Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, across the bay from JFK airport, has been designated as an Important Bird Area of Global Significance—and right in our backyard. We will take the A Train across Jamaica Bay, walk through the unique island hamlet of Broad Channel (which was covered up to the second stories of houses during Hurricane Sandy in 2012), see mud flats, salt marsh, upland woodlands, fresh water ponds, and distant vistas of Manhattan, while catching sightings of Osprey, geese, ducks, as well as herons and egrets, shorebirds, songbirds and Peregrine Falcons from the Marine Parkway Bridge. Opossums, Raccoons and gargantuan Snapping Turtles have also been spotted. But this is primarily Shorebird Migration Season and JBWR is the best place to see them in the city! Depending on the water level of the East Pond (our destination) you may need above-the-calves rainboots for wading through water and muck (old sneakers just aren’t enough, and you definitely don’t want to go barefoot!) Surprises abound. Bring snacks but there is no “picnic” eating on the trails – we’ll eat lunch at the picnic tables at the Refuge Center). High Tide (the best time for shorebird viewing at this location) is 6:27 pm)
THE MEET UP: Meet before 3:30 am at the DOWNTOWN end of the West 4th Street DOWNTOWN A Train Platform. Board the FIRST car of the A Train that enters the station after 3:30 am (toward Far Rockaway NOT toward Lefferts Boulevard) to Broad Channel. (If you are already in Brooklyn or Queens, alternate meeting locations can be arranged.) Approximately 3 mile walk. There will be a mid-trip bus ride. Return to Manhattan by same route.