Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-xiv

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

This book would not have been possible without the endless support from friends and the help of so many from the birding community. Author/ naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela made the generous recommendation that allowed us to have this amazing experience...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

We’re often asked, “Are there really any birds here?” In Manhattan, it seems at first glance rather unlikely, with the city almost completely paved over and, further afield, the endless suburban sprawl. But, actually, we get a lot of interesting and, at times, rare birds both in New York City’s five boroughs and on Long Island. And because there are a lot of people looking for them, we know quite a bit about their favorite haunts...

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1 | Manhattan

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pp. 17-18

An island twelve miles long and three miles wide, encrusted with skyscrapers and directly under the Atlantic Flyway: this might be a description of Manhattan from a birdwatcher’s perspective. Migrating birds would probably note only the big rectangle of green known as Central Park, the refuge they have been waiting for after a long night of flying...

Key Sites

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Central Park

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pp. 19-29

The highlight of Manhattan birding is Central Park, the incomparably beautiful manufactured wild space designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858. During migration, its 843 acres of forest, freshwater, meadows, and open spaces amid the endless concrete and fragmented plantings are irresistible to birds...

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Inwood Hill Park

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pp. 29-35

Inwood Hill is a beautiful park that offers interesting birding as well the chance to learn about the history of New York City. Situated at the northern tip of Manhattan, its heavily forested 196 acres of hilly terrain and ridges are a product of ancient glaciers, making for both a surprisingly wild area on the water and a truly urban experience with gorgeous views of the Palisades...

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Fort Tryon Park

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pp. 35-36

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s son and donated to the City of New York by John D. Rockefeller Jr., Fort Tryon Park is an elegant woodland with beautiful stone bridges, lovely gardens, leafy pathways, and breathtaking views over the Hudson...

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Sherman Creek and Swindler Cove

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pp. 36-38

Once a spot known for illegal dumping, these five acres on the Harlem River are being transformed. Now you can visit lovely gardens, a boathouse, and the centerpiece of the New York Restoration Project’s work, Swindler Cove, whose native plantings and wetlands are attractive to a variety of birds...

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Randall’s Island

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pp. 38-43

If you want a change of scene and don’t want to travel too far, explore this island in the middle of the East River. Randall’s is a remarkable area with recreational fields and open spaces, beautiful shorelines, great views, and well-maintained natural areas...

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Governors Island

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pp. 43-45

Take a step back into New York City’s history with a short ferry ride to Governors Island. Thanks to its location in the middle of New York Harbor, for two hundred years it was an active military base. Now decommissioned and open to the public, it has approximately two miles of shoreline...

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Hudson River Greenway Biking

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pp. 45-48

Grab your bike and binos for a birding tour of Manhattan’s West Side. It’s not necessarily a spin through the best hot spots, but it’s a great ride, and the Hudson River often delivers some interesting waterfowl. During migration, you can investigate some of the parks as you pass by. As you travel along, you will likely see raptors and, in the northern section, resident Monk Parakeets...

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The Battery

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pp. 48-49

This beautifully planted and maintained European-style park with a striking promenade sits at the southernmost tip of Manhattan facing New York Harbor at the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers. The area was settled by the Dutch in 1623 because of its strategic location, and the first “battery” of cannons was set up here to defend the new settlement...

Other Places to Find Birds in Manhattan

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pp. 49-50

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Bryant Park

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p. 50

It’s probably the least-likely looking hot spot in New York, but it does have surprisingly good birds during migration. Of all the parks in this section, and despite its constant stream of visitors and winter fairs, it is by far the most highly recommended...

Madison Square Park

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p. 50

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Union Square Park

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pp. 50-51

Union Square Park is also easy to get to by public transportation and is in a location convenient to lower Manhattan. On certain days of the week there’s a world-class green market...

Washington Square Park

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p. 51

Morningside Park

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p. 52

Riverside Park and “the Drip”

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pp. 52-53

Carl Schurz Park and the East River

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p. 53

Peter Detmold Park

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p. 53

Uniquely Manhattan Birding

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p. 53

Take the Water Taxi to Swinburne and Hoffman Islands

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p. 54

Take a Bike Ride on the Hudson River Park Greenway

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p. 54

Take a Tour of Peregrine Sites

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pp. 54-55

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Walk the High Line

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p. 55

This won’t be the birdiest stroll you’ll take in New York City, but it will be one of the more interesting ones. The conversion of a raised railroad line into an aerial greenway is another one of the West Side’s success stories...

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Look for Bald Eagles in Winter

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pp. 55-56

Those iconic symbols of freedom and patriotism were nearly decimated, along with other birds of prey, in the 1960s because of DDT. Happily, they have made a roaring comeback and are beginning to appear around Manhattan...

