• Robert DeCandido PhD

Summer Birding Central Park: Every Sunday at 9:30am in July for Migrants and Nesting Birds

Updated: Mar 1

11 July 2018 Schedule Notes: For the remaining Sundays in July, there will only be one walk on Sunday at 9:30am. There are NO Saturday bird walks. So on Sunday 15 July (and 22/29 July), arrive at the Boathouse Restaurant/cafe by 9:30am. See you then! Weekend walks at 7:30am and again at 9:30am will resume in early August (4-5), and the following week we start our autumn schedule with bird walks Fridays/Saturdays/Sun/Mondays (10 August through early December). Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen (see her links below), and show birds from Central Park and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. She continues to document the ongoing early arrival of Red-breasted Nuthatches in NYC Parks suggesting that these seed-eating birds may be heading south in big number starting in August - and possibly other northern seed-eating birds (Pine Siskins, Purple Finches and others) as well. Deborah also sends photos of nesting Eastern Kingbirds and Baltimore Orioles. In this week's historical notes we feature information about (a) some notable birds of the Bronx and their status in 1917-1932: it is fairly amazing to read about the scarcity back then of Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Great Egrets, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Warbling Vireos and Cedar Waxwings: today all breed in the Bronx and Manhattan (some in Central Park); similarly in 1932 they took for granted nesting Bobolinks, Bob-white Quail, Spotted Sandpipers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos - see the [partial] list of birds from the Bronx region 1917-1932; (b) in July on many of the bird walks, I have been pointing out a non-native Orchid that grows in abundance in Central Park: Helleborine or Weed Orchid. We include a July 2013 article from the New York Times about this plant; (c) and since it is summer, we take you fishing on the Long Island Sound in the Bronx at West Farms, Van Nest, Pelham Bay Park, City Island and other famous late 19th century fishing spots: how to get their by train or trolley, what to fish for, where to buy bait and hire boats, etc. Anyone for $1 boat rentals (add $1 for someone to row all day)?

Red-breasted Nuthatch on 7 July by Deborah Allen; one of three seen in the Pinetum on Sunday morning

Deborah Allen sends Photos from Central Park and NYBG (Bronx):

Fledgling American Robin, Swampy Pin Oak, Saturday July 7, 2018: https://www.photo.net/photo/18483299/Fledgling-American-Robin

Juvenile Eastern Kingbird at Nest, Turtle Pond, Sunday July 8, 2018: https://www.photo.net/photo/18483301/Eastern-Kingbird-Juvenile

Red-breasted Nuthatch, The Pinetum, Saturday July 7, 2018: https://www.photo.net/photo/18483302/Molting-Adult-Red-breasted-Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch, The Pinetum, Sunday July 8, 2018: https://www.photo.net/photo/18483303/Red-breasted-Nuthatch

New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx:

Juvenile Baltimore Oriole – The Swale, Wednesday July 4, 2018: https://www.photo.net/photo/18483300/Juvenile-Baltimore-Oriole

Deborah Allen's web site for bird photos: https://tinyurl.com/ydflkdp4

Jewelweed is starting to bloom now in NYC Parks - a favorite food of migrant Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Good! Here are the bird walks for mid to late July - each $10***

1. Sunday, 15 July - 9:30am (ONLY!) - Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. 2. Sunday, 22 July - 9:30am (ONLY!) - Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. 3. Sunday, 29 July - 9:30am (ONLY!) - Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. ================ ================ 4. Saturday, 4 August - 7:30am/9:30am - Meet at Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. 5. Sunday, 5 August - 7:30am/9:30am - Meet at the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. ------------- Any questions/concerns send them our way: rdcny@earthlink.net or call: 718-828-8262 ***NOTE: on MORNINGS when two walks or more are scheduled (e.g., 5:30am/7:30/9:30am), you can do all walks for $10/person...you get two/three for the price of one. Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/ya65n5a8

The fine print: On Sundays, our walks meet at 7:30am and again at 9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive). Please note: the Boathouse is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time!. Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (= rdcny@earthlink.net). If in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not, check the web site the morning of the walk: info will be posted on the main landing page as well as the "Schedule" page by 6am the day of the walk, and usually by 11pm the night before. If still confused and as a last resort, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk! We end all our weekend Central Park walks at the Boathouse at about noon; you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $6 total). For our Friday walks, we usually end up at (or very near) Conservatory Garden, most often at 106th street and 5th Avenue.

