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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

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 11702, www.nysparks.com

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

RestroomsParkingFishingHikingHandicap AccessibleLarge BoatsDrinking WaterSwimming

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Robert Moses State Park - Photo by John Williams
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From 27A/Montauk Hwy., take Robert Moses State Pkwy. south to Ocean Beaches. Merge onto Robert Moses Causeway. At the traffic circle, take the first exit onto Robert Moses State Pkwy. Turn right to stay on the parkway. The park is on the left.

Map Link

Robert Moses State Park (Long Island) : Wildlife Viewing Area