More than 400 people turned out on Saturday, August 19 to celebrate the diversity of New York City’s shorebirds at the 18th Annual Shorebird Festival at the Jamaica Bay Refuge. They were greeted by representatives from groups including NYC Audubon, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, NYC Parks, the Queens Bird Club, the NYC Plover Project, and the National Park Service.
The goal of the event was to raise awareness of the many different shorebird species that spend time in and around the bay, while also providing some understanding of the migration patterns that bring them to this area. Many of the avian visitors currently passing through Jamaica Bay are already on their way from nesting grounds in Canada to winter habitats in South America.
The event itinerary began began with a welcome spread of coffee, bagel and doughnut offered by American Littoral Society, followed by hikes led by naturalists Don Riepe and Kevin Karlson to the bay's East and West ponds. The day also included a 50-year refuge history slide program by Riepe and a shorebird presentation by Karlson.
Karlson is an accomplished birder, professional tour leader, wildlife photographer and author who has published many bird and nature related articles for magazines, books, and journals over the last 20 years.
Riepe is the former director of the Littoral Society's Northeast Chapter and the Littoral Society's Jamaica Bay Guardian. An exhibit of his photography from the past 40 years is running at Resorts World Casino in Queens, NY. A closing reception will be held Sunday, August 27 from 1 - 3pm.
Other tours at the Shorebird Festival were offered by the Lower East Side Ecology Center and NYC Audubon's Young Conservationists Council. A welcome table was provided by the Student Conservation Association.