Two Special Bird Walks Offered in May at Fire Island National Seashore

Birding at Fire Island.

The diverse habitats at Fire Island National Seashore's William Floyd Estate support a variety of migratory birds. NPS Photo.

In honor of International Migratory Bird Day, Fire Island National Seashore in New York is offering a special three-hour ranger-guided tour at 9:00 a.m on Saturday, May 9. On Sunday, May 17, a "Peak of Spring Migration" Bird Walk will be offered, also at 9 a.m.

The guided walks will take place at the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach. Bird watching in the fields and woods of the William Floyd Estate provides an opportunity to observe the spring bird migration at one of the park's best birding spots.

Peak migratory times in the month of May bring thousands of birds through the 613-acre William Floyd Estate. The varied habitats of fields, woods, creeks and salt marsh provide ample feeding and resting areas for these birds, particularly the neotropical migrants such as grosbeaks, warblers and vireos on their way northward.

"On this program last spring, we recorded 12 species of warblers, with excellent views of the brilliantly colored Blackburnian Warbler," stated park naturalist MaryLaura Lamont. "Until the trees fully leaf out, warblers in full breeding plumage are easier to see. They sometimes come close enough to get a good look at their distinctive spring colors." Lamont, who birds by sound as well as sight, is usually able to located and identify species by their songs before the birds are seen.

Meet in the Floyd Estate parking lot, 245 Park Drive, Mastic Beach, New York 11951 for either program. Gate opens at 8:45 a.m. for the free programs which starts at 9:00 a.m. Dress for the day's weather, and bring binoculars and tick repellant. To minimize exposure to ticks, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, which can be tucked into socks. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Roundtrip walk will be approximately 2.5 miles.

The William Floyd Estate opens for the summer season on Memorial Day weekend. Beginning May 22, 2009, the "Old Mastic House" will be open for free guided tours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Special interpretive programs will be offered throughout the year.

The park website includes more details about bird watching opportunities in the park, plus maps and directions to the park. Call 631-399-2030 for more information about the special bird watching programs.