Bird Walks SPRING 2021

Please (as in You Must!) Wear a Mask on all Bird Walks

On MORNINGS when two walks are scheduled (e.g., 7:30am/9:30am), you can do both walks for $10:

You get two walks for the price of one. Let us know if you want to rent binoculars ($10)

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Every Sunday in CENTRAL PARK at 7:30am and 9:30am ($10)
 18 April (7:30am/9:30am); 25 April; 2 May; 9 May; 16 May; 23 May; etc. (all 7:30/9:30)
If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free
Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th st. and the East Drive)

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Every Saturday in CENTRAL PARK at 7:30 and 9:30am ($10)
17 April (7:30am/9:30am); 24 April; 1 May; 8 May; 15 May; 22 May etc. (all 7:30/9:30)
If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free
Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th st. and the East Drive)
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Every Friday in CENTRAL PARK at 8:30am ($10)

16 April (8:30am); 23 April; 30 April; 7 May; 14 May; 21 May; 28 May; 4 June (last one)
Meet at the Conservatory Garden (105th st. and 5th Avenue)
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Every Monday in CENTRAL PARK  at  8:30am ($10)
19 April (8:30am); 26 April; 3 May; 10 May; 17 May; 24 May; 31 May; 7 June (last one)
Meet at the Strawberry Fields (72nd street and Central Park West)
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OWL WALK (#1 of TWO!):

Saturday at 4pm ($10) - April 17th 

Nesting Great Horned Owls of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx
 

Meeting Location (Free/Safe Parking!!): Split Rock Golf Course
Address for your GPS: 870 Shore Road, The Bronx, NY 10464
Use this Google Map for Directions from Your Home (Click Here)
Here's a Map (note red pin) of Parking Lot: (Click Here)
If using Public Transportation (long trip but doable): (Click Here)

 

        This is the Plan: we meet at 4pm (yes 4pm) on Saturday (17 April) in the free parking lot of the Split Rock Golf

      Course in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. The parking lot is on Shore Road almost opposite the entrance to the   

      Bartow-Pell Mansion. (The #45 Westchester Bee-Line Bus stops at the entrance to the parking lot; you can

      get that bus from the last stop of the #6 train at Pelham Bay station.) If you want to be 100% sure you will

      see nesting owlets (at least two owlets in the nest and possibly an adult nearby) - this walk is for you. The

      owl walk tomorrow (Sunday at 4pm) is to a site that young may or may not be seen...see description below

      for Sunday, 18 April. If you have kids - today's owl walk is for you...not the Sunday Owl walk!

 

      See Photo of the Two Owlets below (photo taken on 14 April 2021 by Deborah Allen)

      If driving, enter the parking lot and go over the cobblestone road (with the large Golf Course Club House

      on your right). Note that the Club House has bathrooms, and you reach them by entering the building from

      the front (side facing main golf course). To find us continue over the cobblestones and as the road winds to   

      the left and downhill. drive straight ahead to the back of the parking lot. We meet there (look for a Blue  

      SUV/Subaru - that is Deborah and me.) We'll leave the parking lot at about 4:05pm - no worries your car is

      safe...and the lot closes at about dusk (7:30pm at least).

​       From the parking lot we walk about 10-13 minutes over level terrain. We have to cross one 25 foot stretch

        that is muddy (do not wear nice Sunday shoes, and try not to wear sneakers). NOTE: there might be a

      75 foot stretch of the path that is muddy - make sure to wear shoes (Muck Boots/Rubber walking 

      shoes) that can deal with muddy puddles and muddy stretches!

​      There are two young the nest - about 25 days old as of 14 April. They could be leaving the nest by Sat-Sunday 

     17-18 April, but will be/stay nearby. So today could be quite  fun/interesting nest visit. We have observed them

     on numerous occasions in the last week. Mom sometimes is in the nest with them...but if it gets warm/sunny

     she now leaves the nest to perch in trees nearby (sometimes we can see her and sometimes not). No worries:

     young ones have plenty of down feathers and stay warm on their own. By this time last year we could already

     see young perched on the side of the nest - owl nesting cycles in our area can vary by up to 2-3 weeks each

     year depending upon the winter weather (= when the eggs are laid). NOTE: this might be the last weekend to

     find the young in/near the nest...so if you have been planning a visit, now (today!) is the time.

 

     We'll spend about two hours at the nest - but you can leave at any time. If the young are active and the

     female is also sitting in the nest with them, it is fun to stay and watch as long as possible. If it is a slow day

     and the chicks are laying down, we might have the female looking at us from the nest...

      This Great Horned Owl nest is perhaps the best one for photography - especially in the morning when

     light hits it straight on. Cloudy days are best for photography here, and at most nest sites in NYC that

     we have visited. For photographers: bring a tripod and a zoom lens...somewhere in the 400-600mm range.