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2 | Brooklyn

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p. 57

Named Breukelen by the early Dutch settlers, this western edge of Long Island is the most populated of the five boroughs and an amalgam of diverse birding hot spots rivaling anything found in the City of New York. The birding is loosely divided into parks and coastal areas...

Key Sites

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Prospect Park

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pp. 57-62

After designing Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux spent thirty years creating this lovely 585-acre park nestled in the heart of Brooklyn. Less manicured than Central Park, it provides a more natural setting for viewing its 270 recorded species in man-made marshes, rolling meadows, and dense woodlands...

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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pp. 62-65

No trip to Brooklyn is complete without a visit to the Botanic Garden. Not only are these delightful gardens good for the soul—they are also attractive to birds. Transformed from land that was an ash dump in the late 1800s, the garden’s fifty-two acres are now one of the most beautiful parks in New York City...

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Green-Wood Cemetery

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pp. 65-69

Green-Wood is one of the first rural cemeteries in the United States and the site of the Battle of Long Island in 1776. It is now a National Historic Landmark with tranquil grounds, jaw-dropping views, and elaborate graves and mausoleums. It was founded in 1838, and over a half million people are buried here, including celebrities like conductor Leonard Bernstein...

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Floyd Bennett Field

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pp. 69-72

Most airfields don’t encourage birds, but New York City’s first municipal airport, founded in 1931 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, is a birding hot spot. These days the only flying objects with motors are the NYPD helicopters—the rest of the traffic is purely avian...

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Dead Horse Bay and Dead Horse Point

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pp. 72-73

Directly across Flatbush Avenue as you leave Floyd Bennett Field is a very good stop to make any time of year. We mention it in our Coastal Brooklyn Winter Waterfowl Viewing section since winter is the best time to visit Dead Horse Bay and Dead Horse Point. But it has its attractions in other seasons as well...

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Coastal Brooklyn Winter Waterfowl Viewing

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pp. 73-74

Coastal Brooklyn provides an excellent opportunity to see some of the diverse and unexpected urban places giving refuge to winter waterfowl. This area is surprising in a number of ways. Rarities turn up, and who would think you could see thousands, much less tens of thousands, of any one species from one spot in New York City? Because Brooklyn’s coast offers so many opportunities for viewing waterfowl...

Brooklyn Bridge Park

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p. 74

Bush Terminal Piers Park

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pp. 74-75

Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4

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p. 75

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Owls Head Park and American Veterans Memorial Pier

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p. 75

If you park along 68th Street, you’ll have ready access to the American Veterans Memorial Pier. Interesting waterfowl are sometimes found here, along with large numbers of Bufflehead...

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Gravesend Bay

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pp. 75-76

Just north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is the first of a series of coastal pull-overs from the Belt Parkway that can lead to good views of waterfowl 76Birdwatching in NYC and on Long Island from this long strip of a park...

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Calvert Vaux Park

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p. 76

Formerly Drier-Offerman Park, this park comes to us courtesy of the Verrazano Bridge, for it is from the sand and excavated rock dredged up in the building of the bridge that this park was created...

Coney Island Creek

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pp. 76-77

Coney Island Creek Park

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p. 77

Coney Island Pier

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p. 77

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Plumb Beach

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pp. 77-79

Plumb Beach (sometimes in reports as “Plum Beach”) is well worth the visit. Scaup can be found—sometimes in the tens of thousands; Long-tailed Ducks, Bufflehead, large rafts of Brant, and Red-breasted Merganser...

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Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park

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p. 79

Marine Park is a 530-acre saltwater marsh surrounding Gerritsen Creek. Most of it is covered in high phragmites, so while the grasses may be teeming with birds and wildlife, viewing is difficult...

Dead Horse Bay and Dead Horse Point

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pp. 79-80

Canarsie Pier

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p. 80

Canarsie Park

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p. 80

Fresh Creek Park

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p. 81

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Hendrix Creek and Betts Creek

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p. 81

Hendrix Creek is a ribbon park wedged between a shopping mall and a wastewater treatment plant. Park in the JC Penney lot and use the crosswalk to head toward the plant. Find a path to the water and check out the waterfowl...

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Spring Creek Park

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pp. 81-82

Spring Creek Park is technically in Queens, but since it is potentially a good site to see waterfowl and just on the Brooklyn border, we have included it here. It may have a name that conjures up images of a pretty setting...

Other Places to Find Birds in Brooklyn

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p. 82

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

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p. 82

These eighty-five acres of Brooklyn waterfront are undergoing a striking transformation. With over one mile of coastline, killer views of Manhattan, and lots of great things to do, it’s a nice spot to take a stroll and do some birding as well...

