Hudson River Almanac 10/17/20 - 10/23/20

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC Delivers - Information to keep you connected and informed from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Share or view as a web page || Update preferences or unsubscribe

Hudson River Almanac
October 17 - October 23, 2020

A Project of the Hudson River Estuary Program
Compiled by Tom Lake, Consulting Naturalist

COVID-19 Guidance for Enjoying the Outdoors
While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the CDC/NYSDOH guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19. To find out more about enjoying DEC lands and New York's State Parks, visit DEC's website Play Smart*Play Safe*Play Local;

Keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.
Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

DEC recommends avoiding busy trailheads. Find the trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy during daylight hours.


It was not easy selecting a Highlight of the Week. We had very uncommon-to-rare visits from two songbirds and had the strangest fish in the sea wash up on a beach in the East River. The cooler and somewhat damp Autumn weather meant mushrooms in our forests. In the air, flocks of our “little geese” were migrating down the river “right on the deck,” and young-of-year fishes were heading seaward. Much of this drama was captured in our 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor.

Highlight of the Week

Fork-tailed flycatcher10/17 – Ulster County, HRM 92: A fork-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) was photographed today by Linda Armstrong as the bird perched on a guard rail along the walkway on the south side of Ashokan Reservoir. The fork-tailed flycatcher is a South American stray native to lightly-forested or grassland areas ranging from southern Mexico to Argentina. This was a very rare visitor to our area, the first documented record for Ulster County, and only the tenth record for New York State. (Photo of fork-tailed flycatcher courtesy of Paula Tracy)
- Steve Chorvas

Natural History Entries

Riverkeeper cleanup10/17 – Hudson River Valley, HRM 152: More than 900 volunteers came out for the 9th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep to care for the Hudson River. They worked long and hard at 65 locations, organized by local community members and partner organizations, from Brooklyn to Watervliet. Together, we removed eight tons of trash, a ton of recycling, 98 tires, and planted or maintained more than 500 native trees and shrubs. We’re still gathering information about the impact we made in just one day. As always, single-use plastics dominated the shoreline trash. But we also saw progress: many project leaders noticed less trash, perhaps COVID-related, along the river than in previous years. With the incredible help of volunteers, we were able to continue this annual effort in a safe manner, despite the limits and challenges posed by the pandemic.

Across nine years of the Riverkeeper Sweep, we have cleaned up more than 267 tons of debris, 1,463 tires, planted or maintained 4,401 trees or native grasses, and removed thousands of pounds of invasive species. Next year, we hope to add more projects to plant healthy vegetation and remove invasive species as we continue to steward our waterways and parks. Our next Riverkeeper Sweep is scheduled for May 1, 2021.
- Jen Benson, Julia Randall

10/17 – Saugerties, HRM 102: At sunset, I watched our “resident” harbor seal swimming out near channel marker #93 at the mouth of the Esopus Creek. This was Day 438 for the harbor seal in freshwater at river mile 102. (Photo of Riverkeeper cleanup courtesy of Rob Lowenthal)
-Patrick Landewe

10/17 – Bedford, HRM 35: Despite northwest winds, it was a fairly slow day at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch. We counted 80 migrating raptors; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 54. Migrating turkey vultures (43) made a big move as well. During the morning we had an eastern meadowlark flyover, a species I have never seen from the hawkwatch before. Non-raptor migrants included one monarch butterfly and 225 double-crested cormorants in two large kettles.
- Richard Aracil, Jack Kozuchowski, Julia Berliner, Karen Troche, Pedro Troche, Tait Johansson

10/17 – Hook Mountain, HRM 31: We counted 142 migrating raptors at the Hook Mountain Hawkwatch today. Sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 58. Migrating turkey vultures (69) also showed well. We had our first golden eagle of the season, an adult, flying fairly high to the north of the Hook moving southwest. Non-raptor migrants included Canada geese (more than 200 in multiple skeins), and a dozen monarch butterflies, all of which flying extraordinarily high.
- Tom Fiore

Shaggy manes10/18 – Ulster County: I found some choice shaggy manes (mushrooms) down along the Hudson River in the Town of Esopus. I have seen and eaten many of them but have never come across one that was ten-inches tall. (Photo of shaggy manes courtesy of Mario Meier)
- Mario Meier

