Where to Bird
in Columbia County

Last updated 9/30/13

Beebe Hill (15)Borden's Pond (3)Clermont (12)Copake Lake (18)Drowned Lands (21)Ernest Lasher Park (11)
Greenport Cons Area (8)
Hand Hollow (14)Harlem Valley Rail Trail (22)Harvey Mtn (16)Hudson Boat Launch (9)
KEEP Conservation Prsv (23)Lake Taghkanic SP (19)Lewis A. Swyer Prsv (4)M VanBuren Nature Trail (13)Nutten Hook (6)Olana (10)
Ooms Cons. Area(2)Rheinstrom Hill (17)Stockport Flats (7)Stuyvesant Landing (5)Taconic SP (20)Wilson M. Powell Sanctuary(1)

Click a number on the map or the name of a birding site in the list above or below to learn more.
KEEP Conservation Preserve Clermont Historic Site Ernest R. Lasher Memorial Park Olana State Historic Site Greenport Conservation Area Stockport Flats Nutten Hook Stuyvesant Landing Lewis A. Swyer Preserve Martin Van Buren Nature Trail Wilson M. Powell Sanctuary Ooms Conservation Area Borden's Pond Beebe Hill State Forest Harvey Mountain State Forest Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Center Copake Lake Taconic State Park Harlem Valley Rail Trail Drowned Lands Swamp Lake Taghkanic State Park Hand Hollow Conservation Area Hudson Boat Launch Hudson Boat Launch
1
Wilson M. Powell Sanctuary
2
Ooms Conservation Area
3
Borden's Pond
4
Lewis A. Swyer Preserve
5
Stuyvesant Landing
6
Nutten Hook
7
Stockport Flats
8
Greenport Conservation Area
9
Hudson Boat Launch
10
Olana State Historic Site
11
Ernest R. Lasher Mem. Park
12
Clermont State Historic Site
13
Martin Van Buren Nature Trail
14
Hand Hollow Conservatn. Area
15
Beebe Hill State Forest
16
Harvey Mountain State Forest
17
Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Ctr.
18
Copake Lake
19
Lake Taghkanic State Park
20
Taconic State Park
21
Drowned Lands Swamp
22
Harlem Valley Rail Trail
23
KEEP Conservation Preserve              NEW 9/30/13

1. Wilson M. Powell Sanctuary*
The preserve, protected by the Columbia County Land Conservancy, is owned by Alan Devoe Bird Club and provides a great deal of natural diversity in approximately 145 acres including a stream, a marshy area, glades and Reilly Pond. The Sanctuary provides habitat for Barred Owls, Common Ravens, Veery, Louisiana Waterthrushes and many other song birds. There is a small marshy pond and fern-caparisoned stream valley, and the cliff face itself holds treasures of ferns and lichens not found elsewhere in the Sanctuary. Dorson’s Rock, overlooking the magnificent Hudson Valley offers opportunities for hawk watching and unusual flora. Do take a short hike up to Dorson’s Rock for panoramic views across the Hudson Valley to the distant Catskill Mountains, scanning the sky for Red-shouldered, Red-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks.
PLEASE NOTE: No dogs are permitted at the Wilson Powell Sanctuary, whether leashed or not.

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Directions: Located off County Route 13, one mile southwest of the intersection of CR 13 and the Old Albany Turnpike (Old Chatham Village Square), take Pitt Hall Road, then a left on Hunt Club Road, Sanctuary entrance on right.
 

2. Ooms Conservation Area at Sutherland Pond*
Recently acquired from private owners, this public use pond hosts many migrating ducks, herons and swallows. Eastern Meadowlarks, Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows are usually present in the surrounding fields. Ospreys are another occasional treat.
The 180 acre Ooms Conservation Area at Sutherland Pond contains a scenic pastoral landscape with open grassland and aquatic habitat that attracts a high diversity of bird species. This property is a wonderful place to bring your family on a picnic, as a leisurely stroll provides visitors with spectacular panoramic views of rolling countryside and the Taconic Mountains.
Directions:   From the traffic circle in Chatham Village go north on Highland Avenue about 3 miles. Turn right on Rock City Road and go about 1 miles to the intersection of Hartigan Road. Ooms Pond is called Sutherland Pond on many maps.
 

