Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
|Date: June 15-16, 2019
Location: Neversink, Sterling Forest, Bashakill, Shawangunks NWR
Reported by: Joe Giunta
It was an amazing weekend of birds and birding venues. In all we saw 72 species including 16 warblers, 5 flycatchers.
Chee has provided us with a photo link of the trip: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AoyYqvh0v7-PgbNpGDtSijD9Ikt_oQ
Our group of 10 birders left from the NYC Audubon headquarters on 23rd St at 8am. Our first stop was the Sterling Forest visitor's center. We drove to Ironwood Drive which goes deep into the 20,000 acres of protected land of Sterling Forest. We exited the van about halfway along the road hearing and seeing a Veery and Eastern Wood-Pewee. Then the birding got better. We saw very well a Cerulean Warbler, male. He sang and stayed until everyone got great looks. Back into the van we arrived at the end of the road and at the power line cut. It provides for nice habitat for low shrubby birds like the Golden-winged Warbler. We walked up the path to the left seeing some Goldfinches. We crossed the small stream and headed up and to the right in search of birds. Birds immediately present were: Prairie and Yellow warblers. An Indigo Bunting was also close by and put on a nice show. We were working on a Blue-winged warbler when it was replaced by a beautiful Golden-winged Warbler. The Golden-wing was one of the top target birds of the trip. Other birds that we saw were: Baltimore Oriole, Field Sparrow and Ovenbird. We went back to the van and were greeted by a very accommodating Worm-eating warbler. After about 2 hours at this venue we went back to the visitor's center, had lunch and prepared for the one hour ride to Bashakill.
Arriving at Bashakill we started at the "stop sign trail." Bashakill is so big (2500 acres) and they have so many trails it is hard to know where to start. This trail has worked well for birding in the past and again worked just fine. Walking the trail we picked up: Swamp Sparrow, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Veery. We were looking for a Virginia Rail but at this spot the rail was a no-show. We turned and headed south towards the horseshoe-big rocks parking lot. On the way we saw two Eastern Bluebirds, one male and one female. We looked for the Acadian Flycatcher in a location that it used last year but was not present. At the horseshoe parking lot again our target bird was the Virginia Rail and again it was a no show. It started to get late and we wanted more birds. We stopped at the "Main Boat Launch" parking lot and scoped a distant Eagle nest. It didn't seem to have anybody home. Next we headed to the Day's Inn of Wurtsboro. We have used this hotel over 10 times. It is clean, quiet and perfectly located for birding in this area.
Dinner was at 6:30 at Danny's, the local hotspot. We had a reservation and when we arrived they were ready for us. After dinner we went next door to Custer's Last Stand for an ice cream dessert. At 8:15pm we went out for some nighttime birding. Our group went to Haven Road. Out of the van, we were looking for the American Bittern. This year it was a no see and a no heard. Too bad. We walked Haven Road trying to pick up the song of the Whip-poor-will. No luck with that but we did hear many frogs and saw an adult Bald Eagle. A very nice find. We boarded the van and headed back to the hotel. We did make a stop at the intersection of Haven Road and route 209. This was a spot where he had Whip-poor-wills in he past. This year there was no Whip-poor-will. We arrived back at the hotel just after 9pm and prepared for our next day.
We were up early for a 6am breakfast. Actually we were out of our rooms at 5:30am and birding the grounds of the hotel. We saw: Scarlet Tanager, Pine Warbler, Eastern Phoebe among others. The hotel grounds were very much alive with birds and bird song. At 6:45 we headed towards Neversink, Cold Spring access. It took about one half hour to reach Neversink. The van door opened and we were met with a ton of bird song. We were surrounded by Ovenbirds. Other birds present in the parking lot were: Black-and-white Warbler, Pine Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. Walking the trail we saw more beautiful Black-throated Green Warblers. A little further down the trail we saw Blackburnian Warbler. Its orange throat just stands out. As we were looking at the Blackburnian we heard a Barred Owl call. It called just once and then went silent. Then we had a very cooperative Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, The bird was singing and drumming. Next came a very cooperative Hermit Thrush. As we walked further down the trail we heard more Hermit Thrushes. A Dark-eyed Junco was an interesting find. The beauty of the place and the songs heard will be with us for a long time. We were surrounded by birds and bird song on our entire walk. Hermit Thrushes, Black-throated Greens, and Ovenbirds songs will be with us for a long time. The weather forecast was for late morning rain so I decided to leave this spot drive to Gumaer Falls Road for more birds. We arrived at Gumaer Falls Road and immediately came upon a singing Louisiana Waterthrush. It is so nice to see and heard these birds in the forest where they breed. For me the next half hour was the best of the entire trip. We drove up the road about a mile, got out of the van and heard and saw some great birds. In one binocular view were a Blackburnian Warbler and an Acadian Flycatcher. And both were singing! In the background was a Black-throated Green Warbler, also singing. It doesn't get any better.
We went back to the hotel, checked out and headed towards the Home Town Deli on route 209 where we picked up some sandwiches and headed towards another section of Neversink. It started to rain. This different section of Neversink is known as the Wolf Brook Access. We eat lunch in the van waiting for a break in the weather. The rain stopped and we drove into the open area which was covered with many, many mountain laurels. We picked up more birds. Seen very well were at least two Black-throated Blue Warblers plus a number of Chestnut-sided Warblers. Also present were: Eastern Towhee, Prairie Warbler and Indigo Bunting. Everyone had good views. Instead of going to another section of Neversink or going to the D&H Canal, I decided to take the group to the Shawangunks NWR. We were headed towards the "Gunks" as they are called. Again rain was threating but we did have a dry window for an opportunity to see different birds in the grasslands of Shawangunks. After about an hour of driving we reached the "Gunks". The place was redone a few years ago and it is just beautiful. Present, and in good numbers, were many Bobolinks. The males do a mating display over the fields and we saw many displays. Harder to see, but present, were a few Meadowlarks. It started to rain again but just in time a Grasshopper Sparrow and a Savannah Sparrow popped up for good viewing. It was getting late and with the rain coming down we headed back to NYC. We arrived back at 23rd St. just about 6pm. It was a weekend of birds, songs and making friends. It was a weekend of birding that everyone will remember for a long time.
Great Blue Heron
Barred Owl (heard by some)
Great Crested Flycatcher
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Species seen - 72