Salt Marsh at Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) in early June 1988

Here is what we saw last week (selected highlights).

Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Saturday, 7 July (THREE walks meeting at the Boathouse Restaurant Cafe at 5:30am/7:30am/9:30am) - on these walks for breeding birds, the most notable find was a Great Crested Flycatcher. As an aside, on Sunday, in the same area, we found a different Great Crested Flycatcher - we know that there were two birds because Deborah photographed both: one had worn tail feathers (possibly a female sitting in a tree cavity nest) and the other with unworn tail feathers (the male?). As for the guarantee of 5-7 warbler species arriving with the cooler weather - that proved not to be true. The best we could do was one or two American Redstarts and a continuing male Magnolia Warbler. However, we did find, thanks to Ryan Serio, a Red-breasted Nuthatch at the Pinetum. Two White-throated Sparrows continue in the Ramble, and Cedar Waxwings have young about to fledge in Shakespeare Garden, as do Eastern Kingbirds at the Dock on Turtle Pond. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Saturday, 7 July: https://tinyurl.com/yas268m7 ------------------ Sunday, 8 July (Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - probably the most significant find was the second (of a nesting pair?) of Great Crested Flycatchers. Surprisingly, we found THREE Red-breasted Nuthatches at the Pinetum (all seen on the same conifer at the same time), so some migration occurred last night. We found no warblers today, and only one White-throated Sparrow in the Ramble. A Downy Woodpecker family was out and about in the Ramble. It is July after all...and the nadir of the bird season (after Jan-Feb) for Central Park. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Sunday, 8 July: https://tinyurl.com/y8mkw49k

Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, June 2008


American Egrets in New York City [1916] CLARK L. LEWIS, JR., New York City LAST summer (1916) three beautiful American Egrets (Herodias egretta) made their appearance in Van Cortlandt Park, New York City. They were reported to have arrived on July 16. As the neighborhood appealed to them, they settled down in the vicinity of the pond, at the southern-most extremity of the Park, and remained for a number of weeks. The birds finally disappeared, one by one, the first to leave quitting the Park sometime around August 10, the next, a few days later, and the remaining Egret on October 10. Their roosts were located somewhere in the northern part of the Park woodlands, just where I do not know. At the approach of dusk the Egrets would rise into the air and fly northward. Their flight was slow and graceful, and often I would watch them until they were lost from sight in the darkening horizon. Every morning found them back at the pond where they spent the long summer days, feeding upon small fish, insects, and other forms of Heron food. The neighborhood of the pond seemed far too civilized and noisy to warrant any length of stay for these birds, whose habitual haunts are semi-tropical swamps and marshes. The pond is bordered on the north by a much-used automobile road-way, on the east by a branch line of the New York Central Rail Road, on the west by Broadway with its noise of passing vehicles, Subway trains, trolley cars and never-ceasing crowds of pedestrians, and on the south by a small strip of land which boasted of a few trees and wild vegetation. Tall grass formed a border around the pond. The water was practically open and thus afforded the Egrets plenty of room to move about. However, this change of atmosphere and surroundings did not seem to trouble these beautiful white creatures, but made them rather unsuspecting and fearless. Excellent observations of the birds, some as close as eight to ten feet, were obtained. On September 9 I took several photographs of the remaining bird. The one shown here gives a characteristic pose. [To one who has known the Egret when every man's hand was raised against it, and nearly every woman's head bore the aigrette plumes which gave eloquent, if silent, testimony to her heartlessness, it is as surprising as it is pleasing to observe that under proper protection this beautiful bird may again become a part of our lives. In a vain effort to rob it of protection in New York, the milliners' agents claimed that the Egret did not belong to the fauna of that state, but the photograph and observations of Mr. Lewis are welcome evidence to the contrary.]