Bush Terminal Piers Park

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p. 83

Owls Head Park and American Veterans Memorial Pier

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p. 83

Calvert Vaux Park

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p. 83

Plumb Beach

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pp. 83-84

Four Sparrow Marsh

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p. 84

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3 | Queens

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pp. 85-87

Established in 1683 as one of the original twelve New York counties, Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs, bounded by Brooklyn on the west and Long Island’s Nassau County on the east. If you have used either of the two New York City airports, you have already been to Queens, as both LaGuardia and JFK are located here. Named for Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II...

Key Sites

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Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

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pp. 87-93

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one part of the vast nine-thousand-acre complex of preserves in the Gateway National Recreation Area. It’s had an interesting ecological history, and prior to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy was an unparalleled year-round birding preserve...

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Big Egg Marsh, aka Broad Channel American Park

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pp. 93-94

If you haven’t spent the entire day at Jamaica Bay, this small inhabited island nearby has nesting birds and tidal marshes and great views of the Cross Bay Bridge and the Rockaways from the beach...

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Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden

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pp. 94-99

For excellent fall and winter birding, visit these two contiguous Rockaway hot spots. Jacob Riis Park, envisioned as “the People’s Park,” is a popular summer beach and golfing destination. Fort Tilden is a 317-acre former army base that served to protect New York Harbor during the world wars...

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Breezy Point

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pp. 99-102

For nesting shorebirds in summer, migrating shorebirds in spring and fall, and views of a wide variety of waterfowl and some seabirds in winter, the westernmost point of land on the Rockaway Peninsula really delivers. In fact, Breezy Point hosts one of the two largest Black Skimmer colonies in New York...

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Edgemere Landfill

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pp. 102-104

Officially called the Rockaway Community Park, this former Superfund site is one of the oldest landfills in New York City. It dates from 1938, was closed in 1991, and it is now a gas reclamation project and infrequently birded area. Two gravel roads provide courses on different levels of this surprisingly attractive 173 acres of transitional grassland, waving meadows, and shoreline...

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Forest Park

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pp. 104-107

This woodsy park of over five hundred hilly acres is the largest forested area in Queens and is also a great place to see migrating birds. Located on the edge of the glaciation that created Long Island, its “knob and kettle” terrain accounts for the high ridges and gully depressions. Once home to the Lenape, Delaware, and Rockaway Native Americans...

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Queens Botanical Garden

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pp. 108-109

A small, thirty-nine-acre gem of woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and lots of native plants and berry-producing trees, this pretty garden tucked into a Flushing neighborhood offers you an intimate experience. While not the birdiest of gardens, or as large or as well visited as the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden...

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Alley Pond Park and Oakland Lake

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pp. 109-115

Alley Pond, the second-largest public park in Queens, is a mishmash of 635 acres of reclaimed wetlands, beautiful forests with hiking paths, and recreational areas. The Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) manages the northern part of the park. It comprises the wildest and birdiest areas...

Other Places to Find Birds in Queens

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p. 115

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Baisley Pond Park

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pp. 115-116

Just north of John F. Kennedy Airport in South Jamaica, and next to the Baisley Housing Project, lies an interesting park that is somewhat off the radar. Particularly appealing to photographers in winter...

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Rockaway Beach Endangered Species Nesting Area

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p. 116

This site is also known as the Arverne Piping Plover Nesting Area, and the beach is dedicated to protecting Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers...

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Kissena Park and Corridor

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pp. 116-117

Not far from LaGuardia Airport lies Kissena Park, the main attraction in the several-mile-long Kissena Corridor Park and part of the Brooklyn-Queens-Greenway. These parks were part of a nineteenth-century railroad right-of-way...

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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

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pp. 117-118

Flushing Meadows Corona Park emerged from the Corona ash dumps to become grounds for the 1939/1940 and 1964/1965 World’s Fairs. Now it is a large park wedged between highways and retains such vestiges of those bygone days as the iconic Unisphere...

Willow Lake

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pp. 117-118

World’s Fair Marina

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p. 118

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Highland Park and Ridgewood Reservoir

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p. 118

Built in the nineteenth century and straddling the Queens and Brooklyn border, Ridgewood Reservoir has commanding views from the high ridge whence its name derives...

Cemetery of the Evergreens

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pp. 119-120

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4 | The Bronx

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p. 121

The city’s northernmost borough was founded in 1639 and named after its first European settler, Jonas Bronck, who, uncharacteristically for New York City, was not Dutch, but Scandinavian. Although this area is heavily populated and thoroughly urban, it still retains nearly 24 percent of its forty-two square miles in parkland...

Key Sites

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Pelham Bay Park

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pp. 121-127

This is actually New York City’s largest park, and at nearly three thousand acres it is over three times the size of Central Park. This park has been designated an Important Bird Area, and it has a variety of habitats, including some 800 acres of forest and 350 acres of salt marsh or flats. In summer, there is a lot of human activity, so keep this in mind when planning a visit...

