More South S.I. Hotspots

More South S.I. Hotspots

Royal Terns congregate on Midland Beach. Photo: Isaac Grant
Staten Island remained quite rural until just a few decades ago—and though much land has been developed, many important habitats have also been preserved. At the southern end of the island, a number of excellent waterside birding spots complement the south-shore parks profiled above, providing habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, and good vantage points for birders during fall migration. 
The City's largest colony of Purple Martins is in Lemon Creek Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank" >Isaac Grant</a>
The City's largest colony of Purple Martins is in Lemon Creek Park. Photo: Isaac Grant
A Least Sandpiper cools off at Miller Field. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank" >Isaac Grant</a>
A Least Sandpiper cools off at Miller Field. Photo: Isaac Grant
Hairy Woodpeckers nest in the woodlands of south Staten Island. Photo: Danny Hancock/Audubon Photography Awards
Hairy Woodpeckers nest in the woodlands of south Staten Island. Photo: Danny Hancock/Audubon Photography Awards
Tufted Titmice thrive in the woodlands of Clay Pit Ponds State Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
Tufted Titmice thrive in the woodlands of Clay Pit Ponds State Park. Photo: Isaac Grant
Clay Pit Ponds State Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; waterfowl and freshwater shorebirds
 
Summer ✸✸
Possible nesting/foraging woodland/wetland species such Wood Duck, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore Oriole; foraging Barn and Tree Swallows, Chimney Swifts
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds; waterfowl and freshwater shorebirds
 
Winter ✸
Mixed songbird flocks; waterfowl including diving ducks such as Bufflehead (Sharrott's Pond)
 
Year-Round Highlights
Dabbling waterfowl, woodpeckers including Hairy Woodpecker


Get Oriented


Skunk Cabbage fills Ellis Swamp. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Skunk Cabbage fills Ellis Swamp. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a 265-acre nature preserve near the southwest shore of Staten Island. It contains a variety of unique habitats, such as wetlands, ponds, sand barrens, spring-fed streams and woodlands.

Clay Pit Ponds is the only state park on Staten Island. Though somewhat "under-birded," the park draws a number of woodland and meadow species that stay for the summer and likely breed, including Wood Duck, Eastern Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, and Black-capped Chickadee. It's freshwater wetlands attract waterbirds such as Spotted Sandpiper and Green Heron. Sharrott's Pond, at the southern end of the park, may host diving waterfowl in the wintertime.

White-tailed Deer abound in Clay Pit Ponds State Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> White-tailed Deer abound in Clay Pit Ponds State Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Clay Pit Ponds to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Clay Pit Ponds State Park is generally safe to bird. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Come prepared for mosquitoes in summer and watch for ticks.

 Directions and Visiting Information

The secretive White-eyed Vireo has nested in Long Pond Park. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/puttefin/4685291431" target="_blank">Photo</a>: Kelly Colgan Azar/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
The secretive White-eyed Vireo has nested in Long Pond Park. Photo: Kelly Colgan Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0
Long Pond Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; freshwater shorebirds and waterfowl
 
Summer ✸✸
Possible nesting or foraging woodland/wetland species such Hairy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling, and White-eyed Vireo, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Thrasher, Baltimore Oriole
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸
Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds; freshwater shorebirds and waterfowl
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser; mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Freshwater waterfowl, woodpeckers including possible Pileated, Belted Kingfisher


Get Oriented


Hooded Mergansers find sustenance in Long Pond Park over the winter. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Hooded Mergansers find sustenance in Long Pond Park over the winter. Photo: David Speiser

Long Pond Park, owned by the City of New York/Parks and Recreation, features seven ponds, the largest being 5-acre Long Pond. Long Pond is one of the most pristine ponds in the New York City area. Located 65 feet above sea level, it is fed completely from underground springs. With its special level of purity, the pond is a vital habitat supporting many species of animals.
 