Notable Birds of the Bronx Region and their Status - 1932

Phalacrocorax a. auritus. Double-crested Cormorant. Rare spring and fall migrant. April 24, 1926 (Kuerzi); May 8, 1926 (Coles) to June 23, 1926 (Cruickhank); August 31, 1923 (Griscom) to October 15, 1924 (Hickey, Kessler, Kuerzi), and November l, 1923 (Kuerzi); November 7, 1926 (Herbert).

Spatula clypeata. Shoveller. Very rare; a fine drake on the Baychester Marshes, March 22, 1920 (L. N. Nichols).

Branta c. canadensis. Canada Goose. Uncommon transient; infrequently alighting. February 27, 1922 to May 12, 1916; October 5, 1925 to December 28, 1919 (all by Coles); flock of 20 seen January 2, 1893, sitting on the ice in the Hudson River (Bicknell).

Ixobrychus exilis. Least Bittern. Rare transient and summer resident, bred in 1922 near Tarrytown (Coles); still breeds regularly in the Van Cortlandt Park swamp. Transients have been observed at Hunts Point.May 30 and June 2, 1924; May 20, 1926 (Kuerzi) to September 26, 1926 (Kuerzi).

Herodias egretta. American Egret. Rare summer visitant. July 1, 1916 to October 9, 1916, a maximum of three birds, in a swamp below Van Cortlandt Park; discovered by Mr. S. H. Chubb, and seen by nearly every local observer. The following year a single bird returned, and was present in the same locality, July 19 to August 5 (S. H. Chubb). A single bird on the Baychester Marshes, August 22 to September 14, 1925 (Kassoy, Matuszewski, Kuerzi).

Nycticorax nycticorax naevius. Black-crowned Night Heron. Common permanent resident. In recent years large numbers have wintered about the lake, in the Zoological Garden [Bronx Zoo]. In 1925-1926 over 150 birds wintered in a spruce grove on the west end of Eastchester Bay, and the Zoological Park colony was virtually deserted. No breeding colony of considerable size is believed to exist locally.

Colinus v. virginianus. Bob-white. Still a fairly common permanent resident, in the Pelham section, and in the interior from about Nepperhan north; a pair or two still survive near Van Cortlandt Park.

Actitis macularia. Spotted Sandpiper. Common summer resident; April 18, 1925 (Hickey), normally to September 25 ,1924 (Kuerzi), and sometimes as late as October 18, 1925 (Kessler, Kuerzi) and October 23, 1926 (Kuerzi); July 16, 1924, Riverdale (Griscom).

Bonasa u. umbellus. Ruffed Grouse. Bred sparingly until comparatively recent years. Observed as recently as January 9, 1924, on the Sprain Ridge, and October 11, 1925, on the Elmsford Ridge (Coles), and it is quite possible that a pair or two still survive somewhere in this neighborhood. December, 1926, near Kensico (Kuerzi).

Phasianus colchicus or Phasianus torquatus. Ring-necked Pheasant. Increased markedly since its introduction several years ago, and at present common throughout the eastern section, well established in the interior, and met with occasionally almost anywhere in the area.

Zenaidura macroura carolinensis. Mourning Dove. Fairly common transient, Ucommon summer resident, occasional in winter. March 6, 1925 (Hickey) to November 26, 1924 (Kuerzi); February 12, 1926 (Cruickshank) and February 27, 1923 (Coles), perhaps early migrants.

Melanerpes erythrocephalus. Red-headed Woodpecker. Uncommon transient; frequently wintering, and usually breeding locally in some numbers. Transients are generally recorded anywhere from the middle of March to late May, and in the fall from late August until the end of November. Especially common the summer of 1922 and a considerable number spent the winter.

Coccyzus a. americanus. Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Common summer resident. May 3, 1924 (Hickey) to October 18, 1925 (Kessler, Kuerzi).

Cardinalis c. cardinalis. Cardinal. Formerly bred; now probably only an occasional visitant. A pair at the Botanical Garden, during the spring and summer of 1917, doubtless bred (F. F. Houghton and others); a singing male in the same locality from February 22, 1921 to August 1, 1921 (numerous observers); a pair bred at Scarsdale in 1922, 1923, and probably 1924 (Kuerzi). Otherwise an occasional visitant. April 9, 1916 (L. N. Nichols); December 29, 1916, three birds (Coles); December 25, 1916, flock of six (L. N. Nichols); May 12, 1919, one male (Coles); February 1, 1920 (W. Beebe); May 19, 1922 (Coles); May 24, 1923, female (Coles).