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New York Botanical Garden and Bronx Zoo

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pp. 127-131

These two New York City institutions, both founded in the nineteenth century, share adjoining parkland in the center of the Bronx bisected by the Bronx River but provide completely different experiences. The Botanical Garden, a Historic Landmark, was founded in 1891 and is an inviting urban oasis. With 250 acres of varied natural terrain, including dramatic 250-year-old forests, with hills, waterfalls, and ponds...

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Van Cortland Park

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pp. 131-136

This large park in the northwest Bronx comprising 1,146 acres offers excellent birding in a variety of different habitats that include native woodlands, a freshwater lake, grassy areas, and wetlands. It’s one of the best birding locations in the Bronx, and because of its importance during migration and breeding, as a critical habitat of forest and wetlands in an area surrounded by urbanization, Van Cortlandt has been designated an Important Bird Area...

Other Places to Find Birds in the Bronx

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p. 136

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Woodlawn Cemetery

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p. 136

Established in 1863, this beautiful and tranquil National Historic Landmark is a fine place spring through fall to see migrating and nesting birds. Often overlooked by birders, it has four hundred acres of venerable trees, open grassy areas, and a freshwater lake...

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Wave Hill

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p. 137

For something different, or to please a friend who is really into horticulture, visit this lovely nineteenth-century Riverdale estate turned public garden, which has spectacular views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades...

Riverdale Park / Raoul Wallenberg Forest Preserve

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p. 138

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Spuyten Duyvil Shorefront Park

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p. 138

Get a different view of the “Spouting Devil” (Spuyten Duyvil to the Dutch) and its flowing creek, which are most often seen from Inwood Hill Park. This small park under the Henry Hudson Bridge and south of Riverdale Park...

North Brother and South Brother Islands

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p. 138

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5 | Staten Island

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pp. 139-140

Characterized by a surprising diversity of habitats and birding opportunities, Staten Island often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The southernmost of the five boroughs, and the least populated, Staten Island got its name in the seventeenth century from the Dutch, who called it Staaten Eylandt (States Island). It’s reachable only by car, express bus, or ferry...

Key Sites

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Clove Lakes Park

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pp. 141-145

For the best place to see warblers on Staten Island during migration, and one of its birding highlights, head straight for Clove Lakes. This easy-to-access and lovely Forever Wild park is a well-known warbler trap that draws in birders as well. People who use this park are happy to direct you to the birds...

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Great Kills Park

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pp. 145-149

Marketed as both a beach playground and a place to view wildlife, this sixhundred-acre park is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. There are birds here year-round, but you may want to avoid the crowds and visit in fall and winter. Great Kills is situated on a long peninsula with a central road that runs past beaches, marsh, woodlands, and a marina...

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Blue Heron Park Preserve

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pp. 149-151

Sculpted iron gates mark the entrance to this beautiful 250-acre forest-and-ponds park on Staten Island’s south shore. It took a handful of local residents over thirty years to piece together this preserve from several parcels of land, and it’s been worth the effort. This former dumping ground for old cars and trash has been restored...

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Wolfe’s Pond Park and Acme Pond

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pp. 151-154

This is one of Staten Island’s largest parks, and it has something for everyone. With popular beaches and mountain biking trails, birders might find it a bit busy. But there are pretty freshwater ponds and natural areas with hiking trails in this three-hundred-plus acres of diverse habitat...

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Lemon Creek Park

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pp. 154-155

Otherwise known as Prince’s Bay, this eighty-acre park bisected by Hylan Boulevard has two distinct features. The pier that juts into Raritan Bay can be productive year-round, and the park itself has one of the only Purple Martin colonies in New York City...

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Mount Loretto Unique Area and North Mount Loretto State Forest

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pp. 156-159

This diverse park on Raritan Bay is one of the highlights of Staten Island birding year-round and a favorite with locals. With five habitats in its two hundred acres of productive grassland and wetlands, as well as nearly one hundred acres of forest, there are lots of opportunities to see a variety of birds...

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Long Pond Park

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pp. 159-160

Contiguous with North Mount Loretto State Forest, this park contains 115 acres of Forever Wild freshwater wetlands, forest, and grassland. It includes seven ponds, with spring-fed Long Pond as the largest...

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Conference House Park

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pp. 160-162

Named for a seventeenth-century manor house where an unsuccessful peace conference took place during the Revolutionary War, Conference House is part of a 265-acre park whose lengthy expanse on open water and sweeping views of Raritan Bay make it a great spot in winter for waterfowl...

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Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve

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pp. 162-164

The only state park on Staten Island, and an Important Bird Area, Clay Pit Ponds Preserve is 260 acres of wild marshes, sand barrens, spring-fed streams, and woodlands. The Lenape Native Americans lived here. In the nineteenth century it was mined for the kaolin clay needed for the bricks used to build New York City...