 A network of old roadbeds and foot trails make it easy to search different areas of the park. This area is excellent from late August through October for autumn migrants, including large numbers of sparrows, including Fox, Lincoln’s, and White-crowned.

The immature White-crowned Sparrow has a chestnut and tan striped cap. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The immature White-crowned Sparrow has a chestnut and tan striped cap. Photo: Isaac Grant


From April through May good numbers of neotropical migrants (especially warblers and thrushes) can be found in the woods and along the roads leading to the Long Pond. It is also a good spot for migratory shorebirds and Wood Duck. From early May through late summer, Purple Martin and Northern Rough-winged Swallow carry out an energetic gleaning of air-borne insects over this area.

Eastern Towhee, Gray Catbird, and Red-eyed Vireo are the most common breeding birds; Great Horned Owl, White-eyed Vireo, and Warbling Vireo are less common, but present.

Check Long Pond for Solitary Sandpiper during migration. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Check Long Pond for Solitary Sandpiper during migration. Photo: Isaac Grant

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Long Pond Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Long Pond Park is generally safe to bird, but some areas are isolated and birding with others is recommended. Poison ivy is prevalent, and ticks abound, so wear long pants. In a wet summer, mosquitoes are also plentiful.

 Directions and Visiting Information

There are two entrances:
  • Entrance 1 - Page Ave. and Adelphi Ave. View a Google map
  • Entrance 2 - the end of Richard Ave. View a Google map. This entrance leads right to Pam's Pond. Look carefully for the trail, it has become a bit over grown.

View and download a NYC Parks map of Long Pond Park Preserve (PDF).

Visit the NYC Parks page for Long Pond Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information. nmountlorettohs
The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher's wheezy tones may be heard in North Mount Loretto State Forest during nesting season. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/51819896@N04/" target="_blank">Lawrence Pugliares</a>
The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher's wheezy tones may be heard in North Mount Loretto State Forest during nesting season. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares
North Mount Loretto State Forest

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; waders and waterfowl
 
Summer ✸✸
Foraging wading birds; possible nesting species such Wood Duck, Hairy Woodpecker, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Barn and Tree Swallows, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸
Gulls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Dabbling waterfowl including Wood Duck; Bald Eagle; woodpeckers including Hairy and Pileated Woodpecker

Get Oriented


Listen for the slow \"cuk cuk cuk\" of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Mount Loretto. Photo: Kelly Colgand Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Listen for the slow "cuk cuk cuk" of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Mount Loretto. Photo: Kelly Colgand Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0


North Mt. Loretto State Forest, a large area of hardwood forest and wetlands north of Mt. Loretto Unique Area and directly east of (and contiguous with) Long Pond Park, is a particularly wild preserved spot of habitat in southern Staten Island. The park's varied habitat includes ephemeral ponds, marsh, swamps, and mature woods, attracting a variety of species through the year: over 195 species have been documented across the property by eBirders, including over 20 warbler species and rarities such as Bicknell's Thrush.

This property's woodlands and wetlands host many interesting species that likely breed here, including Wood Duck, multiple woodpecker species, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, and Indigo Bunting. Many wading birds and waterfowl species are attracted to the park's wetlands year-round, while the park can host a great variety of migrant songbirds, spring and fall.

A Great Egret snares a good catch. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Great Egret snares a good catch. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records North Mt Loretto SFNorth Mt Loretto SF - Snag Swamp, and North Mt Loretto SF - Reed Marsh  to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Note that North Mount Loretto State Forest is divided into multiple hotspots, some of which have more species richness than the primary park hotspot; click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see even more hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

North Mount Loretto State Forest is generally safe to bird, but some areas are isolated and birding with others is recommended. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Poison ivy is prevalent, and ticks abound, so wear long pants. In a wet summer, mosquitoes are also plentiful.

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map of North Mount Loretto State Forest.

