May is the month when most of the nesting grassland birds arrive. These include Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper. Eastern Meadowlark is also common but would have arrived earlier along with American Kestrels which may use the nesting boxes that have been erected on poles in a few locations on the refuge. Less common grassland birds such as Grasshopper Sparrow and vesper Sparrow may be here as well.
Many species of butterflies such as Black Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur and Clouded Sulphur are common. Dragonflies are emerging as well and these are likely to be seen throughout the refuge. Learn about wildlife on the refuge
About the Complex
This complex also includes Wallkill River and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuges.
Shawangunk Grasslands is managed as part of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Important Things to Know
Birders by the dozens have been coming to the refuge the week of April 29 with the arrival of a very rare visitor – a Smith’s Longspur. This bird normally winters in the central and southern plains states and nests well north of the Canadian border. How it got this far off course is anybody’s guess.
Shawangunk Grasslands NWR is a natural area without restroom facilities or potable water sources. Please plan accordingly before visiting.Information to plan your visit.
Shawangunk Grasslands offers a variety of ways to enjoy the refuge including wildlife viewing, photography and hunting.Learn about activities on the refuge
Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge was established to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds. Learn more about wildlife on the refuge.
The refuge provides important habitat for wintering raptors that depend upon its expansive grasslands for hunting and cover. Raptors such as the short-eared owl (state-endangered), northern harrier (state-threatened) and rough-legged hawk (light and dark phases) can often be found hunting the open grasslands.
Page Photo Credits Shawangunk Grasslands - Steven Brooks., All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Shawangunk grasslands in winter - Steven Brooks, Winter at Shawangunk - Steven Brooks, Spring meadow - Steven Brooks, Short-eared owl - Ed Frampton
Last Updated: May 02, 2013