Bombycilla cedrum. Cedar Waxwing. Common transient, uncommon summer resident, occasional in winter. February 27, 1919 (Coles); March 9 and 20, 1923 (Kuerzi); April 27, 1922 (Kuerzi) to December 7, 1920 (Coles), and December 27, 1924 (Kuerzi).

Vireosylva g. gilva. Warbling Vireo. Uncommon summer resident. April 28, 1923 (Kuerzi) to September 20, 1925 (Kuerzi). On October 12, 1922, a single bird was discovered at the Botanical Garden which was singing "in snatches" (F. F. Houghton, Kuerzi).

Certhia familiaris americana. Brown Creeper. Common transient, and fairly common winter resident; one breeding record. September 3, 1919 (Starck) to May 15, 1924 (Coles). On May 27, 1926, a nest with young was found in the Van Cortlandt Park swamp (A. D. Cruickshank).

Sitta canadensis. Red-breasted Nuthatch. Irregular transient, sometimes numerous; occasionally wintering. Definitely southbound July 10, 1878 and abundant by August 12 (Bicknell); also southbound July 18 and August 8, 1889 (Bicknell); earliest in recent years August 19, 1921 (F. Houghton); remaining until May 24, 1924 (Kuerzi) and casually to June; casual July 1 to 5, 1886 (Bicknell).

Polioptila c. caerulea. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Rare visitant, or perhaps transient; there are about twelve records in the past ten years. April 15, 1912 (Coles), and April 25, 1924 (Kuerzi) to May 20, 1926 (Cruickshank); the only fall records are September 3, 1925 (Cruickshank), and September 12, 1895, specimen taken at New Rochelle (E. I. Haines); October 11, 1926 (Kuerzi). =============================== Mr. John Matuszewski saw an Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) and a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) in the Bronx Region on May 1st [1924]. He stated that collectors from the New York Zoological Park [Bronz Zoo aka WCS] had told him that they were attempting to capture some of the Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) which survive in a colony on Hunters Island, and in the meadow in front of Pelham Mansion. It was decided by the Society to address a memorandum to the New York Zoological Society protesting against Bobolink trapping. =============================== An Orchid Disguised as a Weed New York Times - July 12, 2013

For those of us old enough to remember giving or receiving an orchid corsage, the concept of a “weed orchid” seems odd. First discovered in 1879 near Syracuse, the helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) was first thought to be a new species of North American orchid. This caused quite a stir among 19th-century botanists and orchid enthusiasts, but the plant was later identified as a Eurasian native with a history dating to mid-16th-century herbal lore as a cure for gout.

We will probably never know if the plant was intentionally brought to North America, or if its seeds were hitchhikers on some transplanted Eurasian ornamental. What remains true is how well adapted it is to its new habitat.

Considering the rarity of our native orchids, and the near impossible task of transplanting them to gardens, it seems incredible that helleborine has become so well established. Quite simply, unlike our native orchids, this plant is happy with a wide range of soil conditions. It is also undaunted by some of the East’s most aggressive plants, like English ivy or pachysandra; it frequently grows through dense beds of these plants. I have even seen it perform one of the incredible feats of urban plant-world mythology, as it pushed its way through asphalt, a feat generally ascribed to bamboo or phragmites. It is truly a weed orchid.

Helleborine, a non-native orchid, in July 2006 in Central Park

In just a little over a hundred years, Epipactis helleborine has spread from Atlantic Coast to Pacific Coast and almost all points between.

About 20 years ago, I was serving my first day of jury duty in Kew Gardens, Queens, when the judge cheerily announced that a witness for the defense was late. Could the jury come back in five hours? At 10 o’clock in the morning I headed out to wander the enclave of colonial- and Tudor-style homes, with their old trees, privet hedges, trimmed lawns and winding roads, with legally sanctioned time in hand. Though my first orchid of the day was a variegated Chinese Cymbidium growing in the window of a sushi restaurant, it was not long before I discovered helleborine growing everywhere.

