Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Birdwatching & Wildlife Viewing

Discover the top birdwatching areas in the Peconic Estuary!

The Peconic Estuary is a great place for observing wildlife, and birdwatching has become a favorite activity. Near the water, you can find shorebirds, such as piping plover, terns, and osprey, and a variety of waterfowl. In the surrounding forests and grasslands you may find warblers, hawks, and owls. For a complete list of birds and their seasonal occurrences, check out the Brookhaven National Lab’s Birdwatching Migration Checklist.

Top Places to Find Wildlife:Osprey in a tree

Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge

2595 Noyak Road, Sag Harbor; Phone: (631) 286-0485

Hike the self-guided Wild Birds Nature Trail (1.2 mile) through woodland areas and onto the beach.

Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL)

327 Burman Boulevard Calverton, NY 11933

Enterprise Park at Calverton is a public-owned private-use airport on a 2,900 acre mostly undeveloped parcel of land in western Riverhead.  This area includes over 800 acres of rare grassland habitat as well as portions of the LI Pine Barrens, SC Special Groundwater Protection Area, the Peconic Estuary watershed and the LI Sound watershed. This excellent habitat provides for a variety of rare and protected species with some nice birdwatching along the roads around the Calverton Property. Make sure to stay off the runways and any private property within the area.

Cedar Beach County Park

3690 Cedar Beach Road Southold, NY

A 68-acre park with over 2,800 feet on Shelter Island Sound. The park provides the  visitor with great vistas of Shelter Island Sound and the mudflats, sandbars and the saltwater marshes of Cedar Beach Harbor, great for birdwatching.

Cranberry Bog Preserve Suffolk County Park lands

3675-3815 Lake Ave Riverhead, NY 11901; Phone: (631) 854-4949

Indian Island County Park/Camp Grounds

Indian Point Rd, Riverhead, NY 11901; Phone: (631) 852-3232

The best area for birdwatching is along the eastern edge of the park near the picnic area. The 275-acre county park offers trailer & tent campsites plus picnic tables, grills & a playground.

Laurel Lake Preserve

Great Egret eating an alewife

5501 NY-25, Laurel, NY 11948

Park your car near the kiosk displaying an aerial photograph of the Preserve. Follow the blazes from the kiosk and trailhead sign across a grassy field into a wide woods path.  Cedar and oak, along with some dogwood and laurel comprises the first community of plants you encounter, but that, along with the topography, is constantly changing as you walk this 2-mile loop trail.  As you enter the wooded area, an untamed choir of birds greets you.

Montauk County Park

(formerly known as Theodore Roosevelt County Park)

Montauk County Park Main Offices, 27 E Lake Drive, Montauk, NY 11954; Phone: (631) 852-7879

Third House Entrance, 1636 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
Follow Montauk Highway East through Montauk Village 3 miles east of the Village. Continue on Montauk Highway past East Lake Drive. Park sign and entrance is on north side of Montauk Highway.

A total of 1,126 acres features three and a half miles of nature trails. For great bird watching check out the trails around Big Reed Pond.

Napeague Harbor

East Hampton, NY

Eastern shore-Walking Dunes: The Walking Dunes are part of Hither Hills State Park. The Walking Dunes can reach a height of 80 feet. To get to the dunes, head west on Montauk Highway and turn right at Napeague Harbor Road, by the Hither Hills Racquet Club. Continue over the railroad tracks straight to the end of the paved road. Park your car here and take off on foot following the path to your right. Continue on this path and you will reach the dunes.

Western shore-Lazy Point: For great bird watching check out the wetlands around Lazy Point.

Orient Point County Park 

41425 NY-25, Orient, NY 11957; Phone: 631-854-4949
(Located at the end of Route 25, across from the Orient Point ferry.)

Orient Beach State Park

40000 Main Road (Route 25) Orient, NY 11957; Phone: (631) 852-3232

Located on the eastern tip of the north fork of Long Island, is a natural wonderland of waterfront with 45,000 feet of frontage on Gardiner’s Bay and a rare maritime forest with red cedar, black-jack oak trees and prickly-pear cactus. Its natural beauty earned designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1980. Other natural attractions in the park include the salt water marsh and marine wildlife. Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Black Crowned Night Herons, and Osprey are common sights in the park, leading to its recognition as an Audubon Important Bird Area.

People looking for wildlife in the Peconic EstuaryBird Watching Guided Hikes:

Eastern Long Island Audubon Society

We welcome suggestions for places to go on our bird walks and for programs you would like us to sponsor. If you have a suggestion for a bird walk, please e-mail Eileen Schwinn. If you have a suggestion for a program please e-mail Suzi Stewart or Bob Adamo.

Long Island Pine Barrens Society

The LI Pine Barrens Society hosts group hikes in the Pine Barrens. Hikes are always led by expert naturalists, who would be more than happy to teach you about the variety of bird species in the Pine Barrens. E-mail to inquire about a group hike or to be added to the hiking list.

North Fork Audubon Society

The Red House at Inlet Pond County Park 65275 Route 48 Greenport, NY 11944; Phone: 631-477-6456
We always have a weekday monthly birdwalk – as well as other birdwalks, monthly NFAS-sponsored talks, special NFAS events, and related talks coordinated with other organizations.

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