View a trail map of North Mount Loretto State Forest (PDF) from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Visit the New York State Parks page for North Mount Loretto State Forest for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.resurrectionhs
Resurrection Cemetery is a good spot for migrants like the Northern Parula. Photo: <a href="https://www.fotoportmann.com/" target="_blank">François Portmann</a>
Resurrection Cemetery is a good spot for migrants like the Northern Parula. Photo: François Portmann
Resurrection Cemetery

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸
Freshwater shorebirds, waders, and waterfowl; flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds
 
Summer ✸✸
Foraging wading birds; possible nesting species such Wood Duck, Hairy Woodpecker, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed. White-eyed, and Warbling Vireos, foraging Purple Martin and Barn, Tree, and Bank Swallows, House Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Chipping Sparrow

Fall Migration ✸✸✸
Freshwater shorebirds, waders, and waterfowl; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including dabbling and diving ducks; accipiters; gulls; mixed songbird feeding flocks, sparrows including Fox
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Carolina Wren


Get Oriented


Hooded Mergansersvisit Resurrection Cemetery in the winter. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Hooded Mergansersvisit Resurrection Cemetery in the winter. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares


A number of New York City cemeteries offer excellent birding, but Resurrection Cemetery seems to stand out in the crowd, perhaps due to its varied habitat and its position next to several other large preserved natural parklands. The cemetery is contiguous with North Mount Loretto State Forest and just north of Mount Loretto Unique Area, adding to a large swath of connected, preserved green space. Several ponds and the property's large trees have attracted over 250 bird species to the property, as documented by eBirders. 

Several ponds on the cemetery property, the largest of which are sensibly dubbed as "Parallel and Perpindular Ponds" (describing their relation to the oblong cemetery, as well as to nearby Sharrott Avenue) can attract interesting waterfowl during migration and over the winter, in addition to large numbers of Canada Geese, Brant, Mallard, and gulls, and smaller numbers of species such as Hooded Merganser and Gadwall. Over the years, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, and Common Goldeneye have been seen here. Wood Duck are possible year-round. During migration, check for freshwater sandpipers like Spotted and Solitary.

The mature trees in the cemetery also attract a variety of landbirds including a strong contingent of woodpeckers, and the park draws many migrating songbirds including warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. In the warmer months, Swallows, including Purple Martin, love this park, and the ponds are also popular with wading birds.  A surprising variety of birds are also found here during nesting season, including Wood Duck, Killdeer, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed, White-eyed, and Warbling Vireos, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Red-winged Blackbird, both Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, Indigo Bunting, and many Chipping Sparrows.

A male Northern Flicker (recognized by his black moustache). Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A male Northern Flicker (recognized by his black moustache). Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For cemetery operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Cemetery of the Resurrection--Perpendicular Pond and Cemetery of the Resurrection--North Overlook to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Note that the Cemetery is divided into multiple hotspots; click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see even more locations.)
 

Personal Safety

Resurrection Cemetery is a safe place to bird. Please be respectful of cemetery rules and of other visitors to the cemetery.

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map of Resurrection Cemetery.

View a Cemetery map.

Visit the Resurrection Cemetery website for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.lemoncreekhs
Purple Martins nest in Lemon Creek, one of only a few breeding sites in New York City. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
Purple Martins nest in Lemon Creek, one of only a few breeding sites in New York City. Photo: Isaac Grant
Lemon Creek Park (and Pier)

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; shorebirds and waders; Northern Gannet
 
Summer ✸✸✸
Foraging wading birds, gulls, and terns, American Oystercatcher; Osprey; nesting Killdeer, Fish Crow, Purple Martin, Barn, Tree, and Bank Swallows, Yellow Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Orchard Oriole, Blue Grosbeak
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Shorebirds, waterfowl; warblers, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸✸
Wintering diving ducks including Common Goldeneye, grebes, loons, and scoters; gulls; Great Cormorant
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, common dabbling waterfowl, Double-crested Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher


Get Oriented


A Snowy Egret visit Lemon Creek Park. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Snowy Egret visit Lemon Creek Park. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares


Lemon Creek Park, a popular and ecologically diverse park that hosts one of the City's only Purple Martin colonies, includes a long and winding tidal creek and over a half mile of beach front including towering bluffs facing Prince's Bay. The creek itself has gone by several names over its history, including Seguine's Creek and Little North River. Though much of the creek's watershed has been developed since the mid 20th century, it can be traced beyond Lemon Creek Park's boundaries along a circuitous route almost three miles north, through Bloomingdale Park, (at which point it is known as Sandy Creek) to its main origin, the small freshwater Porzio's Pond, just north of Woodrow Road. 

Along the way, the creek's water travels both over and under ground to empty into Prince’s Bay, and ultimately to Raritan Bay. The red clay bluffs in the park, reaching 85 feet above Prince’s Bay at Mt. Loretto, are part of the Harbor Hill terminal moraine (the ridge of rock that marks the farthest advance of the Wisconsin Glacier, continuing east to form the spine of the western end of Long Island). The varied habitats of Lemon Creek Park and Pier, which provides both fishing and good vantage points on the bay for birding, have made it a surprisingly rich hotspot for a farily small park: across different spots in the park, eBirders have documented over 220 species here.

A varied assortment of dwellings house the Purple Martins of Lemon Creek Park. Photo: <a href=\"https://www.flickr.com/photos/92057307@N05/\" target=\"_blank\" >Keith Michael</a> "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A varied assortment of dwellings house the Purple Martins of Lemon Creek Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/92057307@N05/" target="_blank" >Keith Michael</a>


The main parking lot of the park lies on the east side of Lemon Creek, below a small boating marina, on a broad, round upland peninsula. The Purple Martin colony nests in several man-made houses here maintained by volunteers, not far from a freshwater pond at the peninsula's western end. Five additional swallows species--Tree, Barn, Bank, and Rough-winged--are are seen here regularly during breeding season. (Cliff and Cave have also been documented here in the past, making it officially a seven-swallow park!) The park's uplands host other interesting songbirds that may nest, including Orchard Oriole and Blue Grosbeak. 

Waders, terns. and shorebirds abound in Lemon Creek Park, spring through fall, and the beaches provide excellent winter birding for diving birds including scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, grebes, and loons. Check for Great Cormorant, and Northern Gannet out in the, particularly in March and April. During the colder months, also keep a lookout for Harbor Seals, which are seen here regularly.

A late, breeding-plumaged Red-necked Grebe observed from Lemon Creek Park. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A late, breeding-plumaged Red-necked Grebe observed from Lemon Creek Park. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Lemon Creek Park and Lemon Creek Pier to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Note that the park is divided into multiple hotspots; click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see even more locations.)
 

Personal Safety

Lemon Creek Park is generally safe to bird. Come prepared for mosquitoes in summer. 

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map of Lemon Creek Park.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Lemon Creek Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.

Visit the New York State DEC page for Lemon Creek for additonal information.blueheronhs
The namesake of Blue Heron Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.fotoportmann.com/" target="_blank">François Portmann</a>
The namesake of Blue Heron Park. Photo: François Portmann
Blue Heron Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; some waterfowl and freshwater shorebirds
 
Summer ✸
Some foraging wading birds; possible nesting woodland species such as Hairy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Cedar Waxwing, Wood Thrush, Eastern Towhee; foraging Barn and Tree Swallows
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds; waterfowl and freshwater shorebirds
 
Winter ✸
Mixed songbird flocks; accipiters
 
Year-Round Highlights
Common dabbling waterfowl, woodpeckers including Hairy Woodpecker


Get Oriented


The rich habitat of Blue Heron Pond. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The rich habitat of Blue Heron Pond. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


The 250 acres of Blue Heron Park, owned by the City Of New York/Parks and Recreation, are made up of low lying, moist second growth forest with 3 named ponds. Wetlands such as Butterfly Pond in the park, are surrounded by dense vegetation, perfect habitat for many bird species. In spring, the vernal pools throughout the park attract a diversity of migrants, and in fall, weedy edge habitat around Butterfly Pond is particularly attractive to good numbers of migrating sparrows.

