Thursday, July 28, 2022

Bar-tailed Godwit at Cupsogue Flats

With the recent find by Ben Boldiuc of a Bar-tailed Godwit at Cupsogue Long Island NY, there has been a renewed interest in birding the Cupsogue Flats. Eileen Schwinn, a member of the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society was kind enough to write a set of instructions on how to access and bird the flats. I received permission to share her advice.

Eileen writes the following: "At Cupsogue, there is a parking fee between 8:30AM - 6PM on weekends, $9 and $18, with a few exceptions.  Free entry before and after those times.  It’s best to use the Moriches Coast Guard Station as the tide reference for low tide, with" crossing" to the spoil island best about 1-1.5 hours before dead low tide, with a return 1-1.5 hrs after low.  The channels can get deep and it's easy to get equipment (and car keys) submerged if not careful. 

Best access to the sand flats is by parking at the western end of the parking lot, and walking the 1/4 mile from the camping entrance, toward the camping areas, and taking the sandy trail north to the bay.  Once there, follow the shoreline east. Total shore walk is under a mile.  Crossing as the crow flies across the marsh from the parking lot can be dicey at best and dangerous if you are not familiar with this area.  As suggested earlier, if limited mobility is an issue., viewing with a scope may be possible from the ocean access stairway near the concession stand and restrooms.

This is a very popular public beach, with occasional traffic backups from the western-most Westhampton Beach bridge crossing, so earlier is a better time for your arrival.  Unfortunately, the powers that be have not installed any “PARKING LOT FULL” sign anywhere.  Also, be alert to the 25MPH speed signs in the Incorporated Village of Westhampton Dunes, with its own enthusiastic police force."

I hope the above message from Eileen, helps would be Cupsogue visitors. If anything seems unclear please drop me a note.

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