Quogue Wildlife Refuge - Quogue, New York
Text and Photography by Kevin Ferris
Most people generally visit the Long Island Hamptons area during the summer
for the beaches and night life. There is
another spot in the Hamptons thats worth visiting during the winter, spring
and autumn as well. Oh, and be sure to bring
Wildlife Refuge and Nature Center is located in the village of Quogue, between Westhampton
and Hampton Bays. The refuge has a couple of
ponds and hiking trails that can provide a variety of photo opportunities.
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge was established in the 1930s by
local hunters who were concerned about the impact of several severe winters on the
waterfowl population. Also, prior to
the invention of refrigerators, the main pond was also used to provide ice for local
The refuge now includes about 300 acres that cover several different
habitats. There is a main pond and two
smaller ponds. In addition, there are several
hiking trails through the refuge.
The main pond is home to many mallards and canada geese. Many visitors come to the refuge to feed the
waterfowl so they have become quite tame. Occasionally
other types of waterfowl can also be seen and photographed in the main pond.
A variety of
other birds can be found throughout the refuge. In addition, there are feeders outside the
visitors center that attract cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatch, goldfinch,
chickadees and titmouse. Occasionally hawks
can be found in the trees near the back pond areas.
Box turtles are often found on the hiking trails in the morning and
occasionally painted turtles can be found on the land during egg laying season.
During dry seasons when the water
level in the smaller ponds is low, the bog areas around these ponds can be a great area
for insect subjects. A wide variety of
dragonflies can be found sleeping on the branches of the plants around the bog in the
morning. In addition, black and yellow garden
spiders can sometimes be found in the same area (they spin their webs in areas where they
are likely to trap dragonflies).
There is a
small man made pond at the entrance that is home to several bullfrogs in the warmer
months. Sometimes they are very approachable,
and this can provide for some interesting bullfrog photos.
Other Activities at the Refuge
The refuge has
a Distressed Animal Area that houses several injured animals and birds. Those that fully recover from their injuries are
returned to the wild. Those that cannot
recover become permanent residents. The
permanent residents currently include a bald eagle, red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys, a fox
and a bobcat.
The animals and birds in the distressed animal center are a favorite attraction for
visitors. However, the enclosures make it
difficult to get good photographs of these animals.
The visitors center has a variety
of nature displays that are used for educational purposes. The center provides a clear view out onto the ice pond that allows visitors
to watch the bird and duck activity on the pond.
The refuge staff also provide a variety of nature and educational programs year round. These include craft programs for small children,
as well as programs for adults that include educational bird walks, seal walks and
Next time you are in the Long Island Hamptons area, take a little
detour with your camera and visit the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.
To get to the refuge from Sunrise Highway (Route 27) take exit 64S,
and head south on Route 104. Go about two
miles on Route 104 and then turn right onto Old Country Road. Go about ¾ of a mile west on Old Country Road and
you will see the refuge entrance on your right (just before you cross the train tracks).