Sunday, January 2, 2005
Best time to see rare species is now. View unusual
By Dan Shapley
If endangered species were easy to see, they would not be endangered.
Karner blue butterflies, once present throughout the Hudson Valley,
are now only found in the Albany area, and gray wolves are gone
from New York altogether.
In the Hudson Valley now is the best time of year to see both
bald eagles, on the federal endangered species list, and short-eared
owls, on New York's endangered species list.
Several pairs of bald eagles nest and raise young on the Hudson
each year, and in winter they are joined by dozens from Canada.
Seeking ice-free water for fishing, bald eagles can often be
seen, especially around the Danskammer and Roseton power plants
in the Town of Newburgh. The plants discharge warm water, keep
the river free of ice, attracting fish and the eagles that eat
''There is no way to look at an eagle that doesn't inspire, no
matter how many times you're lucky enough to get the chance,''
Dave Taft wrote in the Hudson River Almanac, after seeing an eagle
on Croton Point, Westchester County, on Dec. 11.
Short-eared owls often spotted in Ulster County
Short-eared owls also fly in for the winter in the Hudson Valley.
The Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in the Town
of Shawangunk, Ulster County, is perhaps the best-known place
to see them foraging for meadow voles and other critters.
''Most days around dusk they come out from their roosting areas
and they primarily hunt on the wing, flying back and forth over
the fields,'' refuge manager Steven Kahl said.
Dan Shapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The state's Hudson River Estuary Program will sponsor several
public programs for people interested in trying to see bald eagles
on the Hudson River. Programs will be held at Georges Island Park,
on Route 9A in Montrose, Westchester County, at 2 p.m. Saturday,
Jan. 29, Jan. 30, and 3 p.m. Feb. 12. For information on these
eagle programs, call 1-212-483-7667
Other good places to try to see bald eagles include Esopus Meadows
Environmental Education Center in Ulster Park, Norrie Point State
Park in Hyde Park, New Hamburgh Yacht Club in New Hamburg and
the Town of Wappinger boat launch in Chelsea.
For short-eared owls, try the Shawangunk Grasslands National
Wildlife Refuge, off Hoagerburgh Road in the Town of Shawangunk.
Dress warmly, and bring binoculars.