I now make this visit annually. This year, helleborine was particularly thick on Austin Street at 81st Avenue. It still sprouts from patios, rock walls, driveways, tree pits, mowed lawns, unmown lawns, privet hedges and hosta beds on 82nd Avenue, on Lefferts Boulevard and alongside slate-rock stairways on Grenfell Street, yards from the Long Island Railroad. As a weed, helleborine proudly holds its head up with dandelions, dayflowers, horseweed, mugwort, plantains and smartweeds, but helleborine is an orchid, whose modified lip and floral structures are as tropical looking as any orchid growing in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Helleborine can also commonly be seen in Manhattan (Battery Park City is a good place to start, as is Central Park). But don’t stop there; hundreds of these orchids sprout from sidewalk cracks, curbside grassy patches, near fire hydrants, under hedges, and in densely planted borders in all five boroughs.

As I recounted my first exhausting day of civil service to my then-girlfriend, I told her about lunch at a great Kew Gardens ale house, a mid-afternoon revival house movie, and orchids growing in the streets. Her blank stare may have been incredulity, or jealousy, or perhaps a little of each. Dave Taft ========================== FISHING NEAR NEW YORK [1889].

LONG ISLAND SOUND in the vicinity of New York is a favorite fishing ground for many city anglers, although for sport with rod and reel it can hardly be said to rank with Staten Island and New Jersey waters, or the bays on the south shore of Long Island. A great point in favor of Long Island Sound, however, is the fact that its resorts are within easy reach of the city, and the cost of a day's fishing is comparatively small. The Harlem River Division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, starting from the Harlem River station just across the Harlem from the northern terminus of the Second Avenue Elevated Railroad, runs along the shore of the Sound to New Rochelle, where it connects with the main line of the same road (Grand Central Station Forty-second street) and runs near the shore through opposite City Island Point. Tom's Reef Rock and the Mamaroneck and Port Chester; N. Y., and Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside, Sound Beach and Stamford, Conn.

On Long Island the trains on the Long Island Railroad Back, (north shore division) run from Long Island City to College Point, Whitestone Landing and Great Neck. Take ferries from James slip (foot of New Chambers street) and from foot of East Thirty-fourth street. There are also several steamboats which make regular trips to points on the north shore of Long Island, but as most boats run for the convenience of dwellers in the Long Island towns rather than the denizens of New York city, they leave their city piers in the afternoon, so that a New York city passenger would be compelled to pass a night at any of their ports in order to enjoy a day’s fishing.

Long Island Sound, especially between Hell Gate and Mamaroneck, is the flounder fisherman's paradise. These little fish are caught earlier in these waters than in any other about New York; they run larger in weight, more numerous, and the season lasts longer. Striped bass are also caught in considerable numbers in the same waters, and in the fall they are of large size. Blackfish are very plenty, and some big ones are caught on the reefs and over sunken wrecks, a blackfish weighing 8lbs, or a little over being about the heaviest of which any record can be obtained. The blackfishing has begun now near New Rochelle and in Pelham Bay, and last week there were some large catches of these fish at City Island bridge and on the rocky shoals in the vicinity, weight running from one-half to 5lbs. ''Fiddlers” are the best bait for blackfish, and after fiddlers hard clams ("rock clams” they call them at City Island) are most generally used. Fish for them near the bottom, with sinker below the hooks. Weakfish are caught in Pelham Bay after July 1, on shedder crab, shrimp and sandworm bait. They are not so plenty here, however, as at Princess Bay, S. I., Jamaica Bay, L. I., and Perth Amboy or Boynton Beach (Sewaren), N. J. Bluefish do not run in the Sound nearer New York than Stamford, Conn., and those caught except there are small. Bergalls, tomcods or frostfish, bonitos and porgies are also caught in the Sound.

The trains of the Harlem River Division of the N. Y., N. H. & H. H. R. leave Harlem River station week days at 12:10, 6:40, 7:50, 9 and 10 A.M. and on Sundays at 7 and 9 A. M. and 12:01 P.M. Take the Second Avenue Elevated road to the Harlem end of the route, then walk across the bridge over the Harlem River to the station.

