* Note this post will be permanently linked in the “Where to Bird in Eastern New York Section”
These two small preserves, located down the road from each other are two of my favorite locations to bird in Eastern Greene County, New York. Both are located along the shores of the Hudson River and as such, provide above average birding in all seasons. Both are located on 4-mile Point Road in the Town of Athens in Greene County and both are owned by Scenic Hudson. The entrance to 4- Mile Point is about 1/4 mile once you turn onto 4-Mile Point Road, by the 1st curve. There is a small parking lot.
After checking out the information Kiosk, take the short path to your right, which leads down to a small pond. This pond doesn’t usually hold anything too exciting, but Wood Duck, Mallard and American Black Duck can be found and rarely Blue or Green Winged Teal. In Spring and Fall check the surrounding tree’s and listen for the squeeky-gate closing calls of Rusty Blackbirds. You may also find a Great-Blue Heron or Green Heron patiently hunting along the edges.
Returning to the main trail, you will notice that the woods are alive with birds. In Spring and Summer, birds such as Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Baltimore Oriole and Great-Crested Flycatcher can be abundant. Catbirds can often be heard mewing from the thickets. Because of its location to nearby nesting areas, Cerulean Warbler is a rare, but regular migrant. In fall, Dark-eyed Junco, White-Throated Sparrow and Golden-Crowned Kinglet, join the ever-present Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Cardinal and nearly all the regular occurring Woodpecker species.
Continuing down the trail a few hundred feet, the trail splits. One goes up, the other down. Going down, leads you to a picnic area, which is popular in the warmer months. Heading up, leads you through some short Cedar tree’s, where in fall, winter and early spring, one should look closely for a snoozing Northern Saw-Whet Owl or Long-Eared Owl. Kinglets and Warblers can often be found flitting through the trees. The path splits again, leading to two bluffs which provide spectacular views of the Hudson River. Whether on the upper bluffs or in the lower picnic area, keep an eye to the sky, for one of the numerous Bald Eagles in the area. Osprey are fairly common in migration, in colder months scan the River for waterfowl, Geese and Gulls.
Continuing down the 4-Mile Point Road approximately another 3/4 of mile the road will curve through an extensive swampy area. This land too is owned by Scenic Hudson, but access is limited, overgrown and unmarked. Due to the amount of Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease, entering the woods in warmer months is not recommended. If you look closely (and they are much easier to see in colder months) there are a number of foot paths which lead to areas of better visibility of the marsh. Waterfowl can be good here, with Teal, Mallard, Wood Duck, American Wigeon and Eurasian Wigeon as well. Hooded Merganser can be found in cooler months and Mute Swan, Pied-billed Grebe and Common Moorhen can be tough to find, but are likely residents of the marsh. Even if you don’t go into the Marsh proper, look for Green and Great-Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Mallard, American Black Duck, Bufflehead, All Woodpecker Species, Baltimore Oriole and Eastern Kingbird in warmer months, Great Crested Flycatcher and they usual assortment of migrants and chickadees. In the winter, check the Wood Duck boxes for snoozing Eastern Screech Owl. Great Horned Owl can also be found in the larger tree’s surrounding the marsh or being chased by Crows. Osprey can be found in migration, both flying over and in the marsh itself.
Just past where the road goes through the marsh, it runs along the river again, this spot is popular with fisherman in the summer and can be quite busy. In colder months, check the island across the way (Stockport Station in Columbia County) for Bald Eagles, in winter you may find several. Also check the River for Ducks, Geese, Loons and Grebes. Pine Siskin is often heard here among the horde of seasonal flocks of American Goldfinch. At low tide, be sure to check the edges of the river for Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer and other interesting shorebirds. Neither location is maintained in winter, although the road is plowed and so is the parking area to 4 Mile Point, however the parking area may be extremely icy. To bird both 4-Mile Point and Vosburgh’s Marsh should take about 2.5 hours, making it perfect stop as part of a tour of other birding locations in Greene County!
(Both 4-Mile Point and Vosburgh’s Marsh I rate as OK for Handicapped birding. The trails at 4-Mile Point are wide, short and fairly level, but are grass and thus difficult to move a wheelchair. There are also a number of short, but steep sections, which would make a wheelchair impossible at times and others with limited mobility would have a difficult time. However some of the best birding can be done in and near the parking area, which can be manageable even with a wheelchair. As for Vosburgh’s Marsh, there is no way to safely enter the marsh, but birding from the road can be productive and there is little traffic. The road is paved and even and someone with a wheelchair could easily navigate safely. There is also excellent viewing of the river from the Road, including excellent chances at Bald Eagle and other waterfowl on the river.)
4-Mile Point: *** Spring, * Summer, *** Fall, * Winter
Vosburgh’s Marsh: *** Spring, ** Summer, *** Fall, *** Winter