I was recommended to this site by a birding organization as I am in need of nest box trail monitors for the long haul. To truly be passed for generations. I will not get into that now. Just a little EABL background of Farmingdale.

This nest box project was started 20 years ago by volunteer Susan Harwood. She passed away suddenly last April. Susan was a Federally permitted bander. After we lost her the new volunteers now report all data to Nestwatch.

The 45 boxes are dispersed throughout Bethpage State Parks golf courses and therefore birding is not available for public access during the golfing season. Which can be year-round for some courses.

Susan had her very first nesting pair right in the middle of the 2002 US Open on the Black Course. Since then we have annually had 4-6 nesting pair. So you are all aware that means plenty of nesting Tree Swallows.

I worked there (since retired) and never knew EABL over-wintered until one bitterly cold winter I observed one drinking in a puddle in a parking lot. Up went my heated bird bath. Then trekking throughout the courses I would see groups together during the winter in their own course "territories". Winter is the best time to see those elusive creatures.

I think it was in January 2008 I snapped a shot of one of Susan's banded EABL (banded as a nestling) heading towards the Picnic area located off the Seaford Oyster Bay Exp. My friends and colleagues have seen them in picnic as well so they have obviously become well established. The golf courses take down more dead trees whereas Picnic woodlands are rarely touched. I know three of us have seen Red-headed woodpeckers over the years (so come on down Pileated!). I believe one local Audubon Chapter birds in Picnic. And now with Trailview connecting Bethpage State Park and Cold Spring Harbor, plenty of trekking points.

I have seen EABL at the Yaphank farm as well but sadly one site I saw them was cleared of the shrub line between the trees and the mown field. EABL favour trees/naturalized grass/mown or trees/shrubline/mown areas for feeding. They were seen across the street from the Yaphank Farm complex as well. So those in the Farmingdale area around the park watch your yards more carefully and even checkout Bethpage Pkwy.

Happy and safe birding for both you and the birds.
Kathie
P.S. I am not ashamed to admit it- I am actually partial to the subtle beauty of the EABL females.


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