Field Trips

Payment of the registration fee is required for Field Trips!  

There will be two days of field trips to choose from.  These sites have been chosen to as the best spots to see fall migrants and potential rarities.  The diversity of habitat and wildlife, in such close proximity to one of  the world’s major cities, is astounding.

If you get closed out, send an email to nysoainfo@gmail.com and ask to be put on the waiting list.

Field Trip leaders are subject to change.

These trips are included with your conference registration.  Meet on site.  Google map links for the field trip sites are provided below. Directions to Field Trip Meeting Locations

IMPORTANT NOTE: State Parks will be collecting fees AFTER 8:00am, so don’t be late!

Saturday, November 2 – all trips from 7:30 am – 12:30 pm, except Delegates Field Trip

(Sat-1)  Jones Beach State Park – TRIP FULL, REGISTRATION CLOSED.

Leader: Doug Futuyma

Jones Beach SP is located on the west end of the barrier island also known as Jones Beach. Ten miles long, it was created by Robert Moses and is known for its beaches and, if you are a birder, for fall migration.  Key areas for birding are the Coast Guard Station, the West End 2 beach area, the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, and the median in this area, which is populated with pine trees that attract Red-breasted Nuthatches, and later in some seasons Crossbills and other irruptive winter finches.  Other possible birds for early November include Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Northern Harrier, a variety of shorebirds including Red Knot, American Oystercatchers, arriving Scoters and Common Eiders, Northern Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Clay-colored, Vesper, Field and White-crowned Sparrows. Jones Beach fall rarities have included Gray Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Cave Swallow, Gyrfalcon (2009), and Dickcissel.

Meeting Place: Meet at West End 2 parking lot, (not field 2), north of pavilion. 

(Sat-2)   Alley Pond Park

Leader: Ian Resnick

Alley Pond Park, a 657-acre NYC park, lies on a terminal moraine formed by a glacier 15,000 years ago. It’s a diverse landscape of forests, meadows, and fresh and saltwater wetlands, and glacial kettle ponds. Birding activities usually concentrate on the Upper Alley Woodlands, with its kettle ponds, and Little Alley Pond. In fall, Alley is known as the place to be for migrating warblers and a likely spot for Connecticut Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo in early fall.  Last fall, it became famous as the location of the Virginia’s Warbler, found by Eric Miller. This bird was present there through November along with a nice selection of late warblers and a Saw-whet Owl or two. Other rarities in recent years have included Painted Bunting and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Meet at East side of parking lot on 76th Ave. off of Springfield Blvd., Bayside, NY.

(Sat-3)  Kissena Park (including Kissena Corridor Park),

Leader: Eric Miller

Kissena Park (the park proper and adjacent Kissena Corridor Park) is a NYC park located inFlushing Queens in an area once known for its horiticulture. It has proved to be a wonderful fall birding location, a place where you can see as many as 10 sparrow species, as well as Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and migrating fall warblers, including Connecticut Warbler some years.  The park includes woodlands, brushlands and field edges superior for attracting feeding migrant birds.  The Kissena Corridor is perhaps the highlight.  A several-acre forest restoration project conducted by the NYC Parks Department is in an early successional stage, with a diverse plant community that has proved a magnet for many of the rarities seen there over the past few years.

Meet at the Velodrome parking lot, entrance at Booth Memorial Ave. and Parsons Blvd., Flushing, NY.

(Sat-4)  Robert Moses State Park

Leader:  John Gluth

The oldest state park on Long Island, Robert Moses SP is located in southern Suffolk county on the western edge of Fire Island, one of the barrier islands off of Long Island. In birding circles, it is known for its hawk watch.  It is also an excellent place for spotting fall migration rarities.

Meet at eastern end of Field 5.

(Sat-5)  Sunken Meadow State Park

Leader: Mary Normandia

Three miles of Long Island Sound shoreline meet glacial bluffs, marshes and acres of undeveloped woodland. And birder’s favorites–empty parking lots and open fields–provide lots of possibilities for gulls, waterfowl and errant warblers. Rarities seen the the recent past include: Barnacle Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Warbler. Car pooling recommended. 31.5 miles from Marriott.

