Field Trip Reports

Results of all Field Trips for 2012 - 2013 season

You can read a write-up of our field trips in our newsletter. Click here to view the latest newsletter.

Our side menu has a link to a PDF file for a chart of all the birds seen during our field trips.


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge November 15, 2009

Northern Shovelers were in abundance at Jamaica Bay
By Doug Bloom
There were 25 participants on the trip to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and we saw 48 species of birds. This was a combined trip with Central Westchester/Hudson River /Brss and the Wild Bird Center. Some of the highlights were 2 small flocks of Snow Geese, a lot of Brant, Cedar Waxwings and several Horned Grebes.

Cape May/Brigantine/Sandy Hook New Jersey Oct. 2-4 2009
This gorgeous Great Egret was just one of the 104 specioes on this NJ trip.

By Sue O'Rourke

Fourteen avid birders enjoyed a sunny and warm weekend birding Cape May, the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge (better known as Brigantine), and Sandy Hook. Trip leaders, Doug Bloom and Andrew Block, and experienced birders, Neil Powell and Orlando Hildalgo, were instrumental in spotting 104 species of birds.

Brigantine’s spectacular 8 mile drive through wetlands was a visual treat with countless great egrets, swarming tree swallows, diving forster’s terns, intently feeding dunlins, flocks of cowbirds and red-wings, a lone red-breasted merganser, and sunning laughing gulls in their non-breeding attire. The highlight was spotting a saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow playing hide and seek in the marsh grass along the water’s edge. Royal terns, black-bellied plovers, least and pectoral sandpipers, greater yellowlegs, dowitchers, and mosquitoes did not disappoint us either. But we did not spot the roseate spoonbill reportedly there for several days.

Once in Cape May the group birded Cape May Point State Park, Cape May Point, Higbee Beach, Northwood  Center Cape May Bird Observatory, the Cape May Wildlife Refuge, Rhea Farm, the Cape May Nature Conservancy, and several east and west side beaches.

The ponds yielded pied-billed grebes, pintails, shovelers, green and blue-winged teal, gadwalls, widgeon, moorhen, coots and more. The pond’s edge tantalized scores of birders at Cape May State Park with the “sound” of a sora but with a “no see”. A lone flying American bittern was spotted. On the Atlantic we saw black scoter, surf scoter, and a pod of bottlenose dolphin. On the beach a lesser black-backed gull was spotted among the greater black-backs.  And, flying overhead were scores of black skimmers, and a few Caspian tern mixed  in with royal terns and others.

On the paths and in the fields we didn’t see many song birds, but did enjoy hummingbirds, indigo buntings, a brown thrasher, goldfinches, towhees, common yellowthroats, kinglets, phoebes, savannah sparrows, and American pipit. The Hawk Watch at the State Park was slow for us, but on our walks we saw red-tailed hawks, kestrel, merlin, sharp-shinned hawks, osprey, perched and flying peregrine falcons, harriers, and many cooper’s hawks.  

When birding was slow, our group observed and photographed monarchs, buckeyes, painted ladies, box turtles, Carolina mantis, toads, fungi, and wild flowers. Our unplanned stop at Sandy Hook added a flock of sanderling to our trip list. We all enjoyed the good company and good birding of our Cape May Trip.


Lions and Tigers and Birds, OH MY! September 26, 2009

By Vicki Hidalgo
Thanks to Vicki and Orlando Hidalgo who represented BRSS at the Bronx Zoo's Nature Air Show, sharing our mission and recruiting new members.
 The Wildlife Conservation Society also known as The Bronx Zoo extended an invitation to The Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon Society to participate in The Nature’s Air Show event which took place on several dates throughout September at the park.

he event sponsored by Pepsi and supported by Applebee’s had many programs related   to birds of prey and several other events featuring many of our other feathered friends! 

The main event was The Air Show where owls, hawks and vultures were shown and took flight on various posts set up for the presentation. Activity stations were set up throughout the Zoo for hands-on explorations to learn about birds.

The event also included guided tours, penguin feeding, and bird of prey enrichment and even featured a Bee-Eater Buffet where birds become airborne to catch insect snacks! 

