New York Day Trip

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge in New York City managed by the National Park Service and is composed of the open water and intertidal salt marshes of Jamaica Bay. The refuge provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial. It was established in 1972 and covers an area of 9155 acres (37.05 km2). It is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeastern United States.
The refuge is part of the greater Gateway National Recreation Area, a 26607 acre (10767 ha) National Recreation Area in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Scattered over Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, New York, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, it provides recreational opportunities that are rare for a dense urban environment, including ocean swimming, bird watching, boating, hiking and camping.
These two sites are fantastic year-round birding sites, great for both land birds and waterfowl, while the nearby Atlantic coast in Rockaway is a reliable place for seabirds in season. In the spring and fall, warblers, grosbeaks and thrushes pass through in great numbers, while the ponds at Jamaica Bay are packed with shorebirds for most of late summer. Fall and winter bring large flocks of ducks and geese, while just off-shore lucky birders can find alcids, gulls and occasionally even a migrating whale. ). It’s a birder’s paradise with almost 300 bird species sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years; that is nearly half the species in the Northeast!
The easy walking trails throughout the parks make for a comfortable day of birding, and the close proximity of John F. Kennedy International Airport can permit the adventurous birder an exciting few hours during an extended layover.
The exact nature of this trip varies based on the season, and other places nearby may be substituted where appropriate.
NEXT DEPARTURE DATE:  Arranged on request
POSSIBLE SPECIES – SEASONAL (Many of the same birds listed above breed in the park, but the following are more easily found in the summer months)
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Wood-warblers (many species)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Eastern Kingbird

Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Glossy Ibis
Laughing Gull
Barn Owl
Boat-tailed Grackle
Clapper Rail
Foster’s Tern
Marsh Wren
A wide variety of sandpipers (most easily seen during high tide on mudflats in the park)

The list here is similar to that of spring, but most waterfowl begin to show up in October. Peak hawk migration also occurs during the fall months.
Snow Goose
American Black Duck
Peregrine Falcon
American Kestrel
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle

Waterfowl are the primary target within the park, as are wintering sparrows. The coastline offers the possibility for alcids and rare gulls.
Horned Grebe
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scup
Ruddy Duck
Tree Sparrow

Do you have a quick question about this birding tour? Speak to a specialist at