Meeting Place: Parking lot #1 by main pavilion.

(Sat-6)  Swarovski Optik Digiscoping Field Workshop (Jones Beach State Park)

This is where you get to put into practice what you’ve learned at Friday’s workshop.

Leaders: Clay Taylor with Corey Finger

Meet at the Jones Beach West End Boat Basin (also known as the Coast Guard Station).

(Sat-7)  Delegates Field Trip to Francis Purcell Preserve, formerly Hempstead Plains. Open to NYSOA Delegates Only.  Preserve: 7:30 – 10:00 am.

Francis Purcell Preserve is one of the two remaining areas of what was once 40,000 acres of native prairie grassland called Hempstead Plains. The Friends of Hempstead Plains area, 19 acres on the Nassau Community College campus in East Garden City, is a managed grassland area.  Francis Purcell Preserve is not managed, it is just being left to nature. Now locked off from trespassers, Francis Purcell Preserve has been overrun by brush and non-native weeds and scarred by mountain bike trails. Some of the birds found here are Killdeer, Ring-necked Pheasant, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, American Woodcock, Eastern Meadowlark, Warbling Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, House Finch and American Goldfinch.

Meet in Lobby, Long Island Marriott.

Leader: Steve Schellenger

Sunday, November 3 –   all Sunday trips are 7:45 am – 1:30 pm except Eastern Long Island: “Winging It”, and the Pt. Lookout Nature Photography Workshop.

(Sun-1) Jones Beach State Park

Leader: Doug Futuyma

Jones Beach SP is located on the west end of the barrier island also known as Jones Beach. Ten miles long, it was created by Robert Moses and is known for its beaches and, if you are a birder, for fall migration.  Key areas for birding are the Coast Guard Station, the West End 2 beach area, the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, and the median in this area, which is populated with pine trees that attract Red-breasted Nuthatches, and later in some seasons Crossbills and other irruptive winter finches.  Other possible birds for early November include Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Northern Harrier, a variety of shorebirds including Red Knot, American Oystercatchers, arriving Scoters and Common Eiders, Northern Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Clay-colored, Vesper, Field and White-crowned Sparrows. Jones Beach fall rarities have included Gray Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Cave Swallow, Gyrfalcon (2009), and Dickcissel.

Meeting Place: Meet at West End 2 parking lot, (not field 2), north of pavilion.

(Sun-2) Eastern Long Island: “Winging It”Special All-day Trip!

Leader:  Seth Ausubel

The beaches, bays, fields and ponds of eastern Long Island are among the most productive birding areas on the east coast in fall.  This will be a special full-day trip with a flexible itinerary that will focus finding a variety of waterbirds and landbirds, and chasing any rarities that have been around.  Possible destinations include Montauk, Shinnecock and Dune Rd., the Calverton Grasslands, and ponds in the Town of Easthampton. The list of good birds that might be seen is extensive and in recent years has included Eurasian Wigeon, Red-necked Grebe, Black-legged Kittiwake, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Razorbill, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Western Tanager, Lark Sparrow, Brewer’s Blackbird, and much more. We will meet at 6:15 a.m. at the Hampton Bays Diner for a quick breakfast and proceed from there.  The trip will conclude around 4 p.m.  Carpooling recommended.

Meeting Place: Hampton Bays Diner, 157 W. Montauk Highway, Hampon Bays, at 6:15am.