In late summer, Purple Martins and other swallows often congregate around Butterfly Pond before departing. Amphibians and a few species of reptiles including Eastern Box Turtle are still surviving here.

Pine and Palm Warblers, along with kinglets, Brown Creeper and Eastern Phoebes are often very common in spring and fall. In October the raptor migration can be quite good depending on the weather conditions and wind direction. A north or northwest wind, along with a cold front is ideal.

Eastern Phoebes find plenty of food in Blue Heron Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Eastern Phoebes find plenty of food in Blue Heron Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


One of the 3 larger ponds, Spring pond is visible from Poillon Avenue just east of Hylan Boulevard. One can bird this pond from trails, and during migration, birds favor this wetland habitat. Green Herons are now breeding here and insect diversity, including dragonflies, is spectacular.

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, however the many feeders in the rear of the Nature Center during winter time always have a fine variety of birds. In past years, Pine Warblers wintered along with Purple Finches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and the more common residents. All can be observed at close range from inside the warm Nature Center building. Photographers have a fine time with the birds so close at the feeders.
 
Blue Heron Pond itself is now undergoing rapid succession and vegetation is replacing sections of the pond. In spite of less water, Wood Ducks, Little Blue Herons and Great Blue Herons can be found here along with migrating Solitary Sandpipers.

Wood Ducks are at home in Blue Heron Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Wood Ducks are at home in Blue Heron Park. Photo: Isaac Grant


In the woodlands during summer months, birders can find a rather good selection of breeding specialties for an urban park surrounded by dense housing development. Both cuckoos have nested and Eastern Towhee, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and American Woodcock are summer breeding residents.
 
A resident population of Wood Thrush survives despite problems associated with forest fragmentation and Cowbird parasitism. Surviving numbers of Wood Thrush are showing that this species, unusual as a breeding species in urban parks, is doing well here.

In addition, Eastern Screech-Owls and Great Horned Owls are permanent residents in the park. In late winter both of these species can be heard calling near the Nature Center. Calm clear evenings are the best times to hear the owls.


Blue Heron Pond. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Blue Heron Pond. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Blue Heron Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Blue Heron Park trails are generally safe to bird, though some wooded areas are quite remote. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Come prepared for mosquitoes in summer. Ticks are rarely found in the woods.

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map to the Blue Heron Park Nature Center.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Blue Heron Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.

Trails at Blue Heron Park are well marked and trail maps are available from the Nature Center. A naturalist is on duty on the weekends from 1 until 4 pm, and guided walks are sponsored by the Friends of Blue Heron Park. Friends of BHP has a bulletin and provides many programs throughout the year, including bird trips and walks led by Howard Fischer.

Urban Park Rangers also provide the public with programs and the Staten Island Rangers are stationed at this park. The Nature Center phone number is 718-967-3542 and a website will show all events in detail.seasidewildlifehs
Laughing Gulls summer along Staten Island's south shore. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/51819896@N04/" target="_blank">Lawrence Pugliares</a>
Laughing Gulls summer along Staten Island's south shore. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares
Seaside Wildlife Nature Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸
Waders and waterfowl; some songbirds
 
Summer ✸
Foraging wading birds, gulls, and terns including Royal Tern in late summer; Osprey, common nesting land birds including Boat-tailed Grackle
 
Fall Migration ✸
Waterbirds; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including dabbling and diving ducks, grebes, and loons
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, Double-crested Cormorant


Get Oriented

Common Yellowthroats like the shrubby habitat of Seaside Wildlife Nature Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Common Yellowthroats like the shrubby habitat of Seaside Wildlife Nature Park. Photo: Isaac Grant

Occupied by the Great Kills Hotel in the late 19th to early 20th century and vacant for much of the 20th century, this seaside property was trasnsferred to NYC Parks in 1999. Community members led cleanup efforts and established a small garden around 2001, and the park has become a small but very accessible community park, complete with a nature trail through shrubby areas and a small salt marsh, and a walk along the seafront.