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High Rock Park and Conservation Center and Moses Mountain

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pp. 164-166

These beautiful ninety acres of dense rolling woodlands, tranquil freshwater ponds, and wetlands are a highlight of the Staten Island Greenbelt and serve as its headquarters. Part of the land was rescued from destruction by the never-completed Richmond Parkway, and has been maintained in its natural state...

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Mariner’s Marsh Park

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pp. 166-168

This park is currently closed to the public while it undergoes chemical remediation. When it reopens, it should return to its status as a real hot spot. With that in mind, we offer this description. Get lost in this pretty park with lots of ponds and habitats that attract birds...

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Goethals Pond Complex, Including Bridge Creek, Old Place Creek Park, and Goethals Pond

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pp. 168-170

In northwest Staten Island, this diverse wetlands area near the Goethals Bridge toll is worth a couple of quick stops. The complex is a series of fresh and tidal marshes and shallow freshwater that has Goethals Pond as its focus. The other nearby spots might have some interesting birds, and since you will probably have to drive past them anyway...

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Snug Harbor and Allison Pond Park

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pp. 170-171

One of the loveliest spots to visit on Staten Island, Snug Harbor was originally designed in the nineteenth century as a retirement settlement for merchant seamen. Gorgeous Greek-revival buildings face the Kill van Kull. A freshwater lake, botanical garden, and an authentic Chinese Scholar’s Garden are all part of this unusual complex...

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Willowbrook Park

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pp. 171-172

This Greenbelt park is one of Staten Island’s most popular and remains a good location for birds as well, with its dense forests and lake. Over one hundred species of birds have been found here. Locals know it as a migrant trap where you can see fifteen to twenty species of warbler in one day during migration...

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Miller Field, Midland Beach, and South Beach

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pp. 172-173

When combined in one visit, the beaches and open ground at these locations can provide a nice diversity of birds—and maybe some unusual ones as well. Make your priority Miller Field, which originally was a freshwater wetland, later a farm, and then an Army Air Corps base in the early years of aviation...

Other Places to Find Birds on Staten Island

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pp. 173-174

King Fisher Park

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pp. 173-174

Oakwood Beach

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p. 174

Moses Mountain

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p. 174

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Fort Wadsworth

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pp. 174-175

This historical military complex is located at an outcropping on Staten Island’s northeast point. Bring your scope, and this could be a convenient and quick stop in the winter for easy views of waterfowl...

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Silver Lake Park

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p. 175

This large freshwater lake surrounded by a golf course and playgrounds is actually a reservoir and doesn’t have the woods and other attractive features you would hope to find in a natural area...

Tottenville Train Station

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p. 175

Other Greenbelt Parks

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p. 176

Reed’s Basket Willow Swamp

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p. 176

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LaTourette Park

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p. 176

Sharing its space with a golf course, LaTourette is one of the largest Greenbelt parks. Woodsy Buck’s Hollow in the northern section might be an interesting spot for woodpeckers, migrants, and sparrows...

In Case You Were Wondering

Freshkills Park

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pp. 176-177

Harbor Herons Complex—Shooters and Prall’s Islands

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p. 177

Staten Island Ferry

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p. 177

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6 | Nassau County

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pp. 178-179

Once part of Queens County, Nassau became independent in the late nineteenth century when Queens joined New York City. Now it occupies a strip of suburban Long Island that stretches from the Sound to the Atlantic Ocean and is bounded on the east by Suffolk County...

Key Sites

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Jones Beach State Park

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pp. 180-184

Often considered to have the best birding in all of Nassau County, with a large number of species and an impressive list of rarities, Jones Beach State Park can be counted on as a terrific place to find birds in any season. At six and a half miles long, this Important Bird Area is massive and so diverse that it warrants a full-day visit on its own...

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Point Lookout

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pp. 185-186

One of a pair of exceptional birding locations west of Jones Beach, Point Lookout is a reliable winter viewing area for waterfowl on the west side of Jones Inlet and an Important Bird Area. Visit here for the oceanfront beach and jetties, which attract large numbers of gulls and waterfowl from November through early April...

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Nickerson Beach

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pp. 186-187

The second location close to Jones Beach is Nickerson Beach, a particularly good place to visit in the summer for nesting Piping Plover, Least and Common Terns, American Oystercatcher, and an impressive Black Skimmer colony...

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Cow Meadow Park and Preserve

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pp. 188-189

Don’t pass up the opportunity to bird this multiuse park with ball fields and courts, playground and marina on the South Shore in Freeport. It’s easy to access and quite appealing—both visually and for birds. Cow Meadow Preserve comprises 150 acres of Long Island’s marine wetlands, including salt marsh, mudflat, and tidal creek habitats...