The first stopping-place for the angler is West Farms (fare, round trip, 20 cents), or West Farms may be reached by horse car from Third Avenue and 130th street for five cents. If the train is taken it is best to get off when the legally required stop is made just south of the Bronx River drawbridge, as West Farms station is several hundred yards north of the drawbridge, and it is at the at the bridge where boats must be hired. There is little fishing here, however, except for eels, tommies and an occasional striped bass in the river, but at the mouth of the Bronx, a two-mile row from the drawbridge, there is good striped bass fishing in season.

At Van Nest station, the next stop (round trip fare 24 cents), stage may be taken for the "Iron Bridge" on Westchester Creek, where some heavy and not particularly substantial boats may be hired at 50 cents a day. (Stage fare, both ways, 40 cents.) In the spring, if there are striped bass anywhere, they may be found near the mouth of this creek, but it is a two or three-mile row from the iron drawbridge, and a nasty sort of a creek withal as I know from bitter experience, having been hung up on its mud flats for hours waiting for a flood tide. There are also flounders, eels and tommies in the creek.

The best place of all for the angler to go along the Sound is at Bartow (round trip fare 40 cents), from which station all the fishing grounds of Pelham Bay be reached. Just before the train gets to Bartow station it crosses Eastchester Creek, an arm of Pelham Bay, which is an excellent spot for striped bass. Here for forty years old Captain Lawrence has kept a fisherman's resort. He has boats to rent at fifty cents a day on week days and a dollar a day on Sundays (the prevailing rate all along this shore), and the visiting anglers would do well to take the Captain's advice as to the best spot to drop line. The Grand View Hotel here (J. Elliott proprietor) also lets boats, and meals and lodgings can be obtained at reasonable rates. Both places always have bait on hand.

Eastchester Creek in Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) 14 October 2015

At Bartow station a line of horse cars connects with City Island (fare 10 cents). About half way to City Island on this route is M. Secor’s place where a dozen boats are for hire. It is a long row from Secor's to the best blackfish grounds, although striped bass are within easy distance.

At the western end of the bridge which connects City Island with the mainland is Philip Flynn’s place, which has been running for eighteen years and is well known to all Pelham Bay fishermen. Flynn has seventy boats for hire, he says, and when I visited him one recent Sunday every one of them was out. Meals can be obtained here, and bait.

At the City Island end of the same bridge, which dotted for its whole length with anglers on Sunday, is the well-kept resort of the Stringham Brothers. The principal hotel of the place (rates $2 a day and upward) is close by Stringham's and offers good accommodations for lodgers or boarders. The Stringham Brothers have forty good boats, always keep bait, and their cook knows how to get up the right sort of clambakes and clam chowder.

A little beyond the bridge is the boat house of Pell & May. Fifteen well-cared-for rowboats are kept here for hire, and a staunch and pretty catboat, the Maybe, can be hired by sailing parties. Pell & May always have bait hand, and from them much valuable information can be had about the fishing. Locust or Rodman's Point, just, opposite their boat house, is good ground for striped bass and weakfish in season.

Paul Sell, just beyond Pell & May's, has ten good boats to rent and is building more. He keeps bait on hand, and serves a good clam chowder lunch.

A little further along shore H. Walthers and J. Gruse have thirteen boats, and keep bait.

I believe blackfish anglers would do well to bring with them "fiddlers" for bait, as they are better than either sandworms or clams, the baits supplied by the resorts at City Island. The best places to go for blackfish are well out in the Sound. The vicinity of Hart's Island is a good place, or Rat Island, between City Island and Hart's Island opposite City Island Point. Tom's Reef Rock and the "Chimney Sweeps" are other good places, and there is always a chance to do well at the Four Rocks, the Hog's Back, Hoyt's Point (Twin Islands), and other places which the boatmen will point out.

male Fiddler Crabs July 2008 PBPK, Bronx

On Sunday the Pelham Bay fishing grounds may be by the steamers Baltimore or Philadelphia from New York to City Island bridge (round trip fare 40 cents). They leave Pier 27, East River (foot of Dover street), at 7 A. M.; Thirty-first street, E. R., at 7:25 A. M., and Morisania steamboat dock, 133d street and Southern Boulevard at 8:30 A. M.