[Eating some species of wild mushrooms can cause sickness and even death. Despite widespread beliefs to the contrary, there is no general rule that allows you to distinguish between a poisonous mushroom and one that is safe to eat. Wild mushrooms should only be considered for consumption after being identified by an expert mycologist and even then, only in moderation with samples of fresh specimens retained and properly stored to aid in identification whenever poisoning is considered a possibility. Steve Rock]

10/18 – Bedford, HRM 35: Despite unfavorable south-southeast winds, we had a very good raptor day at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch. We counted 103 migrating raptors; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 46. Migrating turkey vultures (112) had an extraordinary day as well. Non-raptor migrants included two monarch butterflies.
- Tait Johansson, Julia Berliner, Karen Troche, Pedro Troche

10/18 – Hook Mountain, HRM 31: We counted 101 migrating raptors at the Hook Mountain Hawkwatch today. Sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 63. Migrating vultures also showed well (turkey vultures 12, black vultures 4). Non-raptor migrants included eleven monarch butterflies.
- Felicia Napier

Prickly pear10/18 – Manhattan, New York City: Our local eastern prickly pear was now in full fruit. (Photo of prickly pear courtesy of Jack Woodhull)
- Jack Woodhull

[The eastern prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa), the only native cactus in northeast North America, is present in the Hudson Valley in a few locations best kept secret (from collectors). Prickly pear is protected under the New York State Protected Native Plants Program where they are classified as an “exploitably vulnerable native plant.” Prickly pear is always found in full sun and almost always open to a south-southwest exposure. While tolerant of marginal soils, they are very sensitive to human disturbance— their survival is often tenuous. Tom Lake]

Ocean sunfish10/18 – Bronx, New York City: Larry Labbate came upon a thought-to-be rare, four-foot-long, ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that had washed ashore in the East River between the Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges. A badly damaged dorsal fin suggested that a boat-strike may have been the cause of death. Ocean sunfish spend most of their time on the surface and the New York Bight is busy with commercial vessels.

The East River is generally considered to be an extended artery of the Hudson River Watershed so we questioned experts like John Waldman, Peter Park, and DEC’s Kim McKown for their opinions as to where the ocean sunfish might have originated. Kim McKown knows of occasional Mola mola in western Long Island Sound (Manhasset Bay) as well significant numbers in the Lower Bay of New York Harbor. The dead ocean sunfish was found equidistant between those points and the currents of the East River may well have carried the fish there from either direction. Rather than add the ocean sunfish to our watershed fish list, we opted to wait until a live Mola mola is encountered in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor or the East River. (Photo of ocean sunfish courtesy of Larry Labbate)
- Tom Lake

Ocean sunfish[The ocean sunfish (Mola mola) is native to tropical and temperate waters—such as the New York Bight—around the world. They are one of the heaviest known bony fishes in the world. Adults typically weigh between 550 and 2,200 pounds. Physically, they resemble a fish head with a tail. Their oblong body can be as tall as it is long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended. Their species name, Moa mola, comes from the Latin molaris, for millstone, an appropriate analogy given their gray color, rough skin texture, and rounded body.

In the Western Atlantic, they are rather common from Newfoundland to Florida. However, their presence, even abundance, in the New York Bight may have changed over time. Nichols and Breder (1927) thought them to be rare, while Briggs and Waldman (2002) considered Mola mola not uncommon in summer in the marine waters of New York.

They frequently travel in groups and drift with ocean currents following food sources. Sunfish feed on small fishes, squid, crustaceans, and jellyfish hunting from the surface to depths greater than 650-feet. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate, as many as three-hundred million at a time. Adult ocean sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, killer whales, and sharks will attack them. Tom Lake] (Photo of ocean sunfish courtesy of Christian Frederik)

Amanita muscaria10/19 – New Hamburg, HRM 67.5: After the most recent rain, I was blowing leaves on Rabbit Island and I encountered this gorgeous fungus, yellow-orange in color, about eight-inches tall. When the cap was fully opened, it was nearly nine-inches across. (Photo of amanita muscaria courtesy of David Cullen)
- David Cullen

[David Cullen’s mushroom was a blonde amanita (Amanita muscaria), also called the fly agaric. They are arguably the most iconic toadstool species. The blonde amanita is a cosmopolitan mushroom, native to conifer and deciduous woodlands throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Steve Rock]

Indian artifact 10/19 – Town of East Fishkill, HRM 65: Marty McDonald was excavating the ground for a patio today when an unusually-shaped piece of gray slate came up in the shovel. At first glance it appeared to be nothing more than that: an 8-inch x 4-inch slab of slate.