     If you have one of those folding chairs (or step stools) from Amazon - abut $12 - do bring because it is

     nice to take a break from standing around...

 

Any questions: just email or call us at home: 718-828-8262

 

Caveat Emptor: In Owling, like Life, nothing is guaranteed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OWL WALK (#2 of TWO!):

Sunday at 4pm ($10) - April 18th 

Nesting Great Horned Owls of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx

 
This is a Different Nest Site than the Saturday 17 April (yesterday's) Owl Walk

Meeting Location (Free Parking): Orchard Beach Parking Lot

Address for your GPS: Orchard Beach Parking Lot, Unnamed Road, the Bronx 10464

Use this Google Map for Directions from Your Home (Click Here)

MEET AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER of the PARKING LOT

 Look for asphalt path that slowly leads uphill onto Hunter Island - the latter is

adjacent and connected to the parking lot

If using Public Transportation (long trip but doable): (Click Here)

 
We will be looking at a different Great Horned Owl nest than yesterday (17 April). Today's nest is on Hunter Island - that was once an island but is now connected to the parking lot. We know this nest for several weeks (approx. 10 February eggs were laid), but the female sits very low here...so we may have a look at absolutely nothing...or she may be up much higher because the egg(s) hatched about 10 days ago...we just don't know! So if you want to take a chance and see what might happen...this trip is for you. IF you want 100% guaranteed and easy to photograph young owlets - go to the Saturday 17 April Owl walk.
 
This Hunter Island site is new this year...The male may be nearby or may not...so you are taking a chance with this site. You will learn some new data on Great Horned Owls nesting in NYC - but you may not see much! So you have been warned. I'd say if you have kids this is not a good site to bring them to (bring them to the Saturday, 17 April owl trip). BUT if you enjoy learning about Great Horned Owls in NYC, then this trip is for you. And besides, once you see this location, you can always come back...Overall this site is best photographed in the morning (nest cavity faces northeast) and/or on cloudy days. One other important note: Deborah and I visited this nest on Wednesday, 14 April: the female was not in the nest (it was warm/about 70f), but we could not see any young! We did see white wash (owl droppings) on the NE side of the nest - an indication there is one young (and likely only one young) inside. We also saw a few feathers attached to the side of the nest - a good sign...But to be perfectly honest: we don't know what is happening at this nest site! There could be no young inside (nest failed) or one very shy owlet inside that ducks down and out of sight when it hears unusual sounds (approaching foot steps - this happens at other Great Horned Owl nest sites in Pelham Bay Park). Again, you have been warned: we might see absolutely nothing this afternoon...but you will see a nest site that has been used by Great Horned Owls in 2021...and in future years.
Some of you may have noticed (as of Wed. 14 April) that we changed the trip destination from the "Southern Zone" to this one on Hunter Island. Why? We were originally going to take everyone to a different Great Horned Owl nest and posted that trip info on Tue. 13 April, but that site has one young that is shy...and likes to drop down and out of sight deep into a nest cavity as soon as it hears unusual noise (like the footsteps of an approaching group). Earlier in the season the adults would perch very near the nest site, more recently (especially in the afternoon) they stay out of the nest area...So we switched locations and are hopeful this Hunter Island site is more beneficial to owls and people. Ask us more on Sunday why bringing people to see Great Horned Owl nests is good for the owls. Finally, we might have representatives of the NYC Parks Department show up - some are very helpful, nice - but others can be rather brusque and order us out of whatever area we might be...They tend to treat Deborah and Bob like the Bonnie and Clyde of NYC Birding...so we apologize for the attitude of a few Rangers. Again, if we get the right crew to visit - they have been wonderful, kind and fun. We shall see...but again you have been warned!
 
What to bring: the trail is dry so no need for rubber shoes as are needed for the other nest we take folks to; I'd say bring something that protects your legs from ticks - Hunter Island is loaded with deer, and the understory here has many more shrubs, blackberry canes and such that ticks like to sit/wait on. Lyme Disease is not something to be taken lightly - so at least treat your ankles up to your knees with Deet (the 99% stuff) or Permethrin.
 
For Photographers: a 400mm (or 600mm) lens is fine here (we use 100-400mm zoom and and 100-500mm zoom). If you have a tripod/monopod, bring it so you can rest your arms. Similarly if you have a folding stool they are good to sit down on while waiting for something to happen.

