50 Years of Constitution Marsh

great blue heron

A great blue heron (Photo by Barry Rosen)

A wildlife refuge in the heart of Philipstown

Fifty years ago this week, the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary was born after the State of New York purchased the 267-acre salt marsh from St. Basil’s Academy for $100,000 and entrusted it to the National Audubon Society.

The marsh, which sits at the meeting point of the Hudson River and Indian Brook, is home to more than 200 bird species, including at least 50 that use it for breeding.

“There’s something special about the place,” said the Audubon Center’s director, Scott Silver. “You go down to the marsh on a warm morning this time of year, the wind is blowing and all you hear are the rushes on the boardwalk, rustling in the breeze. It has an almost mystical quality.

“There’s a real recognition of how special it is now,” he added. “It’s always been of value, but I think people realize that if it’s not taken care of, it will disappear. All the places around here that have not already been protected are gone.”

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the marsh trails are currently closed.

Moments at the Marsh

Barry Rosen of Cold Spring has been photographing the wildlife at Constitution Marsh for more than 20 years. “I go for a sunrise kayaking and photography expedition every chance I get,” he says. “It’s heaven. There are herons, osprey, eagles, egrets, cormorants, shore and song birds, peregrine falcons, beavers, deer. Somedays I’ll watch a heron feeding or an osprey perched in a tree and wait 30 minutes hoping to catch them taking flight. Sometimes I sit for an hour waiting for ‘Justin Beaver’ to pop up.” A selection his images are below. For more, see barryrosen.com.

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