• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

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  • Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day

    Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »

  • Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »

  • Attention Watch Hill Ferry Passengers

    Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.

Great Backyard Bird Count at Fire Island Wilderness and William Floyd Estate on February 16

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Date: February 14, 2013

Fire Island National Seashore is supporting the 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count with two special guided bird walks this year. On Saturday, February 16, you can join one of these special walks at either the Fire Island Wilderness or at the William Floyd Estate.

  • William Floyd Estate - 631-399-2030
    245 Park Drive, Mastic Beach, NY 11951
    9:00 a.m. - Noon on Saturday, 2/16/2013 (rain date Sunday, 2/17/2013)
    includes 3-mile roundtrip walk to bay
  • Wilderness Visitor Center - 631-281-3010
    Southernmost end of William Floyd Parkway
    parking at Smith Point County Park
    Meet inside the Wilderness Visitor Center
    9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 2/16/2013 (rain date: Sunday, 2/17/2013)
    includes 1½ mile walk from ocean to bay beaches

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a citizen science program coordinated by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This year's dates are February 15 - 18, 2013. More information about this program can be found at www.birdcount.org. As an extension of your own backyard, public lands like Fire Island National Seashore can be great locations for wildlife observation and nature study.

For the past four years, GBBC walks have been conducted at the 613-acre William Floyd Estate, property that was the home of one of New York's four signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Floyd. The Estate is now managed by the National Park Service as part of Fire Island National Seashore, and includes a variety of habitats, from fields and woods, to streams, wetlands and salt marsh, and remnants of cultural plantings left by generations of Floyd family members. As you explore the expansive historic grounds, you'll find excellent habitat for birdlife. "One of last year's highlights had to be the Eastern bluebirds," stated MaryLaura Lamont, who leads the nature walks at the Estate. Three bluebirds made a grand appearance among a flock of American robins in one of the Old Mastic fields.

Last year, the highlight of the Fire Island Wilderness GBBC program had to be the snowy owl. For many years, one has been sighted on Fire Island beaches or dunes during the winter, but none have been reported on Fire Island yet this year. "Whatever bird species we see will be exciting," said Elizabeth Rogers, who is leading this year's program at the wilderness area, "because we'll be part of 'the world's largest research team,' contributing to a greater knowledge and understanding of winter birdlife."

This is a great excuse to get out for some fresh air and exercise during an educational wintertime beach walk, or a tour of the William Floyd Estate grounds, which is otherwise closed at this time of year.

For more information about these programs, contact Fire Island National Seashore at 631-281-3010 or 631-687-4780.

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Download a printable copy of the Great Backyard Bird Count February Checklist for Fire Island National Seashore.

Learn more about Birds and Birdwatching at Fire Island National Seashore.

See complete Calendar of Events and Activities or download a copy of Fire Island National Seashore's monthly programs.

Did You Know?

Aerial view of small community, Kismet, looking from the southwest, bay to the upper left and sandy beach to the lower right.

Seventeen pre-existing communities remain inside the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore. Some early supporters of the national seashore were interested in its establishment to ensure that a proposed parkway down the middle of Fire Island would not be constructed. More...