Important Bird Areas

Bashakill Wildlife Management Area

New York

This site is administered by the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and includes the extensive
emergent wetlands that surround the Bashakill River. The primary
habitat is non-tidal wetlands surrounded by deciduous woods and
mixed woods. The southeast side is bordered by an abandoned
railroad right-of-way and the Delaware and Hudson canal borders
the northeast side. Some boardwalks and limestone caves exist in the
area. The site hosts a number of rare plants, including the spreading
globeflower (Trollius laxus), and rare animals, including the ironcolor
shiner (Notropis chalybaeus), known at only 10 sites in the state, and
long-tailed salamander (Eurycea longicauda). The area also contains
one of the largest bat hibernacula in the state, with six species of bats.

Ornithological Summary

The Bashakill is an important wetland complex, especially for the
downstate area, hosting fall concentrations of Canada Geese (5,000)
and Wood Ducks (1,000-2,000). It also hosts many at-risk species,
including American Black Ducks (migrant), Pied-billed Grebes
(breed), American and Least Bitterns (migrants), Ospreys (breed),
Bald Eagles (1 pair), Northern Harriers (migrant), Sharp-shinned
Hawks (breed), Cooper?s Hawks (breed), Northern Goshawks (breed),
Red-shouldered Hawks (breed), and Rusty Blackbirds (migrant).
Characteristic wetland-dependent species like Great Blue Herons,
Virginia Rails, Sora, and Common Moorhens breed here as well.

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority
site under the project name Neversink Highlands and Shawangunk
Mountains. This site has been designated a state Bird Conservation
Area. NYS DEC staff released insect control agents in 2001 and 2002
to manage the invasion of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Due to
limited staff time, there has not been active monitoring to measure the
success of these efforts. Purple loosestrife is still present in the wetland.
Local birders have expressed concern about declining numbers of
some waterfowl species as a result of altered water levels and increased
vegetation growth. Inventory and monitoring, especially of waterfowl
and at-risk species, are needed. There are also concerns about
developments within the watershed. The Sullivan County Audubon
Society hosts regular educational field trips and organizes cleanup
events.
? Jeff Nadler
Wood Ducks

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