bird watching with your dog

Stony Point :.

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One of the prime wintering grounds for the American bald eagle lies about 50 miles north of NYC in the marshlands of Iona Island in Stony Point, NY.

Non-eagles can drive on to Iona which is a 556 acre tidal marshland preserve and bird sanctuary chartered by the National Park Servicein1974. Whenwefirstvisited,we were amazed by the fact that dogs are welcome to walk and explore with their people. Leashes, please.

The heaviest concentration of wintering eagles is found at Iona in January and February. In the winter, eagles practice “low energy” hunting. Rather than cruise above in their quest for dinner, as they do

in the summer, they prefer to sit still, high in the leafless trees and watch until fish or fur catches their eagle eye. Marshes team with life and this one is less than a half mile from the Hudson River. Dinner from the marsh; desert from the river.

Eagles are far from the only birds at Iona. When we visited, we spotted a number of warblers and heard melancholy kingfishers call. There is a birders’ boardwalk built out into the marsh which allowed us to make a fair number of sightings.

After an afternoon of hiking and sighting, you can warm up at Bear Mountain Lodge with hot chocolate or a complete dinner (see October’s Brooklyn Bark Talks), literally across the road.

Iona Preserve is off Route 9W about a mile south of the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Hudson River Research Reserve: 845-889-4745

Tags: blad eagle, Brooklyn Bark Talks, bird watching, Brooklyn Dog Walker, Stony point