From the Empire State Building and Broadway to Central Park and yellow cabs, images of New York City are so familiar to us from popular culture that even first-time visitors feel they know it as soon as they arrive! What most people aren’t aware of is that its extensive parks, green spaces and 578-mile waterfront offer some of North America’s most exciting and accessible birding! On this unusual new holiday we will explore the top birding locations in all five of New York City’s boroughs from our excellently located midtown Manhattan hotel. New York City is on the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route, and each spring large numbers of Arctic, boreal and temperate species ‘drop into’ the city’s metropolitan area to rest and refuel. Central Park is one of the top birding sites in the United States and we’ll enjoy birding in this 843-acre oasis, where as many as 30 species of wood warbler might be seen on a single ‘fall’ day, as well as other key sites in the city. There will also be time for some sightseeing and, for those who wish, an ‘upstate’ extension.
• Combines the excitement of exploring central New York City with some excellent birdwatching!
• 6-night stay in a wonderfully located midtown Manhattan hotel
• American wood warblers in breeding plumage a particular highlight!
• Central Park, Broadway, Times Square & Empire State Building only a short walk from hotel
• Look for Cape May, Blackburnian, Magnolia Warblers & much more in Central Park (Manhattan)
• 330 birds recorded in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (Queens) including shorebirds in spring
• Prospect Park (Brooklyn) is a migrant hotspot: vireos, sparrows, Bobolink, orioles & Eastern Bluebird possible
• Bird in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx & Great Kills Park on Staten Island
• Upstate extension
• Led by expert naturalist guides
The cost of all breakfasts and lunches is included in our price. During each evening you will be free to explore the culinary delights of the city.
A comfortable, midtown Manhattan hotel, offering easy access to Central Park, Broadway, restaurants and so on.
Day 1 Fly New York and transfer Manhatten.
Day 2/6 Varied birding excursions around New York City.
The state of New York lies in north-east USA. It borders five other American states, as well as Canada and two of the Great Lakes, and hosts four of the world’s ten most-visited tourist attractions, including Central Park, Niagara Falls and Times Square. In the far southeastern tip of this somewhat triangularshaped state is New York City. Situated in one of the world’s largest natural harbours, New York City comprises five boroughs — Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and is a hub for culture, media, fashion, finance and commerce. It is many people’s favourite city and, to first-time visitors, feels oddly familiar: the Manhattan skyline, yellow cabs, Broadway, the Museum of Modern Art, eating bagels for breakfast, strolling through Central Park, the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden are all so recognisable from films and popular culture that you are likely to feel right at home as soon as you arrive! As familiar as we are with these iconic landmarks, few people associate the city with birdwatching, but the surprising truth is that the city’s extensive parks, green spaces and 578-mile waterfront offer some of North America’s most exciting and accessible birding.
New York City is located at a geographic nexus of the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route, at the mouth of the Hudson River. Each spring large numbers of Arctic, boreal and temperate species ‘drop into’ the city’s metropolitan area to rest and refuel, especially when adverse weather conditions block their passage further north, and this unusual new tour combines the excitement of exploring central New York City with some excellent birdwatching! We will be based for six nights in a comfortable Manhattan hotel, excellently located within a short walk of Central Park, Broadway, Times Square and the Empire State Building. We will head out each day using the city’s efficient transport network to enjoy the top birding locations in all five of New York City’s boroughs, including Central Park in Manhattan, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Great Kills Park on Staten Island.
Central Park, an 843-acre rectangularshaped oasis in the heart of Manhattan, is an Important Bird Area and the focal point of our tour. This is one of the top birding spots in the United States and we will quickly see why on our first visit to ‘The Ramble’, a birdrich 37-acre jumble of hills in the centre of the Park. A stand of beech trees at the edge of Cherry Hill provides a banquet of insects just in time for arriving northbound ‘wood warblers’, as many as 30 species of which may be seen on a single big ‘fall day’. Birding from ancient bedrock left exposed by the retreating Wisconsinan Glacial Sheet more than 10,000 years ago, we hope to enjoy a veritable conveyor belt of these exquisite little jewels. All sporting fresh breeding plumage, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Yellow-rumped, Blackburnian, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers are all on the menu, along with, on the manicured lawns of the park, Chipping, Field and White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco and Indigo Bunting, all busily gorging seeds and chasing insects. If we ever find we’ve had our fill of warblers, we will turn our attention to the many thrushes, grosbeaks, orioles and vireos!
Prospect Park in Brooklyn is another migrant hotspot, with 100 species in a day being possible during peak migration, including five species of vireo, Vesper, Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink and Orchard and Baltimore Orioles. It is also arguably the best spot in the city to see Eastern Bluebird.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the north-eastern United States, with more than 330 bird species recorded. In spring, numerous shorebirds are present such as American Oystercatcher, both yellowlegs, and Semi-palmated Sandpiper, whilst a suite of warblers can include Prothonotary and Connecticut. Amongst breeding birds, we will enjoy egrets, herons, Glossy Ibis, Saltmarsh Sparrow and Marsh Wren. Butterflies will also be on the wing if sunny, and we will look out for several species including American Lady, Question Mark and Common Buckeye.
As well as our daily birdwatching excursions, there will also be free time to enable you to explore the city at leisure — whether you should choose to scale the Empire State Building, visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum or Statue of Liberty, or watch a Broadway show. So it will be that the ‘Big Apple’ plays happy host to a new and very different type of tour group!