Bird-watching at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - May 19th, 2012

I spent Saturday bird-watching and exploring Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. It's a beautiful protected bird sanctuary not far below JFK International Airport. It is owned and run by the National Park Service. It took about an hour and a half to reach from Manhattan by subway and bus but was worth the trip!

Tree Swallow in its nesting box:

To me, the most exciting park birds are the two resident nesting pairs of Ospreys. They built nests atop man-made towers provided for them. Both adult Ospreys were on the first nest I came across (which reportedly had four eggs in it). 

I saw two nestlings' heads poking up from the rim of the nest. I don't know if the other two eggs in the first nest hatched.

First nest: 

You can just see one of the babies' heads poking up between the adults:

Since May 2nd of this year the male adult has had a GPS transmitter harnessed around its back for research and tracking purposes. You can follow the whereabouts of the Osprey online at when it becomes live next month.

Two babies. The male adult is on the right (transmitter on his back):

Baby seen more clearly:

Tree Swallows nearby:

While I was photographing the Tree Swallows, the male Osprey had left the nest and disappeared.

Feeding time?

I'll have to look this bird up but it might be a Black-crowned Night Heron:

Glossy Ibis:

Canada Geese making their way to a pond:

Empire State Building in the distance:

Empire State Building and other buildings of the Manhattan skyline:

Red-winged Blackbird:

One World Trade Center, or the "Freedom Tower", still under construction:

Family of Canada Geese approaching:

Black-headed Gull:

Having a drink or just missing a fish:

Another Goose family:



Huge apartment complex:

Geese sorting out their hierarchy formation:

All figured out:

Yellow Warbler:

Glossy Ibis:

Part of the walking trail:

Second Osprey nest:

One of the adults in flight:

A harassing gull:

Osprey in the nest:

Gray Catbird:

Yellow Warbler:

Another Gray Catbird to cap the day: