Orchard Beach Parking Fees

It costs $10.00 to park on weekends and $8.00 on weekdays. There is a senior discount during the week. Parking at Rodman’s Neck is closed, so that leaves us little access to the park for birding without having to pay a fee to park. Of course you can ride a bicycle or walk over. We can now enjoy the many nesting birds in the park. Remember to stay safe, wear a mask and socially distance. There are dog walkers and cyclists using the trails now.

Birding the Park and Avoiding Fees- Link Here

American Oystercatchers nest on the rock outcroppings off Hunter Island

These are Barn Swallow nestlings. The photo was taken in the NY Botanical Garden a few years ago. You can easily find them under the the train trestle near the Split Rock Golf Course.

A singing Seaside Sparrow down at Turtle Cove one summer. I believe they nest here or nearby.

It seems I put this photo of a Clapper Rail on the website almost every year. A bunch of us were standing on the metal bridge at Turtle Cove, on a walk many years ago, when the rail made a mad dash across the water. Clapper Rails nest here every year but it's difficult to see them as they lurk in the tall grass motionless. Recently ace birder Brendan Keogh saw a Virginia Rail at the bridge too.

If you check Turtle Cove often you will likely run into the Eastern Kingbird.

Several pairs nest here every year.

Another one of our nesters, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

A yearly nester at Turtle Cove, the Willow Flycatcher.

A Cliff Swallow nest in a condemned bathhouse at Orchard Beach.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

All photos and text by Jack Rothman. All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.Copyright 2020

          Updated 6/20/20

The migration is over for now. Birds have settled down and are nesting. There are lots of nesting species in the park. Quiet and careful observation will help you find many of them. Nesting birds are fiercely protective, so try not to disturb the nest if you do find a nest. You can link above to Recent Sightings to find what local birders and I have been seeing. As the weather heats up, birds will stay low and in the shade to stay cool. It's always easier to find them early, before the midday heat sets in. You can link here to see what nesting species we have, as well as a complete list of species in the park.The park will remain relatively quiet until the late summer, when the migration returns, as birds head south again.

Nesting Time in the Park


The current administration is proposing to abolish protections for birds. This law currently protects more than 1000 species. Many vulnerable species would be become further endangered if this proposal comes to pass. Industry already kills between 450 thousand-1.1 billion birds per year in North America. Abolishing the law that protects them would be truly devastating.

               For more information- Link Here

City Island Birds was created in 2007 to bring birders, and would be birders, to the park. Everyone has always been welcomed. Our walks are always friendly, non-competitive and fun. We all love to see great birds, but without each other, it's never as enjoyable.

A very old photo taken by the trestle, near Split Rock Golf Course. These are Barn Swallows being fed by mom. At this point, the fledglings are as large as she. She must be working very hard to keep them fed.

Bird Protections to Be Abolished  

     When Will Our Walks Resume?  

Everyone Will Always Be Welcomed

Birding While Black

Unless you've been in a news blackout, you likely saw the video of Christian Cooper, a well known and respected Black birder, being threatened by a dog walker, while he was birding. This woman threatened Chris, by saying she was going to call the police and tell them she was being accosted by an African American male. Chris had simply asked her to leash her dog. This was an example of shocking racism. Birding must be safe for everyone.  Last week there was a Birding While Black Zoom Conversation with Chris Cooper, Jeff Ward, who many of us know, and other African American Birders. This discussion sheds light on what it's like being a Black birder. You can watch it Here

We were originally having walks every Sunday from April through June, in Pelham Bay Park. When Covid 19 began to threaten, Joe and I were the first to suspend walks. Things are beginning to normalize a bit and I'm hoping it will be safe to be together by the fall migration. I'm guessing we would have to limit the number of birders on the walks, because our trails are narrow. We will have to wait and see how things develop. I really miss our walks and seeing everyone.