New York – Montauk Point – Spring
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
The South Shore of Long Island, from Jamaica Bay to Montauk Point, is rich in bird life and scenic habitat. Lots of scanning and scoping at Montauk Point and other coastal areas may produce scoters, Northern Gannets, and Common and Red-throated Loons, plus give us excellent opportunities for additional seabirds.
There may be a few unusual gulls and terns in the area. Shorebirds will be present in good numbers. There is a possibility of finding either a Ruff or Curlew Sandpiper, and hopefully Piping Plovers. Migrant and breeding songbirds will be common in the woodlands, hedgerows, and marshes. On our way to and from Montauk we will visit many additional locations such as Jamaica Bay, Shinnecock Inlet, Point Lookout, Jones Beach, and Sagaponack Pond.
Here we may add some lingering ducks, the elusive marshland sparrows, and Clapper Rail. Our first and last nights are on the west end of the island, near Jamaica Bay. We stay in Montauk for three nights, with great dinners at the Shagwong and O’Murphy’s Pub.
We will take a maximum of eight participants. On rare occasions we may extend the maximum to ten participants.
Duration: 6 days
Limit: 4 – 8
Date: We only run this trip by special request currently
Start: Queens, NY
End: Queens, NY
US$2545 per person sharing assuming 4 – 8 participants
Single supplement: US$445
We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.
- Guiding fees
- Entrance fees
- All transport while on tour
- Domestic and International flights
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal insurance
- Laundry Service
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
This tour of Long Island begins at our first motel, near JFK International Airport in Queens, Long Island, NY. The motel will be selected at a later date.
Participants that arrive at the motel by early afternoon will be treated to some great birding at nearby Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (JBWR). We will return to the motel to meet anyone arriving later in the day. We will have a get-acquainted dinner, and our first night on Long Island.
Overnight: near Jamaica Bay
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
This morning we will return to JBWR, as it has so much to offer. Some of the target birds here include Brant, migrant shorebirds, Glossy Ibis, herons and egrets, and a good variety of migrant songbirds. There is sometimes an unusual vagrant to search for in the area.
We’ll bird our way east on Long Island, looking for sea ducks, gulls, falcons, and other raptors. We’ll dine at the Shagwong Restaurant and spend the first of three nights in the village of Montauk.
After a tasty breakfast at Mr. John’s Pancake House, we’ll enjoy the maritime scenery, Harbor Seals, and flocks of White-winged Scoters, Black Scoters, and Common Eiders at famed Montauk Point. Migrant seabirds may include shearwaters, phalaropes, Northern Gannets, and other pelagic species. Parasitic Jaegers may be seen close to shore.
Montauk has a great reputation for western vagrants that may include sparrows, warblers, flycatchers, and an occasional rare find such as Scissor-tailed Flycatcher or Swallow-tailed Kite. Dinner at O’Murphy’s Pub, on-the-green in Montauk.
We have another full day at Montauk Point to search for migrant songbirds, breeding birds, and additional pelagic species. Songbirds may include Baltimore Oriole, Blue-headed Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, Saltmarsh Sparrow, and many other birds of interest.
The woods at the recycling center may have migrant warblers and thrushes, and perhaps some grosbeaks and tanagers. We may find a lingering gull such as Little, Black-headed, or Iceland in the Harbor. Hopefully there will be a rarity to chase; past tours have yielded their fair share.
Shinnecock, Sagaponack Pond, and Jones Beach
As we drive west toward New York City, we’ll look for American Bittern along Dune Road at Shinnecock, gulls and waterfowl at Sagaponack Pond, and seabirds and shorebirds at Jones Beach, plus migrant songbirds in the pine groves and hedgerows.
Our final stop will be prime locations closer to NYC for more songbirds, waterfowl, and another opportunity for the marshland sparrows.
Overnight: near Jamaica Bay
Jamaica Bay and Heading Home
We’ll have most of the morning to bird Jamaica Bay. The possibilities there are almost endless. If time allows we’ll visit nearby Fort Tilden, Breezy Point, or Gateway National Recreation Area. These locations often hold a vagrant or two, and are good vantage point for seabirds. We’ll return to JFK International Airport for your afternoon flights home.
MONTAUK POINT, SOUTH SHORE OF LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
2-6 May 2013
Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.
1 – ICELAND GULL – this bird was a big surprise, as it was so late in the season. It was a sub-adult, probably 1st-summer, at the mouth of Montauk Harbor. Ellie first saw it in flight, then we found it perched on a gravel bar.
2 – Common Eider – there was a single, sub-adult drake at Montauk Point, and three sub-adult drakes at Shinnecock Inlet.
3 – Piping Plover – we found this federally threatened shorebird at several locations, but it was especially numerous at the Jones Beach Coast Guard Station. Great looks.
4 – Red-throated Loon – found in small numbers almost everywhere that we scanned the ocean.
5 – Killdeer with babies – both parents with four newly hatched young at Jones Beach, west end. Adorable!
6 – Black-legged Kittiwake – distant view of an adult feeding with other gulls and terns at Montauk Point.
7 – Black-and-white Warbler – seen well and in good numbers in the Camp Hero woodlands.
8 – Glossy Ibis – excellent looks at several adults at Napeague Harbor.
9 – White-crowned Sparrow – a single adult was feeding on the shoulder of the road at Jones Beach.
10 – Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – Rick found an adult at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We all had scope views.
11 – Horned Lark – on two different visits we saw a single adult at the Jones Beach Coast Guard Station. It was probably nesting.
12 – Greater Yellowlegs – fine looks at several individuals in full breeding plumage.
Interesting mammals included a Harbor Seal at Montauk Point, and a Gray Fox carrying an Eastern Gray Squirrel near our motel in Montauk. Our two reptiles were an Eastern Garter Snake and a Common Snapping Turtle.
Will we do any birding the first day?
YES! – Assuming that everyone’s flight arrives before dark. One of our first targets is only a few minutes from from the airport.
How should I dress for the tour?
Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.
Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?
There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.
What language are tours conducted in?
Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.
Can you help me book flights?
Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!
Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?
While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.
NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.
Do you provide trip insurance?
No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.
Are meals included?
For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.