Hotspots Near You

182. Alley Pond Park, Queens, New York

This city park attracts lots of warblers, vireos, orioles, thrushes, and other songbirds in spring, rarities in fall, and waterfowl in winter.
By David Speiser | Published: 2/14/2014

Alley Pond Park is a great change of pace from New York City’s more popular hotspots. I particularly like going in spring to escape the throngs of birders at Central Park.

Years ago, shortly after I started birding, I found a small pond during a peak day in May. Warbler after warbler flew down to drink and bathe: Yellow-rumped, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Yellow, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Blue-winged, and my life Worm-eating Warbler! I was a convert.

During spring and fall migration, more than 20 warbler species can be seen, as well as cuckoos, tanagers, and other songbirds. Breeding birds include American Woodcock, Marsh Wren, Warbling Vireo, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Wood Thrush, and Great Crested Flycatcher. Fall can bring rarities, and in winter, Little Neck Bay, at the northern end, draws many waterfowl species.

The park has several entrances and is crossed by three major highways. To get your bearings, start at the Alley Pond Environmental Center on Northern Blvd. Pick up a trail map, check the wetlands behind the center, and enjoy. — David Speiser

David Speiser is a wildlife photographer and a board member of the New York City Audubon Society. He also wrote about Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo, New York, Hotspot Near You No. 109, and Francis Marion National Forest, Charleston, South Carolina, Hotspot Near You No. 134.

182. Alley Pond Park, Queens, New York

Directions

Alley Pond Park is a 655-acre natural area in Queens. To reach the Alley Pond Environmental Center, take the north- or southbound Cross Island Pkwy. and exit onto Northern Blvd. Drive east 0.2 miles and turn right into the parking lot. Other parking areas are located near I-495, along Grand Central Pkwy., and on 76th Ave.

Downloadable Files

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
40°45’43.83″N 73°45’8.74″W

Habitat

Forests, lake, kettle ponds, grassland, shrubs, wetlands, saltmarsh.

Terrain

Mostly flat with slight hills.

Birds

Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Yellow, Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided, Cerulean, Magnolia, Cape May, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Prairie, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Tennessee, Nashville, Blue-winged, Mourning, Worm-eating, Canada, Hooded, and Wilson’s Warblers, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated, White- and Red-eyed, and Warbling Vireos, Hairy, Downy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, American Woodcock, Marsh Wren, Willow Flycatcher, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Wood Thrush, Great Crested Flycatcher. Rarities: Painted Bunting, Yellow-throated and Virginia’s Warblers.

When to go

April through July.

Amenities

Alley Pond Environmental Center has trail maps, recent-sightings list, and restrooms. Bird walks hosted by Queens County Bird Club.

Access

City park. No fees. Parking is free and available in lots and along park roads. To reach the park by public transportation, take the Flushing Line (7 train) to the Main St. station and then board the Q12 bus to Northern Blvd. (East). Or take the Long Island Railroad Port Washington line to the Bayside station, walk south to Northern Blvd., and catch the eastbound Q12 bus. A bus stop is in front of the environmental center.

Tips

As in any urban park, bird with a friend.

For more info

Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Environmental Center, (718) 229-4000.
Queens County Bird Club

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