However, a closer look at the gray slate revealed tell-tale chipping on each side of its base. The stone had been “hafted” by human hands (fashioned to serve as a handle for a tool) in order to be attached, using natural cordage to a wooden handle. With that discovery, the unusually-shaped piece of gray slate became a garden hoe, or a makeshift shovel. Nestled in with the artifact were several pieces of fire-cracked rock (quartzite), remnants of a hearth—this had been a camp or possibly even more. Such artifacts are ageless, impossible to date except to say they are of Stone Age antiquity. (Photo of Indian artifact courtesy of Tom Lake)
- Tom Lake

[Fire-cracked rocks (FCR) are almost always evidence of ancient hearths, campfires, or human food-processing. When fire-heated as a component of a hearth, or used in pre-ceramic times to boil water, they crack, spall, and break leaving reddish shards with diagnostic fractures.

FCR often predates the advent of pottery and horticulture in the Northeast, both arriving about 2,000 years ago. Fire-cracked rock is usually made of quartzite or sandstone cobbles. Given the number of campfires that must have been used in the Hudson Valley across a dozen millennia, it is easy to see why FCR is commonly found strewn along the hill tops, flood plains and shoreline. Tom Lake]

10/19 – Bedford, HRM 35: We saw light movement today at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch counting 46 migrating raptors; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 19. Migrating turkey vultures (72) had a good day. Non-raptor migrants included three monarch butterflies.
- Richard Aracil, Julia Berliner

10/20 – Bedford, HRM 35: We had another day of light migration at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch. We counted 39 migrating raptors; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 14. Non-raptor migrants included five monarch butterflies.
- Richard Aracil, Julia Berliner

10/20 – Hook Mountain, HRM 31: We counted just seven migrating raptors at the Hook Mountain Hawkwatch today. Sharp-shinned hawk was high count with three.
- John Phillips

10/20 – Manhattan, HRM 2: Our Hudson River Park’s River Project Staff checked the sampling and collection gear that we deploy off Pier 40 in Hudson River Park, still alive with the summer’s heat! We caught two blue crabs (25, 133 millimeter (mm) carapace width), two young-of-year oyster toadfish (50, 58 mm), two young-of-year black sea bass (55, 75 mm), and an impressive 320 mm adult tautog.
- Toland Kister, Olivia Radick

(one inch = 25.4 millimeters (mm))

Striped bass10/20 – New York Harbor, Upper Bay: Using a live American eel, Chris Carlino caught a 15 pound striped bass—with an exceedingly unusual stripe pattern—in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, right in front of the Statue of Liberty. (Photo of striped bass courtesy of Chris Carlino)
- Tom Lake

Brant10/21 – Saratoga County, HRM 182: Based on some word-of-mouth communication, I checked Brown's Beach at the south end of Saratoga Lake. I counted sixteen brant mixed in with a couple hundred Canada geese hanging out right in front of the beach. Scanning out on the lake also turned up a common loon.(Photo of brant courtesy of Doug Wechsler
- Gregg Recer

[Waterman Dery Bennett used to mark the seasons by noting how brant (Branta bernicla), a small species of goose, would arrive at Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area each autumn after spending the summer in the Canadian Arctic breeding and fledging their young. After spending the winter, they will shove off once again next May to breed in the Canadian Arctic. Tom Lake]

10/21 – Mohawk River, HRM 158: Our Thursday Birders Group visited Lions Park in the Town of Niskayuna. Thanks to Naomi Lloyd’s sharp eyes, we had a wonderful surprise. Naomi spotted an unusual looking sparrow with a yellow orange wash across the top of its chest, very fine dark streaks, and a clear, white belly. We considered a Le Conte’s sparrow, but no one had noticed the crown color, which turned out to be a distinguishing feature. Later, we had the opportunity to see its large gray nape and the gray patch behind its eye separated by a buffy-orange color, as well as a dark, wide stripe on the crown, and the unusual coloring on the upper breast. It was a Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow!
- Susan Beaudoin

