Since the NYS BBA III has begun this year it becomes all the more important to 
be accurate in our reporting of checklists from the Wallkill River NWR in 
Orange County New York. This block is close to the border with NJ, so that most 
of the refuge is in NJ while Oil City Road and the “platform” are in New York.

One of the dedicated Atlas volunteers from our club described to me someone she 
met 2 days ago who had just completed the entire Liberty Loop which starts in 
NY, goes into NJ, and ends in NY, and who had entered all the species seen on 
one eBird checklist -- as is quite common, and moreover told her that he had 
entered it on the NYS BBA III; and this club member despairingly texted me “How 
can we prevent non-NY birds being reported in NY on BBA reports?” My response 
was that at present it was impossible, and it was up to us to educate 
individual birders to the problem. This post is written is in the spirit of 
(though I’m not religious) “It is better to light a candle than to curse the 

One of the important aspects Julie Hart emphasized in Atlasing in 2020 on one 
of her workshops is knowing that there are block borders and keeping each 
checklist to within a specific block.

For those unfamiliar with the Liberty Loop Trail. It is a 3 mile 
rectangular-shaped trail.
If you walk the Liberty Loop counterclockwise from the platform, when you come 
to the long side of the rectangle that goes North-South on the western side of 
the loop and you start getting to trees on either side of the path, you are 
already in NJ.
If you walk the Liberty Loop clockwise from the platform, when you come to the 
long side of the rectangle that goes North-South on the eastern side of the 
loop, when you get to the second large tree on the right, you are close to NJ.
If you use the eBird app in the field, block borders are clearly marked. You 
have to click on the “mileage” you have traveled shown on top and the border 
will show up in white when you zoom out, with your current location shown as a 
blue-and-white bull’s-eye. As you walk closer to the border, repeatedly look at 
your location and when you come to the actual border of Unionville-SE, you 
should end this checklist and begin a new checklist for NJ -- which you should 
end when you leave NJ and come back to NY. The remaining portion in New York 
could be a new checklist, and with the eBird app for both Android and iPhone, 
there is no effort at all starting a new checklist.

Here is a link to Google maps, where under Satellite View you can easily see 
the trees I’ve mentioned. 

I was told by Curt McDermott (the eBird reviewer for Orange County, New York) 
that the Refuge plans to place a sign at the NY-NJ border, and I hope that the 
new information overcomes force of habit and inertia.

Ajit I. Antony MD
Cornwall on Hudson, NY
EA Mearns Bird Club, Orange County, New York


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