Shawangunk Grasslands

June 20:¬† Reports of a nesting pair of Henslow’s Sparrows prompted me to make the 2 1/2 hour drive across the Newburgh Bridge into Ulster County, NY to Shawangunk Grasslands, NWR. Entering the parking lot I spotted yellow tape and knew instantly that the trip had been for naught, because sure enough the very trail to the sparrow spot had been cordoned off. I did speak to one of the volunteers who told me they had had so many birders looking for the Henslow’s that they felt they had to do this for the welfare of the birds. The good intentions are understandable, but it seems ironic that folks who travel a long distance to see the only unusual species in the entire place are denied viewing the one thing that attracted them to this far out-of-the-way locale in the first place. Why not simply set up a viewing spot from a demarcated safe distance instead of placing the cordon all the way back at the trailhead? Schadenfreude. Ah, the do-gooders…

BobolinkThe grassland habitat of course is home for numerous other nice species such as Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and especially Bobolinks, one of which perched up close in some shrubbery immediately adjacent to the parking lot.

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