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Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area

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pp. 189-192

In the 1970s these fifty-two acres of pristine wetlands were set aside from development and designated a Marine Nature Study Area. The preserve offers many ways to learn about wetlands, as well as excellent birding opportunities in this carefully stewarded, rich marine marsh...

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Hempstead Lake State Park

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pp. 192-194

Several lakes and ponds surround Hempstead Lake, the largest in Nassau County. The focus here has been fishing, but over the years a number of sports and other outdoor activities have been added to the park. These changes have likely had an impact on the numbers and diversity of the species found...

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Massapequa Preserve and Tackapausha Museum and Preserve

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pp. 195-198

This lovely 423-acre wooded sliver of green follows a stream and can be enjoyed in any season. There are five lakes in the preserve, and the dams provide nice weedy areas attractive to waterfowl. In addition, its fairly dense forest appeals to migrating and nesting birds...

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John F. Kennedy Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary and Tobay Beach

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p. 198

Just east of Jones Beach, this 525-acre wildlife sanctuary is located adjacent to the parking lot at Tobay Beach on Ocean Parkway, Massapequa. An important safe refuge for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, it has a reputation for decent numbers of Long-tailed Ducks and Bufflehead and attracts other more common waterfowl...

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South Shore Winter Freshwater Birding

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pp. 198-199

If you’re hankering for freshwater ducks in winter, head for Long Island’s South Shore. From November through March, when there is open water, you can get good views of a variety of waterfowl—some at fairly close range—on a series of small ponds...

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Grant Park Pond and Willow Pond

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pp. 199-200

Grant Park Pond and Willow Pond in Hewlett are two scenic freshwater lakes fairly close to each other. Grant Park Pond is part of a public park and is actively fished, while Willow Pond is a small freshwater pond in an intimate setting...

Lofts Pond Park

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p. 200

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Milburn Pond

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pp. 200-201

Milburn Pond, in Freeport, sits on eight acres and has a nice half-mile paved walk around it. The pond is freshwater, while Milburn Creek Park across Merrick Road is brackish...

Cow Meadow Park and Preserve

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p. 201

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Camman’s Pond Park

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pp. 201-202

Camman’s Pond Park (also spelled “Cammanns”) is a spot we highly recommend for winter waterfowl. This charming eight-acre park with a winding pond and pathway is in a residential area in the town of Merrick...

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Mill Pond Park and Twin Lakes Preserve, Including Wantagh Pond and Seaman Pond

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p. 202

Mill Pond Park is an attractive fifty-four-acre park with hiking trails surrounding a freshwater pond. Just north of Mill Pond Park is Twin Lakes Park, a series of five ponds including Wantagh and Seaman Ponds...

Massapequa Preserve and Tackapausha Preserve

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p. 203

The North Shore

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p. 203

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Muttontown Preserve

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pp. 203-206

At 550 acres, this is Nassau County’s largest preserve and a lovely location to bird and explore. Originally three separate estates (including the now-crumbling remains of the estate of King Zog of Albania), they are now combined into one park...

Leeds Pond Preserve

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p. 206

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Sands Point Preserve

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p. 207

Three mansions, including a former Guggenheim “castle,” are now part of a 216-acre preserve of manicured gardens, forests, meadows, a freshwater pond, cliffs, and beach along Hempstead Bay...

Whitney Pond Park

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pp. 207-208

William Cullen Bryant Preserve

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p. 208

Garvies Point Preserve

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p. 208

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Welwyn Preserve

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pp. 208-209

Walk any of the four nature trails in this 204-acre preserve converted from a former estate. The grounds were designed by the Olmsted family, and the house is now the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County...

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Stehli Beach Preserve and Charles E. Ransom Beach

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p. 209

Stop at these neighboring Bayville beaches in winter for waterfowl sightings. Both offer great looks at Long Island Sound, but Ransom Beach does so in particular, with its elevated views from a raised parking lot...

Centre Island Town Park

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p. 209

Bailey Arboretum

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p. 209

Shu Swamp (Charles T. Church Nature Sanctuary)

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p. 210

Upper and Lower Francis Ponds

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p. 210

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

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p. 210

Mill Pond in Oyster Bay

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p. 210

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Sagamore Hill

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p. 211

This National Historic Site was Theodore Roosevelt’s home and was known as the Summer White House during his presidency. Roosevelt’s love of nature is evident here as the site has a variety of habitats and a bird list of over 115 species...

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St. John’s Pond Preserve

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pp. 211-212

St. John’s Pond Preserve is part of a Nature Conservancy complex in Cold Spring Harbor. Its reputation is hit or miss, but when it’s a hit you’ll find Eurasian Wigeon, Ring-necked Ducks, and Redheads...

Uplands Farm Sanctuary

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p. 212

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7 | Suffolk County

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pp. 213-215

This part of Long Island was originally inhabited by the Algonquin Native Americans, who used the area’s rich marine environment for harvesting shellfish. Whereas most of the New York City area was settled by the Dutch, Suffolk County was colonized by the English, who named it after the county from which its first settlers came in the seventeenth century. In time it became important for whaling and farming...

Western Suffolk

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Robert Moses State Park

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pp. 215-218

One of the top hot spots in Suffolk County and designated an Important Bird Area, Robert Moses State Park is located at the far western end of Fire Island. With five miles of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, it’s also popular with beachgoers and is visited by nearly four million people each year...

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Sunken Forest at Sailors Haven, and Watch Hill

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p. 219

East of Robert Moses are two remote and beautiful Fire Island preserves that bear mentioning. Even though, as the crow flies, they are quite close, you need to plan in advance to visit either of these sites. They cannot be reached by simply driving eastward, but have limited access by water and on foot...

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Smith Point County Park

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pp. 220-222

This enormous and very popular summer beach park is found on the eastern end of Fire Island. Great shorebirds can be found at this Important Bird Area in the summer, between crowds of people and the off-road vehicle traffic on the beach...

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Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

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pp. 222-224

Wertheim is a 2,550-acre area of protection around the scenic Carmans River, providing habitat for an estimated three hundred species of birds in oak-pine woodlands, grassland, and estuary. This Important Bird Area is open only to passive enjoyment, with the exception of some specified hunting days...

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Captree State Park and Gilgo Beach

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pp. 224-225

The eastern end of Jones Beach Island isn’t as birdy as the western end, but it has a couple of stops that might be worth a look if you have the time. Captree State Park gives harbor to a large fleet of charter fishing boats...

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Caumsett State Historic Park

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pp. 225-228

Named after the Matinecock Indian word for “place by a sharp rock,” this was once the private residence and gentleman’s estate of Marshall Field III. Stunningly situated on the north shore of Long Island, it is a beautiful and inviting park of 1,750 acres with great secluded views of Long Island Sound, deep woods, and a variety of other habitats...

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Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge

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pp. 228-229

This gorgeous eighty-acre park on the east end of the peninsula shared by Caumsett is part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It’s similar to Caumsett in its diversity and spectacular views, but its much smaller scale makes it easier to visit...

Tung Ting Pond and Mill Pond

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pp. 229-230

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Sunken Meadow State Park

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pp. 230-233

This extremely popular beach destination in Kings Park, with stunning views over Long Island Sound, is another Important Bird Area and a great four-season spot to search for shorebirds, songbirds, and winter waterfowl. Over a million visitors a year come here...

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Blydenburgh Park

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p. 234

This appealing six-hundred-acre wooded area in Smithtown and Hauppauge surrounds the headwaters of the Nissequogue River. Its main feature, Stump Pond, is one of the largest freshwater lakes on Long Island, and it’s a great spot year-round...

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David Weld Sanctuary

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p. 234

Enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of this 125-acre Nature Conservancy preserve in Nissequogue. Walk the three miles of trails along beautiful bluffs overlooking Smithtown Bay and through forests and wildflowers in spring and summer...

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Connetquot River State Park

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pp. 235-237

Comprising nearly thirty-five hundred acres, this preserve in Oakdale is one of the largest wildlife havens on Long Island. The park was the site of a nineteenth-century sportsmen’s club with its own trout hatchery, and fishing has long been a focus. But this preserve, which protects part of the ecologically unique Central Pine Barrens...

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Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park

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p. 237

Once the private home and property of a prominent New Yorker, this lovely arboretum located between Connetquot and Heckscher State Parks in Great River comprises over six hundred acres of trees and plantings, including large areas of native plants, ponds, and streamlets...

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Heckscher State Park

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pp. 237-238

Once the private property of two families, these fifteen hundred acres in East Islip on the South Shore were donated for a public recreational park and later designated part of an Important Bird Area. As a birding destination, it’s not bad, but it is a popular beach playground...

Central Suffolk County, Including the Grasslands

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p. 239

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Wading River Marsh Preserve

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p. 239

This attractive marshland in the hamlet of Wading River borders Long Island Sound. Follow Sound Road though a residential area facing the marsh, and stop as you see interesting birds and where there are safe pull-overs...

Wildwood State Park

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p. 239

Hulse Landing Road

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pp. 239-241

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EPCAL

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pp. 241-242

EPCAL stands for Enterprise Park at Calverton, also known as Calverton Grasslands, formerly a site leased by the Grumman Corporation. Visit this abandoned airport to see raptors and grassland birds. Kestrels, Harrier, and Red-shouldered Hawk are just some of the birds of prey seen here year-round...

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Calverton Ponds Preserve, Preston’s Pond, and Swan Pond

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p. 242

Just south of EPCAL is a series of several pretty ponds in different preserves. Access Preston’s Pond off Grumman Boulevard. Just east of Wading River Manor Road, pull into the lot at the sign indicating a Fishing Access Site and take the trail through the pine barrens to the lake...

