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Birding Sites

  Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (Cross Bay Boulevard)
Jamaica Bay is internationally recognized as one of the prime birding spots in North America. It consists of 9,000 acres of open bay, saltmarsh, upland islands, mudflats, two brackish ponds, several freshwater ponds, and the North and South gardens. It is a rich area for wintering water fowl, migrating shorebirds, wading birds, raptors and warblers. There is a gravel path around the West Pond. Visitors to the East Pond are advised to wear boots, as the trail is likely to be muddy. First-time visitors should obtain a permit at the Visitor Center, open daily 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

A checklist and map may be obtained at the visitor center or by writing Gateway National Recreation Area, Wildlife Refuge, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY 11234.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Phone: (718) 318-4340

Directions: Refer to sidebar ("How to Get There")

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  Breezy Point District (Jacob Riis Park / Fort Tilden / Breezy Point)
The western end of the Rockaway Peninsula, covering approximately 5 miles of uninterrupted Atlantic oceanfront. The major attraction is fall migration or songbirds at Jacob Riis Park and of hawks at Fort Tilden. It is also good during butterfly and dragonfly migration.

There is a Visitor Center at Fort Tilden just inside the Beach 169th Street entrance, where you may obtain maps of both areas. At the tip of Breezy Point, the NPS manages 1,059 acres that include a beachhead for nesting colonies of endangered and threatened plovers, terns and skimmers. In spring and summer, it is subject to closure.

Visitor Center
Phone: (718) 318-4300

Directions: Refer to sidebar ("How to Get There")

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  Forest Park
In the center of Queens, Forest Park consists of 538 acres on the crest of Harbor Hills terminal moraine. The eastern portion holds the most interest for birders.

The park consists of 3 nature trails, the newly renovated Seuffert Bandshell with its free concerts, the famous Daniel C. Mueller Carousel and the Track and Field.

Queens Urban Park Rangers
Phone: (718) 846-2731

Directions: Refer to sidebar ("How to Get There")

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  Alley Pond Park
Queens’ most ecologically diverse park, containing an entire watershed and touching Little Neck Bay on the north, but criss-crossed by parkways. Best birding areas are Alley Wetlands and Upper Alley Woodlands. Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) is located just off Northern Blvd. in the Alley Wetlands section of the park.

Riverside Park Fund
Phone: (212) 870-3070

Alley Pond Environmental Center
Phone: (718) 229-4000

Queens County Bird Club
Phone: (718)229-4000

Directions: Refer to sidebar ("How to Get There")

How to Get There

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Ref.
Subway: From Manhattan, take the Queens/Rockaway bound A train to Broad Chan- nel. Walk west on Noel Road to Cross Bay Boulevard, then north (right) about 3/4 mile to the Visitor Center.

Subway/Bus: From Manhat- tan, take the Queens-bound E, F, or R subway to Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue. Take the Rockaway-bound Q53 Express bus and ask to be let off at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Bus runs every 1/2 hour (call (718) 335-1000 for schedule).

Car: From Manhattan, take Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn / Queens Expressway (Rt. 278) toward Verrazano Bridge, but stay right on Shore Belt Parkway to Exit 17S, Cross Bay Blvd. Take Cross Bay Blvd. south through Howard Beach, over the North Channel Bridge. In 1 1/2 miles, you reach the Visitor Center on the right.

From the Long Island Expressway (Rt. 495), take Woodhaven Bouldvard south. It continues through Howard Beach and becomes Cross Bay Blvd. and crosses the North Channel Bridge. In 1 1/2 miles you reach the Visitor Center on the right.

Breezy Point District
Subway/Bus: Queens-bound A train to Rockaway Park / Beach 116th Street station. Take the Q35 Green bus line (call (718) 995-1700 for sche- dule) to the entrance of Fort Tilden.

Or, Brooklyn-bound 2 train to Brooklyn College/Flatbush Avenue, the last stop. From the corner of Nostrand Avenue, take the Q35 bus south on Flatbush Avenue to Fort Tilden.

Car: From Manhattan, take the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn / Queens Expressway (Rt. 278) toward Verrazano Bridge, but stay right on Shore/Belt Park- way to Exit 11S, which brings you on- to Flatbush Avenue. Go south on Flatbush over the toll bridge.

To reach Riis Park, continue on the main roadway that veers left, then keep to the right and follow Riis Park signs to the entrance on the right, about 1 mile from the bridge. There is a parking fee in summer.

To reach Fort Tilden, take Breezy Point/Fort Tilden exit on the right. At the first traffic light, turn left into the entrance of Fort Tilden. Some parking lots require a seasonal permit, others offer limited-time par- king from April 15 to Septem- ber 15. There is on-street par- king on Beach 193rd Street reached by going 1 mile past the Fort Tilden entrance traffic light to the Silver Gull Club sign and making a left onto Beach 193rd Street. You can enter Fort Tilden from the east.

To Breezy Point, continue past Fort Tilden through the Breezy Point Cooperative, to the Beach 222nd Street parking lot. You can obtain a same day parking permit by applying at the Headquarters Building / Visitor Center.

From Jamaica Bay, continue south on Cross Bay Blvd., cross the toll bridge and proceed west 3 1/2 miles on Beach Channel Drive. Follow signs.

Forest Park
Subway: from Manhattan, Queens-bound E or F train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike. Walk to Park Lane South and Metropolitan Avenue, where there is an entrance to the park.

Car: From Manhattan, Queens Midtown Tunnel to Long Island Expressway (495) to Wood- haven Bouldvard. South on Woodhaven to Myrtle Avenue, east to Park Lane South.

Alley Pond Park
Subway/Bus: From Manhat- tan, #7 train to Flushing/Main Street (last stop). Q12 bus from Stern’s Dept. store on Roosevelt Ave. toward Little Neck to the APEC bus stop at approximately 228th Street (20 minute bus ride).

Train: From Penn Station, take the Long Island Railroad to Douglaston. Hike south along Douglaston Parkway about 1/4 mile to APEC. For trains sche- dule, call (718) 217-5477.

Related Links

Birding Sites: Manhattan
Birding Sites: The Bronx
Birding Sites: Brooklyn
Birding Sites: Staten Island


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