[A Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammospiza nelsoni) is certainly an unusual sighting for the area. There are two documented sightings at Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve (9/29/66 and 10/1/67), birds mist-netted and banded by Bob Yunick. They pop up in migration more to our south and east, breeding along the Atlantic coast. We are more likely to see birds from the interior (midwestern) population as this one was, with brighter butternut-squash on the breast and face and very fine streaking. Naomi Lloyd]

10/21 – Bedford, HRM 35: We counted 31 migrating raptors at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch today; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 20. Migrating turkey vultures (18) made a good show. Non-raptor migrants included two monarch butterflies.
- Richard Aracil

10/21 – Manhattan, New York City: We conducted our water birds monitoring protocol this morning. It was overcast with wind speeds topping out at 0.8 miles per hour (mph). At five sites along the Bronx Kill, we saw 55 Canada geese, five double crested cormorants, five blue jays, and a belted kingfisher. At three sites at the Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh along the East River, we counted an immature black-crowned night heron, a yellow-crowned night heron, a great blue heron, and a Cooper’s hawk. Everywhere we saw an assortment of gulls.
- Jackie Wu

10/22 – Hudson River and New York Harbor: Today was our 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor covering more than 160 river miles at 50 sites from Staten Island and the East River upriver to above the tide at Troy. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Day-in-the-Life was conducted without on-site student participation.

Day-in-the-Life of the River has become a time to blend science, education, and almost a poetic reverence to our connection to the world we share. It is a day to pay homage to our educators and scientists and recognize their role. Naturalist Teilhard de Chardin said it well when he reasoned that, “The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.”
- Tom Lake

Beroe's comb jelly10/22 – Little Stony Point, HRM 55: It was peak autumn color in the mountains at the Northern Gateway to the Hudson Highlands providing a gorgeous backdrop to our contribution to the 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor at this New York State Park. The tide was dropping, the river heading seaward, but along the beach we had an eddy current that had bounced off a point of land just downriver. It was curling back upriver making seining a tricky maneuver. Our first few tries netted us almost nothing. The only life in the seine was scores of teardrop-size Beroe's comb jelly (Beroe cucumis). Then we began hauling the net with the flow and the fish were there.

Young-of-year fishes dominated including striped bass (68-71 mm), American shad (87-91 mm), and hundreds of blueback herring (52-70 mm). A smattering of Atlantic silverside (80-102 mm) reminded us of the warm and salty summer we had. A dozen or more blue crab (8-45 mm) made sorting through the net an adventure. The river was a warm 65 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and the salinity was 3.5 parts-per-thousand (ppt). (Photo of Beroe's comb jelly courtesy of Mark Norman)
- Tom Lake, Lauren Martin

[Comb jellies (Ctenophora) are often mistaken for jellyfish but differ in that they have no tentacles and do not sting. Like true jellyfish, comb jellies are translucent, gelatinous, fragile, nearly planktonic—they can move via their comb rows—often drifting at the whim of the wind and current. They are peanut to walnut-sized, often occur in swarms, and are common in warm, brackish estuarine shallows. When they are present in numbers, if you walk through shallow tidewater on a moonless night it will look like you have fluorescent (bioluminescent) green streamers trailing in your wake.

For a real treat, gently scoop a few with a wet, cupped hand, place them into a small clear container, and gently rock the water. Their rhythmic, symmetrical, and altogether graceful movements are enchanting. Two species of comb jelly occur in the estuary, Beroe's comb jelly (Beroe cucumis) and Leidy's comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi). Tom Lake]

10/22 – Cornwall Landing, HRM 57: The tide was coming up the beach, but as a first-quarter neap tide, it was behaving itself. A strong south wind was warming the air nicely for late October (73 degrees F) and our contribution to the 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor.

