My final outdoor adventure of my weekend upstate was a brief visit to the Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary in Catskill, NY, just over the county line in Greene County.  Early on Sunday morning my brother needed a ride to Catskill to meet up with a fellow golfer so they could hit the links, and I volunteered myself, hoping to pay y folks back for their hospitality by preventing them from having to get up while the sun was barely over the horizon.  The fact that my brother’s destination was just down the street from the sanctuary might have entered the equation, but, hey, my motives are my own and are really none of your business, wise guy.

Anyway, Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary has a nice entrance trail that runs south through some upland habitat before dropping down to a freshwater marsh.  The upland habitat was loaded with berry-bearing plants which were themselves loaded with a horde of Gray Catbirds.  Seriously, the sheer volume of Dumetella carolinensis was enough to drive a birder to distraction and it sometimes seemed as if catbird was the only game in town.

There were, of course, other species like Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Common Yellowthroat, and Carolina Wren present but none could compare to the ubiquitous Gray Catbird, though some House Wrens did do their best.

Once I reached the marsh I climbed into the observation tower and looked out over the lush wetlands and saw pretty much nothing but green.  No herons, no waterfowl, no nothing.  It was kind of a let down.  Back on solid ground I walked the paths through and around the marsh and came up with a Warbling Vireo, a family of Eastern Kingbirds, some Red-winged Blackbirds, and a couple of other species but mostly I just enjoyed being outdoors early in the morning.

On my way back out of the sanctuary (I left after only an hour with my goal being to get back home before Daisy and Desi awoke) I startled a White-tailed Deer which bounded down the path ahead of me, its tail a flag of surrender.

It was a worthwhile visit and my folks were amused to find this article about the Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary in the local paper the day after my visit.  I must be very inspiring!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.