 

Parking in the Lot: FREE; Ample; Safe and the Lot is open until dusk (7pm) at least. However, there are no nice bathrooms nearby (if needed they are along the boardwalk of Orchard Beach, about 20 minute walk each way).
Salient Info One More Time:
Meet: Sunday 18 April 2021 at the Orchard Beach Parking Lot of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx at 4:oopm; end about 5:30-6pm and $10/person
 
Where Exactly?: Orchard Beach Parking Lot (free parking) - Meet at the NORTHEAST section of the parking lot. In other words, as you enter the parking lot, drive straight ahead and park in the corner you are heading towards (the far left corner of the parking lot) = For Directions click: Orchard Beach Parking Lot
Questions? and Contact Info: rdcny@earthlink.net (Bob’s email) or 718-828-8262 (our home phone)
 
Deborah’s Cell phone: 347-703-5554
Caveat Emptor: In Owling, like Life, nothing is guaranteed

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​​Spring 2021:

Every Thursday in CENTRAL PARK at 8:30am ($10)

​Thursday walks resume 29 April and end 20 May (four Thursdays) in Spring 2021

Meet at the Dock on Turtle Pond (approx. 79th st in the center of the park opp. Belvedere Castle)
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If you want to hire Deborah Allen or me for a private bird walk to take place at

           anytime of the year in Central Park/NYC or the tri-state area, contact us - rates

           are reasonable. If you are visiting from afar and wish to see nesting warblers

           such as Golden-winged, Hooded, Cerulean and many others; or Eastern Long

           Island (Snowy Owls in winter) or breeding terns/skimmers/oystercatchers)

           in summer; Jamaica Bay (shorebirds in spring or autumn), or any specialty birds

           such as Harlequin Ducks (Coastal NJ such as Cape May or Barnegat Lighthouse),

           contact us - yes we do those tours and have been to these places many times:

 

​​rdcny@earthlink.net

 

 

Please check the calendar below for details about our upcoming walks.

(Click an event for more details)

LOST AND LOOKING FOR US ON A BIRD WALK? CALL: 347-703-5554

About Our Bird Walks

All walks cost $10. On days when we do an early morning walk (7:30am) and a 9:30am walk, you can do both walks for one price: $10/person. Get two walks for the price of one! 

Walks last about three hours, but you're free to leave anytime. We won't take it personally! 

 

If you are lost and looking for us on a bird walk, call our mobile: 347-703-5554

We have extra pairs of BINOCULARS that can be rented for $10. These are high quality bins - not cheapos! Please  email (rdcny@earthlink.net) to reserve a pair. If we don't know you need them, there is no guarantee they'll be there for you. If you are thinking of purchasing new binoculars, ask us. We can make recommendations based on your needs and your budget, and let you know where to get them for the best price.

Walks continue throughout the winter (year-round), and are only cancelled for severe weather conditions. We are a hardy bunch - particularly during spring and fall migration. If in doubt whether a walk will take place, do the following: check this web site the morning of the walk. Final info if a walk is cancelled will be posted early (by 6:30am) the morning of the walk in question on the main page on this web site, as well on the Schedule  page. If you are still worried, email me (rdcny@earthlink.net) or call us at home: 718-828-8262. If you call and no one answers, it is usually because we have already left the house to get to the bird walk!. We usually leave home by 6:30am...If no info is posted that says the walk is cancelled, then the schedule as posted prevails (yes there will be a bird walk!).

Getting there

The majority of our walks take place in Central Park, but we also do trips on Saturdays in the right season to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve in Queens, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and other NYC Parks. We do occasional walks looking for owls in Central Park and other NYC parks, and to the Empire State Building at night to look for autumn and spring migrating birds.

Check our Meeting Points page for detailed information about how to get to our starting points,

The Fine Print

Please make payment to Bob DeCandido or Deb Allen in cash at the start of the walk.

 

If you are late for a bird walk, this creates problems. You can try calling Deborah's cell phone  (347-703-5554) to find out where we are...However, if you are unfamiliar with the park, finding us will be difficult. Also, having her cell phone ring during a bird walk is distracting to the people on the walk. Nevertheless, unforeseen problems do happen and you may need to call us. That being said, please (please!) do your best to be on time.  We leave the meeting location by five minutes after the posted meeting time.

We do other walks besides the Central Park morning bird walks such as owl walks at night; late afternoon migration walks in spring; trips to the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building to see night migrating birds. Check the schedule - or better yet, sign-up for our weekly email Newsletter on this web site (see the Newsletter/Blog page). Or Just send your email to me, and each Wednesday you will receive the Newsletter that has info on what we saw the previous week, bird photos from that walk, and historical notes on birds and the NYC environment from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

The Birdman of Central Park

Follow Bob through Central Park on a bird walk. Get a sense of the park's incredible beauty, along with Bob's background and expertise, his passion for birding, and his sense of humor.

@2002-2021 ROBERT DECANDIDO, PhD