Bicknell’s Thrush Hike / Steve Chorvas / 3am
Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge / 7am
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.
Jockey Hill / 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.
Mohonk Preserve Hawkwatch / 10am
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.
Great Vly Paddle / 7am
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.
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.