The banding station on the grounds of the Crown Point State Historic
Site, located in thickets just west of the British fort, will open for the
29th consecutive season on Sunday, May 9th, and will close on or about
Victoria Day, Monday, May 24th. Operated annually since 1976, the station
is a project of the Crown Point Banding Association and is open to all.
However, the station will be closed to the public for the weekend of May
15-16, due to another major event at the site. Please avoid those two days.
All Region 7 Atlas 2000 observers should plan to pick up materials for
the '04 field season at the banding station, unless other
arrangements have been made with the regional coordinator. In addition to
the many usual classes and groups, a Camporee of 100+ Boy Scouts will camp
at the Historic Site and visit the station on the weekend of May 21st, while
an estimated million students in 10 thousand classrooms across North America
are sharing the Journey North program on our Crown Point banding this month.
Last year the station went around the world on "National Geographic Today"
on the NGS satellite TV channel.
The volunteer banding team camps out at the station and opens the nets
at first light (about 5 a.m.). The best banding usually takes place from
dawn until mid-morning, but birds are steadily netted throughout the day.
All visitors should park in the main parking lot in front of the museum,
walk past the gate of the British fort and uphill through an old farmyard,
then take the grassy, mown trail to the LEFT (or south) down the field to
the station. Visitors who arrive before the gate opens, or on days when the
Site is closed, should park across the road and NOT between the gate and the
highway, then walk in the access road and take a shortcut behind the gray
restroom building, over the rise, and down the field to the banding
station-- several tents and tables against the hawthorn groves to the west.
After a two-year permitting process with OPR&HP, DEC, and the NYS
Heritage Program, the green ash thinning project was completed this past
winter, and we hope this will conserve at least a portion of the hawthorn
thickets that helped gain Audubon Important Bird Area [IBA] status for the
Historic Site, at least for another decade or so, and continue to provide
cover and food for migrants and residents. We appreciate the help of
Historic Site Manager William Farrar, his staff, and the Moriah Shock Camp.
We also anticipate that Governor Pataki may soon name Crown Point SHS as a
new NYS Bird Conservation Area [BCA], with our unbroken
banding research a key component of that designation.
With no rushing brooks, Crown Point peninsula is an especially
attractive outdoor experience for those plagued by blackflies at home. But
deer ticks put in an appearance last May, and visitors are advised to avoid
the tall grass and take precautions. Wear waterproof footwear and bring
breakfast/lunch/dinner, beverage, and binoculars. This is a friendly,
cooperative venture, and visitors help check nets, meet other birders, and
bird around the Site (where over 180 species have been recorded) when the
banding is slow. We're also looking for vehicles to help transport the
banding station back to Elizabethtown on or about the 24th. Please let me
know at the station if you'd be willing to help, since I'll be out of
telephone and e-mail contact from May 9th. And if you attend early this
year, you'll undoubtedly return for more banding, banter, and
s. --Mike Peterson, Elizabethtown