3. Borden’s Pond
A joint project of the Borden’s Pond Preserve and the Columbia Land Conservancy is located within walking distance of the village of Chatham. A lower trail leads visitors along a small stream to a pond overlook with trails leading to an upland forest. Additional site improvements are underway on the property including additional parking area improvements, trial markers and footbridges.
Directions:   From the center of the Village of Chatham, follow Route 203 east. Follow signs for the Taconic State Parkway. Just past the Payne Home on the left, look for the Borden’s Conservation Area sign on your left. Follow gravel driveway into parking area.
 

4. Lewis A. Swyer Preserve
A well-managed boardwalk winds through a tidal floodplain swamp among Mill Creek to its confluence with the Hudson River. Listen in the early hours for the tremulous whistle of the Eastern Screech-Owl, which nests here regularly. Search the canopy for Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Yellow-throated Vireos. Some years, hundreds of Rusty Blackbirds rest here during their migration flight. At the end of the trail a viewing platform overlooks the river.
Directions:   North of the hamlet of Stuyvesant, on State Route 9J, western side, park on western shoulder of Rt 9J and follow signs.
 

5. Stuyvesant Landing
This site offers good views of the river and should deliver ducks, geese, and cormorants nearly any time of the year. Common Loons have been spotted here, along with Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Red-breasted Mergansers, American Coot, the rare Great Cormorant and Bald Eagles.
Directions:   Turn off Rt 9J onto Riverview Street.
 

6. Nutten Hook:
Scan the river opposite the town of Coxsackie for ducks, geese, and herons. In winter, rare gulls such as Glaucous, Lesser Black-backed and Iceland Gulls appear. Take a short walk along the small reed marsh and watch for Marsh Wrens, Willow Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers and Swamp Sparrows. The southern cove offers a place to put canoes in the water to paddle through the marsh to the south.
Directions:   Turn off Rt 9J onto Ferry Road south of the hamlet of Stuyvesant.
 

7. Stockport Flats*
This area of freshwater tidal wetlands and freshwater marshes is among the rarest ecosystems in the world. Belted Kingfishers and Bank Swallows burrow nesting holes into the soft, sandy cliffs of Stockport Middle Ground Island. In spring and fall, look for Least, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, and Wilson’s Snipe. Scan the inlet coves and islands for waterfowl and always keep an eye to the sky for Osprey and Bald Eagles.
Directions:   Turn off Rt 9 in Stockport onto CR 22.
 

8. Greenport Conservation Area*
Take a walk through the fields managed by the Columbia Land Conservancy as habitat for birds such as Boblinks, Field Sparrow and Meadowlarks. Eastern Bluebirds nest in boxes along the trails, as do Tree Swallows and House Wrens. Visit in late April or May for American Woodcocks.
Directions:   Turn off Rt 9 (Fairview Avenue) onto Joslen Blvd.
 

9. Hudson Boat Launch
Visit any time of year and scan the water and island for Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Wood Ducks, Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, Fish Crows and Bank Swallows. You may spot a Bald Eagle. South Bay, the adjacent cattail marsh, is one of the few places in the mid-Hudson Valley where Virginia Rail, Sora, and Least Bittern have been known to nest. Listen for the Marsh Wren among the nearby reeds.
Directions:   Turn off South Front Street in the City of Hudson onto Ferry Street.
 
 
10. Olana State Historic Site
This site is the former estate of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. Is has many popular wooded trails that attract several species of woodpeckers, vireos, warblers, and sparrows. Watch for Scarlet Tanagers in the canopy overhead and listen for the spring song of the Red-eyed Vireo. The Pileated Woodpecker has been known to breed here. Magnificent Hudson River and Catskill Mountain views.
Directions:   Rt 9G, south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
 
 
11. Ernest R. Lasher Memorial Park at the Germantown Boat Launch
The spot is excellent for watching resident and migrating waterfowl. Ducks that can be seen: Gadwall, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, Northern Pintail, Common Mergansers, Mallards, American Black Ducks and Canada Geese. Rare winter visitors include Tundra Swan, Long-tailed Duck, and Barrow’s Goldeneye.
Directions:   Follow boat launch signs from Rt 9G, north of Germantown, onto Anchorage Road.
 
