Bicknell’s Thrush Hike / Steve Chorvas / 3am

Slide Mountain, at 4,180 feet, is the Catskill’s highest peak and the site of the original discovery of Bicknell’s Thrush. At higher elevations there is an extensive balsam fir-red spruce boreal forest where Bicknell’s Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher nest. The lower elevation deciduous forest hosts numerous species of breeding thrushes, warblers, woodpeckers, and Scarlet Tanager, Winter Wren, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks, and rarely Boreal Chickadee are potential winter invasion species.

Please note: This is a VERY CHALLENGING hike with multiple sections of rocky scramble, a considerable elevation gain and a stream crossing, which may be running high and fast. Hiking poles are highly recommended.

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Hike, SundayHeather P-L
Lake Louisa / 7am

936.5 acres of preserved land located on the slopes and top of Shaupeneak Ridge, part of the Marlboro Mountains offers a cornucopia of treats for nature lovers — wildflower-filled grasslands, woods, a waterfall and pond, stunning rock formations and an abundance of wildlife.  Nearly 9 miles of trails provide access to impressive vistas, stretching to the Hudson River and, once the leaves have fallen, the Catskill Mountains.

Louisa Pond and an adjacent wetland provide food and shelter for birds, dragonflies and other creatures.

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Walk, SaturdayHeather P-L
Hudson Valley Farm Hub + Hudson High Banks Preserve / 6:30am

Once a renowned, family-owned sweet corn farm, the Hudson Valley Farm Hub is developing a comprehensive applied research program that will be tailored to the Hudson Valley and focused on resilient agriculture and climate-smart farming practices.

The Farm Hub provides a land-base for experimentation to support partnerships with research institutions, regional educators, and farmers. In this way, it is uniquely positioned to realize its intention to become a true center, or “hub,” for sharing information, innovations and ideas.  Projects on soil health, perennial grains, novel crops, riparian habitats and flood management are being developed in conjunction with Cornell University and other partners.  Research can also play a critical role in providing information to Hudson Valley farmers on production and marketing of new crops. 

A great habitat for field birds and pollinators alike.

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Scenic Hudson High Banks Preserve / 7am

This 287 acres preserve was opened in October 2016 and has three miles of trails.  It contains bluffs offering superb vistas of the Hudson River as well as extensive wetlands, wildflower-filled meadows, hardwood forests and shoreline along Esopus Lake.  A steep trail climbs 200 feet to the upper parkland with features that include additional Hudson River views, former carriage roads that lead to the lake, and a 110-foot boardwalk spanning a wetland.  It is a good location for foraging neotropical migrants and raptors overhead.

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Great Vly Paddle / 7am

 The Great Vly is a large freshwater marsh bordered by rock cliffs and wooded hills. Osprey, Golden Eagle, American Bittern, blackbirds, and thirty species of warblers pass through The Great Vly during spring migration. Common Nighthawks assemble in small flocks to rest and feed over the open marsh. Common and Black Terns have been observed in migration. Woodcocks, Swamp Sparrows, rails, and herons nest here, along with 3 species of vireos, warblers and other woodland birds. In late summer and early fall, unique floating mats of vegetation provide good shorebird habitat.

To register for Saturday or Sunday morning Vly Paddle field trips, call Peter at his #914-466-2707. Each trip is limited to 6. People must provide their own kayak (no canoes), paddle, and life vest.

This is a strenuous paddle through vegetation to view shore birds.

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Walk, SaturdayHeather P-L
Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge / 7am

A part of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge is managed for grassland species of concern and for protection of the watershed of the Wallkill River.

A reclaiming of the site of the old Galeville Airport in the Town of Shawangunk, Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird, Upland Sandpiper, and Vesper, Grasshopper and Savannah sparrows nest at the refuge, as historically have Henslow’s sparrows. Winter brings Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Short-Eared Owls. In early spring, American Woodcocks perform their twilight courting flights.

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Sunday, WalkHeather P-L
Jockey Hill / 7am

Jockey Hill is a destination close to our conference site that has become a popular quick stop for local birders. 

A powerline cut with wet meadow and surrounded by mature woods offers a nice blend of both breeding and migratory species. 

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Sunday, WalkHeather P-L
Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area / 7am

The “bays” are a choice destination for anyone wishing to explore the coves and tidal marshes of the Hudson River estuary in the Mid-Hudson region. , This 1,722-acre area is teeming with avifauna and a walk down Cruger Island Road will visit forested upland to wooded swamp to open tidal marsh and all the possibilities of birds drawn to these habitats.

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SaturdayHeather P-L
John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary / 8am

200 acre sanctuary is where literary naturalist John Burroughs built his rustic cabin retreat Slabsides in 1895.

There is a four and a half mile network of trails, including five that are newly constructed.  They are rated easy to moderate and take you among rocky ridges, deep forests, and onto a peninsula in a stunning two-acre pond enabling you to experience the same forest, geologic formations, waterfalls, fern valleys, wildflowers, birds, and wildlife that Burroughs reveled in over a hundred years ago.  Our visit here will include a timely passage from Burroughs by his great granddaughter Joan as well.

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SaturdayHeather P-L
Mohonk Preserve Hawkwatch / 10am

Beginning in the 1950s, Dan Smiley archived daily counts of migrating raptors over the Ridge during the fall migration. Today, Hawk Watch volunteers continue to observe raptor migration from September through November at a migration count station on the Near Trapps off of the Millbrook Mountain Trail. Migrant raptors are identified and counted daily by volunteers. This data is then submitted to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Between 2,000 and 5,000 raptors can be expected to migrate over the Shawangunks Ridge each autumn.  

12 participants max.

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Sunday, WalkHeather P-L
Ashokan Bird Walk / 2pm-4pm

Discover birds of the Ashokan Reservoir.

The entrance to the Frying Pan is 900 feet west of Blue Heron Road. Navigate to 16 Blue Heron Road, Ashokan NY 12411; meet at the Frying Pan parking lot.

There will be signage at the entrance.

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FridayHeather P-L
Historic Kingston Walk / 3pm-4pm

From the first settlers to the present day, in war and in peace, the Ulster County Courthouse has been the rallying point for the momentous events that have transformed our community, our State and our Nation. Take a walk with Paul T. O'Neill and discover the people and events that have made our Courthouse one of the singular most important locations in the United States.

Walk begins at 3pm; we’ll gather at 285 Wall Street Kingston, NY 12401.

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