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 William Floyd Estate on February 19, 2011
Contact: Paula Valentine, Public Affairs, 631-687-4759
Fire Island National Seashore is helping nature lovers get outdoors and get engaged in the 14th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science project coordinated by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Audubon and conducted from February 18-21, 2011.
On Saturday, February 19, park naturalist MaryLaura Lamont will lead a 3-hour, 3-mile guided bird identification walk at the William Floyd Estate. If you'd like to join the program, dress for the weather, wear sturdy boots, bring your binoculars and meet at 9:00 a.m. at the main entrance of the Estate, located at 245 Park Drive in Mastic Beach, New York.
This guided hike to observe, identify and record avian species is a great excuse to get out and explore a 613-acre property that was the home of one of New York's four signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Floyd.
The William Floyd Estate, now managed by the National Park Service, 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.
"By mid- to late February, some of the earliest migrant birds start to show up," stated Lamont, who has worked at the Estate for many years. "I always like to look for the red-winged blackbirds and grackles. It's a sure sign of spring slowly returning. If the ice is finally melted in the creeks, the beautiful waterfowl come back in from the open areas of the bay."
Last year Lamont reported that the group saw the common goldeneye and hooded mergansers during this hike. "Two very nice looking species of ducks," according to Lamont.
Lamont also conducts an annual Christmas bird count at the William Floyd Estate. One of the highlights from the Christmas count in 2010 was a red-shouldered hawk. "It was a first for the count here," said Lamont, "and an uncommon bird to begin with." She also had 3 brown creepers, 1 red-breasted nuthatch and 7 golden-crowned kinglets, all together in one area! "The kinglets were all feeding on the ground, a sign of cold and hard times! Let's hope they've survived this devastating winter by finding enough food."
The Great Backyard Bird Walk is important to find out what birds are still around. How are their numbers as compared to December's Christmas Count? How many survived, if they are still in the area. The data gathered from this exercise will help provide statistics on bird populations from around North America. You can learn more about the program at www.BirdCount.org.
For more information or directions, contact the William Floyd Estate at 631-399-2030.
Did You Know?
A variety of ranger-guided programs are offered year-round at Fire Island National Seashore. Each activity provides an opportunity to learn more about the park and what makes it such a special place. More...