 
12. Clermont State Historic Site
Originally the home of the Livingstons, a Hudson River Estate with landscapes and gardens. Good views of the river. This site offers several trails that attract many migrating songbirds. Scan the river in fall and winter for large flocks of migrant geese and ducks. In the spring, listen for Magnolia Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, and Black-throated Blue Warblers. In the summer, listen for Eastern Towhees and Overbirds.
Directions:   Follow signs from Rt 9G, south of Germantown.
 
 
13. Martin Van Buren Nature Trail
Take a short walk through the hardwood trails to see Hairy Woodpeckers, Wild Turkeys, American Redstarts, Baltimore Orioles and other songbirds. Afterwards, cross over to Lindenwald, the retirement home of Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States. The home is managed by the National Park Service.
Directions:   Parking off Rt 9H directly across from the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site.
 
 
14. Hand Hollow Conservation Area*
The Hand Hollow Conservation Area of the Columbia County Land Conservancy was opened to the public on 5/22/2005. Trails available to beaver ponds and wetlands, burbling brooks, cascading down a trail. A Great Blue Heron rookery is in this wetland environment. Hand Hollow is set in rolling hills of New Lebanon totaling 383 acres, consisting of three contiguous lobes. A western lobe, a central lobe with the beaver ponds and heron rookery, and an eastern lobe. Each lobe has its own parking area. The site has several diverse ecosystems. Although the site is predominately hardwood forest, home to forest bird species, the eastern and western extremities of the site are anchored by ponds, one of 21 acres. The varied habitat of the central and most accessible part of the site has stands of conifers, meadow and marshland as well as a stream beaded with five ponds, three constructed by beavers. This varied habitat at the center of the preserve is particularly suited for birding by individuals having limited mobility. The ponds have attracted belted kingfisher, osprey and great blue heron. The meadow is patrolled by swallows and kingbirds and phoebes sortie out from trees on the periphery. Moderate to more strenuous trails connect the center of the site to the extremities.
Directions:  From the intersection of Route 22 and US20, go west on US20, turn left on CR 5, proceeding south to the intersection with CR 34. Turn right and proceed to the intersection of CR 34 with CR 9. As you prepare to turn right you will see across the road the farmhouse that marks the parking lot of the Hand Hollow preserve immediately on the left, marked by the distinctive green and white logo of the Columbia Land Conservancy.
 

15. Beebe Hill State Forest
In spring and summer Beebe Hill State Forest hosts many birds such as Cedar Waxwings, Scarlet Tanagers, flycatchers, swallows, warblers, Mallards as well as other ducks, and occasional Osprey. In winter there are cross country ski trails. Look for deer, animal tracks, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and Ruffed Grouse. Spring Wake Robin (Trillium) and other plants can be found here. Climb the fire tower at the top of Beebe Mountain. Wonderful views.
Directions:   Start at the intersection of Rt. 22 and Rt. 203 in the hamlet of Austerlitz. Go north on Rt. 22 for a short distance and turn left on CR 5. Follow this 1.6 miles to Barrett Pond (also known as Osmer Pond) to the left. An old woods road to Beebe Hill departs to the left just beyond the pond.
 
 
16. Harvey Mountain State Forest
This northern hardwood forest is a continuation of the habitat found in western Massachusetts and Vermont. Nearly 1600 acres of hemlock and birch host Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Hermit Thrushes, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Blue-headed Vireos. This is a good place to search for irruptive northern species such as Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, and Crossbills, which may be found feeding on hemlock and spruce cones.

Directions:   Turn off Rt 22 onto East Hill Road (Austerlitz), park at kiosk.
 
 
17. Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Center and Sanctuary (Hillsdale)*
This 1,037 acres preserve is managed by the Audubon New York and provides a variety of habitats for nesting and migrating birds.
Directions:   From Rt 23, go south onto CR 7, turn left onto Cambridge Road.
 
