Fishkill Ridge
Community Heritage

Dress Warm, and See The Sights!


 Snowy BarnPoughkeepsie Journal
Sunday, January 2, 2005

Best time to see rare species is now. View unusual animals
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 them.

''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

Public programs

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.

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