A striped bass weighing 13.5 lbs. was said to have been taken by one Hop Heddy recently along the Eastchester shore, but a thorough investigation which I made into the matter proved that the fish was caught in a fyke and sold to Mr, Heddy. Its weight was over-estimated, too according to those who "hefted" it.

At New Rochelle, the terminus of the Harlem River branch of the N.Y., N.H. & H.R R. (round trip fare 50 cents), horse cars (fare 10 cents) may be taken for the shore of the Sound opposite Glen Island. The fishing in these waters is like that at Pelham Bay, and there are many favorite points for blackfish, striped bass, weakfish, etc., which will be pointed out by either Thomas Odell, who lets boats at the lower harbor, close by the Glen Island ferry, or by Theodore Kissam, who keeps a fisherman’s resort at the Upper Harbor. Bait may be had at both places. New Rochelle may also be reached by the main line of the same Railroad from the Grand Central Station at Forty-second street (fare, round trip, 70 cents). Trains runs every hour.

It is not worth the angler's time to go further up the Sound than Bartow or New Rochelle. The fishing is no better, and accommodations and conveniences are not so easily attainable.

From the shores of Long Island there are few places which the angler can reach in the Sound proper, because the Long Island Railroad does not touch the north shore except at rare intervals. If we may consider all the waters beyond Hell Gate as Long Island Sound. However, there are several places where a visit will pay, although most of the Long Island fishermen cross to the other side Smith of the Sound to do their fishing.

The bass fishing in the waters of Hell Gate and vicinity was fully described in the first of this series of papers, so it will be sufficient here to give a directory to resorts near Hell Gate on the Long Island shore where boats may be hired.

The only place at Astoria where boats may be hired is Dennis Hayes's, one block south of the ferry landing. Take Second Avenue Elevated to Eighty-sixth street, thence horse car to ferry at foot of East Ninety-second street. Or steamer Morisiana from foot of Fulton street at 11:30 A.M., fare 10 cents.

Bowery Bay is near the bass grounds about Riker's and Berrian's islands and Lawrence Point. There is also good flounder fishing here. Take steamboat from Harlem River Bridge at Third avenue every hour during summer for the excursion resort, Bowery Bay Beach, where boats may be hired at $1 a day. It may also be reached from East Ninety-second street ferry to Astoria, thence horse cars to the beach. Round trip fare, either route 25 cents. Bring your own bait.

In Flushing Creek there are flounders, tommies, eels, and then a bass. And if the angler can find the little fresh-water creek that empties into Flushing creek near its head, in the direction of Harry Hills pavilion, he will be able to catch good-sized striped bass off its mouth or just within the "gut" at high water slack. Take trains of the Long Island Railroad at Long Island City for Bridge, street, Flushing (round trip fare, 35 cents). Captain Bill Sands rents boats at the bridge near the station at 50 cents and $1 a day, and will give valuable points to his patrons. Captain Bill always keeps bait on hand.

Bluefish caught at Orchard Beach (Pelham Bay Park, Bronx), August 1990

Another good place to go is Whitestone Landing, reached by the same route (round trip fare, 60 cents). Blackfish are now being caught near there, Sunday’s haul being a good one. Row to Fort Schuyler or to the “Stepping Stones" or beyond Fort Schuyler. or to the reef or rocks off College Point. C. Watts has 11 nice boats for hire at his boat house and restaurant, which is three minutes walk from the station, for 50 cents a day. Further along shore boats may be hired at the same rate from Frank Boerum. or William Reilly. Bring your own bait.

Weakfish are caught in Flushing Bay and all along shore, but they are never numerous.

I have understood that a law is in existence to prevent the dumping of oil and other refuse into the East River, but I am sure the law is not enforced, as the water on Sound from Hell Gate to Little Neck has been thick with greasy filth for the past week, and all the 'longshore people’ I interviewed attribute scarcity of fish to the condition of the water.


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

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Black-crowned Night Heron fishing with people in Central Park on 10 July 2018 - Sandra Critelli