Washington County Grasslands, Upstate NY

The Washington County Grasslands extends from the fertile valleys and rolling hills of southern Washington County to the southeastern peaks of the Adirondack Mountains on its northern border. This vast open expanse of fields and meadows dotted by small woodlands and working farms is watered by numerous streams and wetlands of the Hudson River valley and Lake Champlain basin.  It provides a livelihood for human residents and an “all you can eat buffet” for hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife.

The Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) encompasses 13,000 acres of critical grassland habitat within the towns of Argyle, Fort Edward and Kingsbury.  This unique area, located along the Atlantic and Hudson River flyways in upstate New York, hosts abundant populations of grassland breeding birds and wintering raptors, including Snowy owls and state-endangered Short-eared owls. 

A 2,000 acre core area of the IBA  is critical” to the survival of Short-eared Owls in New York State!

Northern Harriers (threatened), Upland sandpipers (threatened), Horned larks (threatened), Sedge wrens (threatened), Eastern meadowlarks (species of concern) and American kestrels (species of concern) are a few of more than a dozen threatened and rapidly declining grassland bird species that depend on the open fields and meadows of the Washington County Grasslands IBA for their survival.

More than 100 species of birds breed, winter or migrate through the Washington County Grasslands region.

Common raptor sightings include Short-eared owls, Northern harriers, Red-tailed hawks, Rough-legged hawks and Snowy owls; Bald eagles and Osprey can be found near the river. Peregrine falcons nest nearby and are occasionally spotted hunting in the area.  Breeding grassland songbirds include Bobolinks, Eastern meadowlarks, Eastern bluebirds, Savannah sparrows and Grasshopper sparrows.

Snowy owls, Short-eared owls, Rough-legged hawks, Snow buntings and Horned larks spend the winter, in addition to the resident Red-tailed hawks and Northern harriers.

Public Access

  1. Alfred Z. Solomon Grassland Bird Viewing Area (Grassland Bird Trust/ GBT): Located on County Route 42 in Fort Edward, the site offers an accessible parking area and covered viewing blind on the Loftus parcel.  It overlooks hundreds of acres of prime grassland habitat, including approximately 80 acres of fields owned and managed by GBT.
  2. Washington County Grasslands WMA (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation/ DEC): Located on Blackhouse Road, this state owned site offers a 1/2 mile trail to a viewing platform and a new accessible walkway and viewing platform overlooking a large conserved field.

Your donations will help Grassland Bird Trust permanently protect critical habitat for endangered and threatened grassland birds!

Bird Watching & Wildlife Viewing Areas


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