Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson
Croton Point Park (
is) can be one of the top places to bird in Westchester. Bald Eagles can
be found here easily in winter. The capped landfill, once the feeding grounds for thousands
of gulls; now meadow, is the star attractant for birds year round. It has hosted Eastern Meadowlark and
Bobolink in the summer.
Birding is best when Westchester County follows its own management plan of mowing 1/4 of the meadow per year, thereby creating different meadows habitats, but this has never done. Either the maintenance workers are too lazy or the suits in the parks department are incompetent. At times the entire meadow is mowed leading to a disastrous breeding season or a near birdless wasteland in winter.
Fall and winter bring in many hawks such as American Kestrel and Northern Harrier. Red-tailed Hawks are common year-round. Look for Rough-legged Hawk in flight years and an occasional Short-eared Owl. Short-eared Owls are best seen at dusk as they start their night cruising the landfill for a meal. Great Horned Owl and Eastern-Screech-Owl are also present.
The landfill, is also great for sparrows in the fall, with Song, Savannah and White-throated the most common. All the other eastern sparrows may also show up and have included Vesper, Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. A few Savannah Sparrows overwinter along the ditches that drain the old landfill.
Look for American Pipit and Horned Lark in the fall and winter, along with occasional Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur. Bald Eagles can be found in the trees, on ice flows or overhead in winter. Another great spot for eagle watching is a small parking lot at the very southern end of the Croton Train Station, past the maintenance hut. Look for eagles in the trees just right of the Route 9 bridge and in the opposite direction in the trees right of the landfill. American Coot can be common here in late fall. Their numbers drop as the eagles come in for the winter till they all seem to disappear.
Waterfowl in Croton
Bay during fall and winter include Scaup, Common
Merganser, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead. The month of the Croton River, near
the Route 9 bridge can have Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Canvasback and
an occasional Redhead or Northern Pintail. The marsh to the
south is difficult to access but can have Virginia and Sora Rails
in migration. The lower trail out to the point holds many hard-hardies in winter
including Gray Catbird, Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow.
508 acres. Entrance Fee in the warmer months.
Directions: Take Route 9 to Croton Point Avenue exit; follow signs.
For more information on the park check out Westchester County Park's Web Site
Birds of Westchester County
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