“The Buffalo Farm”

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p. 242

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Golden Triangle Sod Farms

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p. 243

There is no sign indicating the Golden Triangle. It’s simply a local name for a drive-around of a large area of sod farms where you can look for American Golden-Plover, Upland and Pectoral Sandpipers...

The South Fork and Shelter Island

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Shinnecock Bay and Inlet

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pp. 243-245

Created during a storm in 1938, Shinnecock is one of five inlets that connect the Atlantic Ocean with bays behind the barrier islands protecting Suffolk County’s South Shore. It is kept open by dredging, creating a number of often ephemeral sandbars that are popular with waterfowl...

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Dune Road

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pp. 245-248

Dune Road is a popular fall and winter birding route on the South Fork of Long Island, although it can be good in any season. Its eastern terminus is Shinnecock Inlet, and the route runs the entire length of the barrier island ending at Cupsogue Beach County Park...

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Cupsogue Beach County Park

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pp. 248-250

A visit to this popular barrier island summer beach at the end of Dune Road in Westhampton can be a worthwhile experience during much of the year, although it is known for its productive mudflats May through September. Located on the eastern side of Moriches Inlet, this Important Bird Area has shorebirds and terns, seabirds and waders spring through fall...

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Mecox Bay

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pp. 250-251

Come to this bay and beach year-round for migrating shorebirds in spring and fall, nesting shorebirds in summer, and waterfowl in winter. It is best approached from the east on Dune Road in Bridgehampton...

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Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island

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pp. 251-253

Covering one-third of Shelter Island, Mashomack is a beautiful and diverse natural area of nearly twenty-one hundred acres that encompasses transitioning farmland, salt marsh, and tidal creeks, freshwater marsh, woods, and over twelve miles of shoreline...

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The North Fork

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pp. 253-254

There are a number of parks and shore areas on the North Fork, and despite their often wild nature and natural beauty, as birding locations they are not generally considered hot spots. Winter is arguably the best time of year here, and you can expect to find loons, scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and most of the usual waterfowl...

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Orient Point County Park

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p. 254

A sort of mini-Montauk, this Important Bird Area occupies the tip of the tine on the North Fork. Most people visit in winter, parking at the end of State Highway 25 next to the ferry dock...

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Plum Island

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p. 254

From Orient Point you may be tempted to try to figure out a way to get to this island, as it looks like it should be prime birding. In fact, it is a designated Important Bird Area with critical habitat of beach, wetlands, grasslands, and forest...

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Orient Beach State Park

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pp. 254-255

While it is a separate preserve from Orient Point County Park, the two are lumped together as an Important Bird Area, and often both are visited in the same day...

Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond

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pp. 255-256

Inlet Pond County Park

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p. 256

Moore’s Woods

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p. 256

Arshamomaque Preserve

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p. 256

Arshamomaque Pond Preserve

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p. 256

Cedar Beach County Park

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p. 257

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Goldsmith’s Inlet Park

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p. 257

Known for its great views of Long Island Sound, Goldsmith’s is a small park with mature woodlands, tidal wetlands, and beach. Check out both sides of the inlet and pond...

Nassau Point of Little Hog Neck

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p. 257

Downs Farm Preserve

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p. 257

Marratooka Lake Park (Marratooka Pond)

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p. 258

Husing Pond Preserve

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p. 258

Laurel Lake

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p. 258

Montauk Peninsula

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p. 258

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Montauk Point State Park and Camp Hero State Park

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pp. 258-262

It may be just over one hundred miles from New York City, but this easternmost part of New York State seems a world away. A legendary fisherman’s paradise, it holds a similar allure for birders seeking waterfowl. Remote and rocky, Montauk Point, with its rolling hills, lakes, boulder-strewn shores, and picturesque scenery, juts far into the Atlantic...

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Shadmoor State Park and Ditch Plains

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pp. 263-264

Shadmoor State Park is a ninety-nine-acre expanse of low shadbush, bluffs, freshwater wetlands, and birdwatching platforms. Two World War II concrete bunkers are a reminder of the role these cliffs played in protecting the coastline...

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Hither Hills State Park

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pp. 264-265

Hither Hills is a three-thousand-acre park with forests, a freshwater pond, and high cliffs giving stunning views of Napeague Bay. It also happens to be something of a warbler magnet in spring and fall. Summer is its best season, with lots of nesting birds...

Hook Pond

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p. 265

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8 | Species Accounts

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pp. 266-290

The following bar charts indicate the relative abundance of birds that occur annually across the region. Lists of Rarities and Accidental Species follow...

Rarities

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pp. 291-293

Accidentals

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pp. 294-296

Bibliography

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pp. 297-300

Index

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pp. 301-318