Birding & Spring Nature
May 14 – 16, 2021
As springtime awakens, Mohonk is the perfect place for bird watchers of all levels.
Join us on Birding & Spring Nature weekend with environmental educators for hikes, bird walks, workshops, and an exploration of the natural world as it awakens on our mountaintop.
Birding & Spring Nature program is led by Kurt Weiskotten, who has been the program leader since 1985.
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
Physical Distancing Requirements and Maximum Occupancy Restrictions: The indoor events this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, have limited capacity. Guests attending the event must wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated, and sit in socially distant seating that will be preset. Events are available on a first come first serve basis though we usually can accommodate all guests. Between each session the room will be reset and sanitized. We thank you for your understanding as we work to continue to make Mohonk a safe and fun environment for all.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
FRIDAY, MAY 14
First Walk: Lakeside Birds
Meet the leaders and fellow participants on this casual search along the lake for the first birds of the weekend. An easy walk along carriage paths through the hemlock woods below Sky Top and back along the Mohonk Lake shoreline.
Take advantage of this chance for an open discussion with the leaders who have over a century of birding experience combined.
Birding in the Hudson Valley
In her new book “Birding the Hudson Valley,” author Kathryn Schneider provides tips, guidance, and encouragement for bird enthusiasts of all skill levels to leave their backyards and explore bird life beyond the bird feeder. Kathryn will discuss her background as an ornithologist, teacher, and conservationist, and review the life journey that led her to spend three years writing her first book. The book is full of useful information and includes species accounts and directions to more than eighty birding locations throughout the Hudson Valley.
SATURDAY, MAY 15
Early Morning Bird Walks
The leaders invite all birders, of all levels, on a variety of early morning jaunts in search of spring migrants that dropped in overnight. More species of birds occupy the property during this weekend than any other time of year, so don’t miss the feathery excitement.
Long Walk To Rhododendron Bridge
This trek will reward you with visits to a variety of habitats harboring birds and plants not found higher on the mountaintop. Our destination is a unique, rich, deep, dark swamp with botanical delights! A strenuous hike back up.
What Did That Bird Say?
This session with Mike Losito is designed for beginning and even intermediate birders wishing to incorporate listening skills into their everyday birding experience. Methods covered include the use of phonetics, diagrammatic symbols, and vocabulary descriptors in plain English. After a half-hour introductory session, participants will apply their listening techniques on a casual stroll through the Mountain House grounds.
Underwater Creatures Of Lily Pond
Help Wayne Gall explore Lily Pond with dip nets looking for creatures such as dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, water tigers and water scorpions, giant case-making caddisfly larvae, eastern newts, and more.
Live Snake Showcase
Hang out for an hour with Mike as he talks about the biology and ecology of North American snakes. Mike’s collection of harmless live snakes from SUNY Cobleskill will be on hand to assist in this fun and factual presentation.
Select Hummingbirds of North America
Learn about one of the most interesting groups of birds found in the New World. This indoor program will explore the lives of some of the species found here in the U.S. and Canada and what makes these creatures so utterly fascinating!
Ornithological Mysteries, Frauds, And Conundrums!
This presentation by Greg Budney will delve into useless, yet utterly fascinating stories from the ornithological world! Who was Colonel Meinertzhagen? How is the Hudson River Valley connected to a bizarre museum bird specimen heist in England?! Improbably, what Asian bird is among bird specimens collected by FDR as a young boy?
SUNDAY, MAY 16
Early Morning Bird Walks
Early morning is a magical time at Mohonk! Join the leaders once again as we search along woodland paths for any migrating songbirds that may have moved north during the night.
A 100-Year Old Bird Walk
Birds were known by very different names decades and centuries ago, and during this casual bird walk with Kurt, only the historic names of birds will be used. Come along in search of Devil Downheads, Yawkerbirds, and Silver Tongues.
Big Hour Birding Blitz
Make a team or join another and head out around the Mohonk grounds for an hour to record the most birds possible – most species gets a prize!
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
MEET OUR PROGRAM LEADERS
Kurt has devoted his life to birds and nature in all forms and enjoys spending time on ocean shores and Adirondack mountain tops. He has a BS and MS from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and spent a summer deep in the north woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan studying boreal flora and ornithology. His furthest travels have taken him to Mt. Everest base camp and Mandalay. He has worked as a freelance artist, environmental educator, wetland scientist, and is currently an environmental scientist with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. Consultants in Albany.
Mike Losito, Ph.D.
Mike is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Professor of Wildlife Management at the State University of New York at Cobleskill where he has been teaching ornithology for 25 years. He has led students on field trips to more than 17 states as well as Canada and Panama. He received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015 and the University of Maine Professional Excellence Alumni Award in 2018. He is a Master Bird Bander and a Life Member of the National Geographic Society.
Wayne Gall, Ph.D.
Wayne has led numerous nature programs at Mohonk Mountain House. He served as the Buffalo Museum of Science’s first Administrator/Naturalist of Tifft Nature Preserve from 1983-1987, then Research Fellow and Curator of Entomology for the museum from 1987-2001. From 2001-2016 he was Western Regional Entomologist for the NYS Department of Health. Since May, 2016, Wayne has been Entomologist (Identifier) for US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Wayne earned his MS in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto.
Greg is a former Audio Curator of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, the world’s largest collection of wildlife sound recordings. He is also a leading bird sound recordist and has produced numerous audio guides to sounds of North American birds. He has trained hundreds of biologists and citizen scientists in techniques for capturing the sounds of wildlife for research, conservation, and education.
Kathryn Schneider, Ph.D.
Kathryn Schneider, Ph.D. grew up in Claverack, New York and attended Cornell and Princeton universities, where she completed her Ph.D. She taught college courses in general biology and ornithology at the University of Richmond and later at Hudson Valley Community College. In 1986 she returned to Columbia County and for 14 years directed the NY Natural Heritage Program, a biodiversity inventory program run jointly by The Nature Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. She is past President of the New York State Ornithological Association and currently co-chairs the Steering Committee for NY’s third Breeding Bird Atlas Project.
When you visit for Birding Spring Nature Weekend, your overnight package includes:
- Three meals daily featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients from our farm-to-table partners. See our full list of dining options>
- Access to more than 85 miles of scenic hiking trails
- Yoga, Meditation, and Fitness classes
- Afternoon tea and cookies in our historic Lake Lounge
- Make an appointment to visit our Greenhouse
- Indoor heated pool with underwater music
- Guided hikes and outdoor activities with our Recreation team
- Nightly evening entertainment, special events, and more! See activities schedule>
- Guided nature hikes with stunning views of the Catskill Mountains
- Boating, and fishing on Lake Mohonk
- Rock scrambling our iconic Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze trail
- Guided archery, and tomahawk throwing sessions
- Complimentary court time on our Har-Tru and red clay tennis courts
- Complimentary greens fees on our historic 9- hole golf course
À la carte experiences available to overnight guests:
- A full menu of nature-inspired treatments at our award-winning spa
- The Carriage Lounge, featuring a full bar and handcrafted cocktails as well as hyper local draft beer and hard cider
- An award-winning wine list in our dining venues
- Scenic carriage rides and horseback riding
- Guided rock climbing with Alpine Endeavors
- Private fitness, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness sessions
- Private golf lessons, archery lessons and tomahawk throwing lessons with our pros
- Mountain bike rental to explore our single track trails
- Fishing pole rental, and bait for purchase
- Disc golf discs available for purchase (weather permitting)