 
18. Copake Lake
Visit any time of the year, but especially in fall and winter when other summer recreational activities on this small lake are less intruding. Many northern diving ducks stop here in early spring to rest before flying the rest of the way to Canada. Some unusual winter visitors include Red-throated Loons, Tundra Swans and Red-breasted Mergansers.
Directions:  From Rt. 23, go south onto CR 7, to public parking at corner of Lake View Road and CR 7.
 
 
19. Lake Taghkanic State Park*
Brown Thrashers and Prairie Warblers nest in the low shrubs each year. Red oak-white pine forests shelter numerous Wild Turkeys, Barred Owls, Ruffed Grouse and many warblers, thrushes and vireos. Take the Fitness Trail to several different habitats, from low scrub to hardwood forest, to wet fields, to the open water of Lake Taghkanic.
Directions:   Follow Rt 82 south of the Taconic State Parkway or exit off the Taconic State Parkway (northbound side)
 

20. Taconic State Park
This large park contains some of the highest elevations in Columbia County, including Washburn Mountain and the small peaks leading to Bash Bish Falls. Uncommon warblers, such as Worm-eating Warbler and Hooded Warbler, appear occasionally. Listen for Dark-eyed Juncos, While-throated Sparrows and the Black-throated Green Warbler.
D
irectionsTurn off Rt 22 onto Rt 344, follow the signs to the park entrance.
 
 
21. Drowned Lands Swamp Conservation Area*
Check the open red maple swamp for Barred Owl, Green Herons, American Bitterns, Alder Flycatchers, Wood Ducks and Swamp Sparrows. The Town of Ancram is sparsely populated and has many surroundings open fields, perfect habitat for American Kestrels, Rough-legged Hawks, Eastern Meadowlark and Horned Larks. You may find a Lapland Longspur or a flock of Snow Buntings among them.
Directions:   From Route 22 North: Follow Route 22 south through Hillsdale and Copake. Turn right onto Route 3 and follow it as it bends to the left. Proceed past Wiltsie Bridge Road, Blodget Road, and pass over the Punch Brook. The entrance to the conservation area is just past the Punch Brook on the left. Look for the Drowned Lands Swamp Conservation Area sign.
 
 
22. Harlem Valley Rail Trail
This former railroad bed was converted into a paved public trail running from Copake Falls south through Taconic State Park. This trail passes through several fields and woods, along ponds and wetlands on its way through the Taconic highlands, affording a perfect opportunity to look for birds in many different habitats. Rare birds such as Prothonotary Warblers and Yellow-throated Warblers have been spotted here.
Directions:   Follow Rt 22 to Rt 344 (Copake Falls), parking at entrance to Taconic State Park.
 
 
23. KEEP Conservation Preserve NEW 9/30/13
The KEEP Conservation Preserve's 143 acres of rivers, woods and old farm fields have mowed paths to provide an accessible walk through the preserve where many species of breeding, nesting and resident birds can be seen throughout the seasons. KEEP's efforts to bring back the old farm fields from encroaching woody vegetation have encouraged the nesting of field birds such as Blue-Winged and Prairie Warblers, Savannah and Field Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, and many other species. Butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals also benefit from this protected habitat. With the help of biologists from the Department of Agriculture, KEEP has planted grasses to attract Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks, both of which are seriously threatened in New York State. The preserve is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week for walking, nature observation and photography.
Directions:   From Rt. 9G in Germantown, turn east onto Main Street/County Rte 8 and travel approximately 1.8 miles. The Preserve is on the north side of the road, nearly opposite Orr Road. There is a mowed parking area just inside the entrance.


* Detailed writeups are available for Alander Mountain and the Harlem Valley, Drowned Lands Swamp, Greenport Conservation Area, Hand Hollow Conservation Area, Lake Taghkanic State Park, Mill Creek Marsh Preserve, Oom's Conservation Area, Rheinstrom Hill, Stockport Station, and Wilson Powell Sanctuary in the book Birding New York's Hudson-Mohawk Region, published by the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. Information about this book can be found on the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club website.
 
Many thanks to Bob Carroll, Bill Cook, Richard Guthrie, Nancy Kern, and Will Yandik, ADBC Club Members, for the research and text for some site descriptions. Thanks also to Columbia County Tourism.


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