Local birders refer to this hotspot as the Bayonne Golf Club, but, in fact, the course is private. We are really birding along a stretch of the 30-foot-wide Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, which is planned to connect the tip of Bayonne to the George Washington Bridge, about 15 miles upriver. The path parallels an inlet that is adjacent to a shopping mall and passes through a wetland-mitigation site and the golf course, which is built on a restored landfill.
I enjoy the ease of access and ambiance of the walkway. But it is more than just the wide, serpentine paved paths and the pleasant park benches overlooking the inlet that keep me coming back. The Bayonne Golf Club gives me a chance to explore a successfully restored marsh that is not overrun by phragmites and observe many birds at close proximity, especially from two plank bridges.
Known recently for a resident King Rail, the hotspot has yielded many other sought-after species, such as American Avocet, Snowy Owl, and Purple Gallinule. As an under-birded location with a variety of shorebirds and ducks passing through, I have no doubt that more rarities will be discovered here. — James McCormick
James McCormick is an ecologist and a biology teacher. He previously wrote about the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, Hotspot Near You No. 188.