Posts Tagged ‘aquatic’

Birding in the Ashokan Watershed

Posted on: June 17th, 2020 by Irene Foster
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Belt­ed King­fish­er (Megac­eryle alcyon)


Are you look­ing for a fun, safe activ­i­ty to try now that the weath­er is nicer and reopen­ing is ramp­ing-up? If so, con­sid­er stream­side bird­ing in the Ashokan Water­shed. In the Ashokan Water­shed there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties to hang out near streams while you are pic­nick­ing, hik­ing, or just relax­ing.  While you are there, you can spot many types of wildlife, espe­cial­ly birds. Also, you can look for birds while obey­ing social dis­tanc­ing recommendations.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

Com­mon Mer­ganser (Mer­gus merganser)


Some com­mon bird species you are like­ly to encounter are the red-winged black­bird, belt­ed king fish­er, great blue heron, Cana­da geese, and sev­er­al species of ducks such as mal­lards, wood ducks, and the com­mon mer­ganser.  In addi­tion to those com­mon aquat­ic birds, there are many song­birds that rely on the ripar­i­an areas for their habi­tats.  The ripar­i­an zone is the area along the sides of streams. If you are spend­ing time on the Eso­pus Creek, you might catch a glimpse of bald eagles, who work their way upstream from the reser­voir in search of food.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)


To go bird­ing, you do not need to be an expert on ornithol­o­gy (the study of birds) or have any fan­cy equip­ment. How­ev­er, if you want some help get­ting start­ed and learn­ing more about bird­ing, there are many smart­phone apps that can help you. Bird­ing apps offer a wide vari­ety of fea­tures such as iden­ti­fy­ing birds, iden­ti­fy­ing bird songs, track­ing which bird species you find, or view­ing oth­er bird sight­ings that have been logged near you.

A female and male pair of Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)

A female and male pair of Mal­lard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)


If you are look­ing for more infor­ma­tion on iden­ti­fy­ing stream­side birds, check out the Cor­nell Lab of Ornithology.

Some more resources on bird­ing are the Young Bird­ers Net­work through the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, the Audubon Guide to North Amer­i­can Birds, or this Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram Newslet­ter from 2014 that has more bird species to look for and sug­ges­tions of where to look for them.

If you would like to learn more about a com­mon water­shed and back­yard bird species, the Amer­i­can Robin, you can view Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program’s new video on our YouTube chan­nel.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)