Though a somewhat underbirded site, the aspirationally named Seaside Wildlife Nature Park is a good spot to see perched terns and gulls, including Royal Terns, which gather here in summer on pilings in the harbor. Waders such as Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and night-herons visit the shoreline, while shrubby areas may attract warblers and other songbirds during migration. In the wintertime, a good variety of dablling and diving waterfowl can be seen from the park: good numbers of Brant, Bufflehead, and Red-breasted Mergansers are seen along with less common species such as Common Goldeneye, along with loons, grebes, and 


An immature Double-crested Cormorant seems to have developed good fishing skills. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> An immature Double-crested Cormorant seems to have developed good fishing skills. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk


When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.

 
For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Seaside Wildlife Nature Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Seaside Wildlife Nature Park is a well-frequented neighborhood park and is generally safe to bird.

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map of Seaside Wildlife Nature Park.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Seaside Wildlife Nature Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information. millerfieldhs
A Baird's Sandpiper visits Miller Field.  Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
A Baird's Sandpiper visits Miller Field. Photo: Isaac Grant
MIller Field and Midland Beach

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸
Flycatchers, thrushes warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; shorebirds and waders
 
Summer ✸✸
nesting Killdeer; some foraging waders; Fish Crow, Barn, Tree, and Bank Swallows, Chipping Sparrow; shorebirds starting in July
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Shorebirds including rarities; some raptors and other landbird migrants; sparrows (Midland Beach: sparrows, landbirds migrants, winter finches)
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering geese including occasional rarities, grassland birds such as Horned Lark. (Midland Beach: diving ducks and other seabirds; raptors; mixed songbird flocks, Red-breasted Nuthatch)
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, shorebirds



Get Oriented

View a Google map of Miller Field.

American Avocets were unusual visitors at Miller Field. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> American Avocets were unusual visitors at Miller Field. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares

Miller Field

Miller Field, site of a former coastal defense air station, is part of Gateway National Recreation Area's Staten Island Unit. Perhaps a site for the more hardcore birder, Miller Field's "birding action" consists primarily of a parking lot with a shallow pool (one might say puddle) that attracts a startling variety of shorebirds, gulls, terns and some waterfowl. The open fields here also may attract grassland species and raptors.  it has racked up an impressive species list: over 190 species have been documented here by eBirders, including rarities such as Ameican Avocet, Red-necked Phalarope, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Franklin's Gull, and Mew Gull.

A young Black Skimmer at Midland Beach experiments with a strange object. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A young Black Skimmer at Midland Beach experiments with a strange object. Photo: Isaac Grant



Midland Beach

To the southwest of Miller Field lie the beaches just north of Great Kills Park. Miller Field has its own small shoreline, and to the northeast lies Midland Beach, a long beach popular with birders for its shorebirds and terns in summer and seabirds in winter.


A Semipalmated Sandpiper AND Semipalmated Plover at Miller Field. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Semipalmated Sandpiper AND Semipalmated Plover at Miller Field. Photo: Isaac Grant



When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Miller Field and MIdland Beach to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see other nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Miller Field is generally safe to bird. Come prepared for mosquitoes in summer.

 Directions and Visiting Information

View a Google map of Miller Field.

Visit the National Park Service page for Miller Field for operating hours, directions, and additional background information. 

Acknowledgments

Thanks to those who provided local birding expertise for this page: Howard Fischer (2020, 2012, 2001); José R. Ramírez-Garofalo (2020); Seth Wollney (2012)