As we had seen at Little Stony Point, a couple of hours earlier, young-of-year fishes, headed seaward, dominated our catch. They included striped bass (80-94 mm), American shad (87-92 mm), and hundreds of blueback herring (67-72 mm). Atlantic silverside (84-93 mm), a summer-long visitor from saltwater, added their striking silver flash. The highlight was a half-dozen silvery, young-of-year bluefish (130-135 mm). The river was a warm 68 degrees F,and the salinity 3.0 ppt.
- Tom Lake, Travis Cherry

[As we were shaking out our net and packing up, three flocks of brant, one after another, 30-40 birds each, came down the middle of the river, right on the deck, heading south. Sharing the middle of the river were two flocks of double-crested cormorants, 50-75 birds each, flying downriver. Tom Lake]

10/22 – Bedford, HRM 35: This morning at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch, even when fog reduced visibility to 1.5 miles or less, we still managed to see a few fog-shrouded migrating Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks. I suspect birds were migrating despite the fog, and I think we missed a substantial number. We still counted 54 migrating raptors today; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 35. However, migrating turkey vultures (66) were best for all migrants. Non-raptor migrants included eight monarch butterflies, 400 pine siskins moving in flocks (one flock contained more than 200 birds), more than 400 American robins, 43 purple finches (I think there were many more, but there were several distant flocks left unidentified that were probably this species), 91 cedar waxwing, and 50 brant, our first of the season.
- Richard Aracil, Julia Berliner, Karen Troche, Pedro Troche

Lined sea horse10/22 - Manhattan, HRM 2: More than 200 students joined our Hudson River Park’s River Project Staff, virtually, to check the sampling and collection gear that we deploy off Pier 40. This was our contribution to the 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor.

We were fortunate to be able to show the students an impressive sampling of Hudson River life. There was no surprise when our traps and pots held feisty blue crabs (55-105 mm carapace width), shared with oyster toadfish (50-185 mm), a striking black sea bass (60 mm), an adult tautog (225 mm) and, the prize catch, a gorgeous lined seahorse (100 mm). (Photo of lined sea horse courtesy of Siddhartha Hayes)
-Siddhartha Hayes, Tina Walsh, Anna Koskol, Marika Krupitsky

10/22 – Manhattan, New York City: This was the Randall's Island Park Alliance Staff’s contribution to the 18th annual Day-in-the-Life of the River and Harbor. We spread our seine in mid-morning at Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh in the East River. Our net caught only a single species of fish, mummichog (Fundulusheteroclitus), and plenty of them (805). Mummichog may be the phonetic representation of the Algonquian name for these killifish, often translated as “fishes that go in crowds,” an apt description today at Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh. The East River was 64 degrees F, and the salinity was 25.0 ppt.

Our second site in late-morning to early afternoon was at Water's Edge Garden on the Harlem River. Across three hauls, we caught four species of fish and three invertebrates, most numerous being 160 Atlantic silverside (60-110 mm). Other fish were young-of-year winter flounder and Atlantic menhaden. There were seven northern pipefish (up to 150 mm); they are very strong for such a delicate-looking fish. The smallest (70 mm) was as thin as uncooked vermicelli. Invertebrates included sand shrimp, blue crabs, and comb jellies (all the size of a shelled macadamia nut). The Harlem River was 64 degrees F, and the salinity was 26.0 ppt.
- Jackie Wu

** Fish of the Week **
Smallmouth Buffalo 10/23 – Hudson River Watershed: Fish-of-the-Week for Week 92 is the buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus x I. niger), number 23 (of 234), on our Hudson River Watershed List of Fishes. If you would like a copy of our list, e-mail:

[Buffalo is not a true species, but rather a hybrid. It may seem inconsistent that the buffalo is on our list (given a number) when other hybrids like tiger muskellunge (muskellunge/northern pike) and splake (lake trout/brook trout) are not listed singly. The buffalo is included because neither of its parent species, smallmouth buffalo or black buffalo, are found in the watershed.

The parent species, smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) and black buffalo (I. niger), are freshwater fishes, members of the sucker family (Catostomidae), and are native to the Mississippi watershed and the Great Lakes. Neither were recorded for New York in C. Lavett Smith’s Inland Fishes of New York (1985).