On Saturday September 26th, which was the perfect autumn afternoon, Orlando Hidalgo and his wife Vicki set up the booth to represent Sound Shore Audubon at this truly educational event.  With New York City Audubon represented on our left, Wild Bird Center manned by Hank on our right, the Seal exhibit and Air Show a few feet away we were in perfect position to recruit new members and share our mission statement to increase the blue bird population which was illustrated in detail on our display. 
We had a wonderful response from our audience and it was truly amazing and rewarding to see so many young people enjoying birding and possessing so much knowledge about the various species of birds. We encouraged mothers and their young chicks to join some of the upcoming field trips which received a positive response. Many of the Zoo personnel thanked us for coming and sharing our time and helped us break down our materials at the end of the event. This definitely was “A Day for the Birds” in the best possible way!


Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge May 31, 2009

By Neil Powell
Fifteen birders met at about 8:00 a.m. at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge, located in Shawangunk, NY, about 1½ hour’s drive from lower Westchester, on a brilliant Sunday morning. Spotting grassland-dependent birds was the primary purpose of the trip. The refuge served as a military airport until it was turned over to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999. It has since become one of the top ten areas in New York State for birds that depend on a prairie environment to flourish.

In all, 70 species were spotted, making the trip a great success. Grassland-dependent birds such as Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks were abundant as were Killdeer, American Kestrels, and Savannah Sparrows. Flycatchers were also numerous. Those who later took the drive by the Blue Chip Horse Farm located next to the wildlife refuge were rewarded with great views of a Redheaded Woodpecker along with several Bluebirds

Doodletown May 24, 2009

By Christine Smith
This Memorial Day weekend Doug Bloom led a group of 26 lucky birders from the BRSS, Central Westchester and Hudson River Audubons on a terrific walk through historic Doodletown.   This small hamlet was first settled in 1762 but the last of its residents left in 1965 when the few remaining homes were acquired by Bear Mountain State Park. Fortunately the old dirt roadways of this abandoned town remain as wonderful footpaths through wooded habitat that is so rich with birds it was declared an Important Bird Area in 1997. 

Despite the gray start, we took it as a good omen when Cedar Waxwings met us in the parking area to begin our trip, and groups of these beautiful birds seemed to follow us around to different locations. The weather gradually improved into a gloriously warm, sunny day as we enjoyed numerous sightings of American Redstarts and Blue-winged, Yellow, Cerulean, and Hooded Warblers. The reliable Spotted Sandpiper was at the Reservoir as promised, and some of us also caught a nice view of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak nearby. Other highlights included Olive-sided and Great Crested Flycatchers; Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Red-eyed Vireos; Scarlet Tanager; and Indigo Bunting.   A fortunate few also got a look at the elusive Black-billed Cuckoo. 

During our travels we appreciated a close up inspection of a Red Eft scurrying across the trail; over time this bright little guy will evolve into a fully aquatic Eastern Newt (salamander).   Our return to the start of the trailhead was capped off by Orlando’s discovery of a Louisiana Waterthrush enjoying the watering hole. All in all this was a memorable morning for birding and enjoying nature.

Central Park May 3, 2009

By Robert Wirsneck
On a damp cold, cloudy morning 28 participants from BRSS and Central Westchester meandered through Central Park starting from West 79 Street to Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond, around the Shakespeare Gardens , through the Ramble to the Boathouse and the Lake.

Though the warm sun finally emerged, we soon encountered rain. We identified 62 species of birds and recognized one lonely raccoon in approximately three hours. There were 15 warblers — including a Northern Parula, Ovenbird, and Northern Waterthrush, four thrushes, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It was clearly an outstanding morning, despite the weather.


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Bird Apr. 5, 2009

By Neil Powell
Those familiar with the Jamaica Bay know that as a birding destination it rarely disappoints. This proved true once again on April 5 when a record 21 birders enjoyed a rare break in the wet spring weather to view 52 species of birds. 

The primary focus was on water fowl and in this category the trip excelled. We spotted 24 birds of the water, including Blue-winged Teal, Shoveler and Canvas-backed ducks. Other notable sightings included American Coot, Snow Geese, Glossy Ibis, Northern Harrier, Osprey, Brown Creeper, as well as the early arrival of an Eastern Phoebe.

Our gratitude goes to leaders’ Andrew Block and Doug Bloom for their sharp eyes and well-tuned ears!





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