Just as the road enters the open area we heard and saw Pileated Woodpecker, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting and Field Sparrow. We stayed about one hour and then went to the Cold Spring Road access to Neversink. On the way a huge Black Bear crossed the road just in front of the van. Cold Spring access to Neversink is fantastic for bird song. We were greeted at the entrance by Ovenbirds, Black-throated Green Warblers and my personal favorite, Blackburnian Warbler. Walking in only about a quarter mile we would hear and see Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Junco, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker all the time being serenaded by more Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers. We stayed about an hour and a half and had a Pine Warbler sing and escort us back to the van. We left this area and picked up lunch at a local deli. We went to our motel and got our stuff and made our way to the Wolf Brook access to Neversink. We had lunch while sitting on a perfectly placed fallen tree facing Wolf Brook. We were entertained by a Winter Wren whole time we had lunch. After lunch we drove and walked into the power line cut seeing and hearing Black-throated Blue Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Great Crested Flycatcher. On one small snag in an open area were Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Goldfinch and Prairie Warbler all at the same time. The area created by the power line cut was covered with Mountain Laurel. It made for a beautiful vista.
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. This time we were very lucky. Within five minutes we located the Sandpipers on the left side of Bates Lane. They flew over and landed just in front of us on the right side of Bates Lane. They stayed a moment for great views and then the entire family, numbering four, flew off into the distance. We when back into the van and drove about one mile to the entrance of Shawangunks NWR. This park has been completely redone. We are now allowed to drive into a concrete parking area and walk many grassland trails, and that is what we did. Here were would see many Bobolinks, a few Eastern Meadowlarks and a Kestrel on a Kestrel Box. Also present in the grasslands were a number of Savannah Sparrows. It started to get late so just like last year and the year before that 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. On a sad note the uncompleted subdivision has become active again with at least four home sites under construction. It is only a matter of time before this area is no longer suitable for Bank Swallows. 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 Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Species seen - 79