The story of our buffalo hybrid, assumed to have been a canal introduction, began on June 22, 2007. Kris McShane of the NYSDEC Region 3 Hudson River Fisheries Unit caught what was tentatively identified as a bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus) in their haul seine during the adult striped bass and American shad spawning stock survey on Esopus Flats (river mile 85). The fish was 26" long and was mixed in with common carp of similar size. The buffalo was sent to the New York State Museum where New York State Ichthyologist Bob Daniels identified it as a hybrid smallmouth buffalo x black buffalo based on communications with colleagues who worked in the Great Lakes region. (Photo of smallmouth buffalo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife)
- Tom Lake

10/23 – Bedford, HRM 35: This was the fourth day in a row with fog at the Bedford Audubon Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch. There was fog and drizzle for the first hour then fog continued to impede visibility substantially until late morning. Altogether, we counted 58 migrating raptors; sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 22. Migrating turkey vultures led all migrants with 60 (plus one black vulture). Non-raptor migrants included a monarch butterfly.
- Richard Aracil

10/23 – Hook Mountain, HRM 31: We counted 58 migrating raptors at the Hook Mountain hawkwatch today. Sharp-shinned hawk was high count with 36. The first raptor of the day was a sharp-shinned that came through the fog and landed in the tree to our west scattering a number of purple finches and an olive-sided flycatcher. We watched a local red-tailed hawk dive on a raven. The red-tail was carrying a stick in its talons which it dropped, and the raven caught it in mid-air. Non-raptor migrants included a flock of 50 pine siskins and a flock of 28 purple finches.
- Ajit I. Antony, Liza Antony

Double crested cormorant courtesy of John Badura

Fall 2020 Natural History Programs

DEC Seeks Birdwatchers to contribute to 2020 Breeding Bird Atlas
NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced a call for citizen-science volunteers to help in the development of a comprehensive, statewide survey that takes place every two decades to detail New York’s breeding bird distribution. Starting in 2020, five years of field surveys will be conducted by volunteers and project partners to provide the data that will be analyzed to create the third New York State Breeding Bird Atlas.

DEC is partnering with the New York Natural Heritage Program, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), Audubon New York, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, New York State Ornithological Association, and New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit on this project. When complete, the atlas will provide species-specific details about distribution, maps, and illustrations. The last atlas was published in 2008, with information on its results available on DEC’s website. The 2020 atlas will provide data on changes in species distribution and climate change’s potential impact on wildlife.

To participate, volunteers can make a free eBird account and submit data online through the atlas website ( or via the eBird mobile app. Simply record the species and any breeding behaviors observed. All sightings can count. As observations are reported, data can be viewed here:

Hudson River Miles
The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

To Contribute Your Observations or to Subscribe

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), use the links on DEC's Hudson River Almanac or DEC Delivers web pages.

Discover New York State

The Conservationist, the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State's great outdoors and natural resources. The Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage. Visit The Conservationist webpage for more information.

Useful Links

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration online tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable when planning Hudson River field trips. For real-time information on Hudson River tides, weather and water conditions from sixteen monitoring stations, visit the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System website.

DEC's Smartphone app for iPhone and Android is now available at: New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App.

NY's Outdoors Are Open (

PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Get Outside Safely, Responsibly, and Locally

New York State is encouraging residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. NYSDEC and State Parks recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NYS Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

DEC and State Parks are encouraging visitors to New York's great outdoors to use the hashtags #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal, #RecreateResponsibly, and #RecreateLocal on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share their visit and encourage others to get outside safely, responsibly, and locally, too. Use the DECinfo Locator to find a DEC-managed resource near you and visit the State Parks website for information about parks and park closures.

Take the Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely and Responsibly

1. I pledge to respect the rules and do my part to keep parks, beaches, trails, boat launches, and other public spaces safe for everyone.
2. I will stay local and close to home.
3. I will maintain a safe distance from others outside of my household.
4. I will wear a mask when I cannot maintain social distancing.
5. I accept that this summer, I may have to adjust how I enjoy the outdoors to help keep myself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing my plans to visit a public space.
6. I will be respectful of others by letting them pass by me if needed on a trail and keeping my blanket ten feet apart from others on the beach.
7. I will move quickly through shared areas like parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas to avoid crowding.
8. If I'm not feeling well, I will stay home.

Information about the Hudson River Estuary Program is available on DEC's website at