(Sun-3) Alley Pond Park

Leaders: Eric Miller

Alley Pond Park, a 657-acre NYC park, lies on a terminal moraine formed by a glacier 15,000 years ago. It’s a diverse landscape of forests, meadows, and fresh and saltwater wetlands, and glacial kettle ponds. Birding activities usually concentrate on the Upper Alley Woodlands, with its kettle ponds, and Little Alley Pond. In fall, Alley is known as the place to be for migrating warblers and a likely spot for Connecticut Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo in early fall.  Last fall, it became famous as the location of the Virginia’s Warbler, found by Eric Miller. This bird was present there through November along with a nice selection of late warblers and a Saw-whet Owl or two. Other rarities in recent years have included Painted Bunting and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Meet at East side of parking lot on 76th Ave. off of Springfield Blvd., Bayside, NY.

(Sun-4) Kissena Park (including Kissena Corridor Park)

Leader:   Jeff Ritter

Kissena Park (the park proper and adjacent Kissena Corridor Park) is a NYC park located inFlushing Queens in an area once known for its horiticulture. It has proved to be a wonderful fall birding location, a place where you can see as many as 10 sparrow species, as well as Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and migrating fall warblers, including Connecticut Warbler some years.  The park includes woodlands, brushlands and field edges superior for attracting feeding migrant birds.  The Kissena Corridor is perhaps the highlight.  A several-acre forest restoration project conducted by the NYC Parks Department is in an early successional stage, with a diverse plant community that has proved a magnet for many of the rarities seen there over the past few years.

Meet at the Velodrome parking lot, entrance at Booth Memorial Ave. and Parsons Blvd., Flushing, NY.

(Sun-5) Robert Moses State Park

Leader:  John Gluth

The oldest state park on Long Island, Robert Moses SP is located in southern Suffolk county on the western edge of Fire Island, one of the barrier islands off of Long Island. In birding circles, it is known for its hawk watch.  It is also an excellent place for spotting fall migration rarities.

Meet at eastern end of Field 5.

(Sun-6) Francis Purcell Preserve, formerly Hempstead Plains Preserve:  (Open to conference participants by special arrangement.)

Francis Purcell Preserve is one of the two remaining areas of what was once 40,000 acres of native prairie grassland called Hempstead Plains. The Friends of Hempstead Plains area, 19 acres on the Nassau Community College campus in East Garden City, is a managed grassland area.  Francis Purcell Preserve is not managed, it is just being left to nature. Now locked off from trespassers, Francis Purcell Preserve has been overrun by brush and non-native weeds and scarred by mountain bike trails. Some of the birds found here are Killdeer, Ring-necked Pheasant, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, American Woodcock, Eastern Meadowlark, Warbling Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, House Finch and American Goldfinch.

Meet in Lobby, Long Island Marriott.

Leader: Steve Schellenger

(Sun-7) Photography Workshop in the Field with Lloyd Spitalnik, Pt. Lookout, 7:30am – 11:00am. (Note different end time; limited to 10 participants, please bring your own equipment: DSLR cameras only, 300mm or longer lens, tripods optional.)

Located at the east end of the Long Beach barrier island, between the Reynolds Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, Point Lookout is an excellent place for observing marine birds and for photography.  This nature photography workshop will be taught by Lloyd Spitalnik, NYC birder and nature photographer extraordinaire. Lloyd’s photographs have appeared in Audubon, Natural History, Birder’s World, and Birding magazines, and he most recently co-authored the photographic book Visions: Earth’s Elements in Bird and Nature Photography (with Kevin Karlson and Scott Elowitz).  Participants can expect to learn about the elements of perfect exposure, the importance of backgrounds and other basic professional photographic principles. The focus will be mainly waterbirds; land birds may also be photographic subjects if good candidates are available. Participants should bring their own equipment: DLSR cameras (no point-and-shoot), 300mm or longer lens, tripod optional.

Meet at Point Lookout Town Park-southeast corner of lot.  Entrance to park opposite southern end of Loop Parkway.

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Here are some of the birds that have been seen in Queens and Long Island during the fall months, courtesy of Lloyd Spitalnik, who will be leading our Nature Photography Workshop:

merlin_F5R2630 brant_F5R1792 copy 2double-crested_cormorant_F5R6650
 black-bellied_plover_F5R2472  peregrine_falcon_F5R6564
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