Robert Moses State Park (Long Island)
|Description: Robert Moses State Park, at the west end of Fire Island, has 5 miles of sandy
beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the park is still in a natural state, featuring
dunes, swales and salt marshes. Thousands come annually to fish and
birdwatch. The park is located along the Atlantic migratory flyway, and more
than 300 bird species have been observed, including endangered shorebirds.
Wildlife viewing is excellent throughout the year, but during the summer, you
can improve your chances of seeing a greater variety of animals by looking in
areas away from the crowded bathing beaches.|
Wildlife to Watch: White-tailed deer are abundant throughout the park. Watch for them at dawn
and dusk, both on the dunes and in the swales. Red foxes and cottontail rabbits
are also easily seen during the quiet morning and evening hours.
Gazing across the water in winter months, you may see small groups of northern
gannets. These large white seabirds crash dive into the ocean from more
than 100 feet, “flying” underwater after fish. Common and least terns, great
black-backed, ring-billed and herring gulls and double-crested and great cormorants
are other seabirds to look for. Piping and other species of plovers and
sandpipers skitter back and forth with the rhythm of the surf, looking for food
in the wet sand.
A raised platform at the east end of the park is an excellent place to watch
migrations of hawk species, northern harriers, kestrels, peregrine falcons and
ospreys. Many species of warblers and other songbirds stop over on their
spring and fall migrations. Yellow-rumped warblers reside here year-round.
Thousands of orange and black monarch butterflies arrive from September
through October, during their epic multi-generational migration to Mexico
each year. At times, hundreds rest on a single tree or bush, waiting for the
right winds to carry them southward.
In the ephemeral pools and salt marshes at the west end of the park, American
oystercatchers, glossy ibises, green and great blue herons and great and snowy
egrets come to feast on the abundant marine life. Oystercatchers can be seen
working their way along the park’s sandy beaches. Canada geese, brant, mallards,
black ducks and red-breasted mergansers are the most abundant of the
many waterfowl species you may see.
Special Tips: The park is open from sunrise to sunset, year-round. There is a
vehicle entrance fee. Other hours and fees vary by activity; contact
the park directly. Fishing is allowed in season.
631-669-0470, Babylon, NY
Other Activities: Along with the park’s 5 miles of beach, a boardwalk with interpretive signs
takes you through the dunes and into the swales, where you can discover the
plants and animals that live in this coastal habitat.
Ownership: NYS Office of Parks,
Size: 875 acres
Closest Town: West Islip
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: