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Snowy Egret, Semipalmated Plover, Osprey, Belted Kingfisher. While these may sound like birds you'd find in exotic tropical destinations, they are, in fact, some of the water birds that make Manhasset Bay their home - some from spring through fall and others throughout the year.

The Snowy Egret, one of the birds to be featured in the Water Birds of Manhasset Bay photo exhibit in the pride of Cow Bay Nautical Museum on the Town Dock during the HarborFest on May 19.

Over the past 10 years, we've seen a dramatic improvement in the cleanliness of our local waters through the efforts of local, state and national organizations. And, humans aren't the only ones reaping the rewards. Since the water is cleaner, more fish are returning to the bay which, in turn, has attracted a greater number and variety of water birds, some of which feed exclusively on fish and other aquatic life. This clean and healthy food source, in addition to a great selection of nesting grounds along its shoreline, makes Manhasset Bay a superb choice for these water birds to breed and raise their young.

Of particular interest is the return of the osprey, a majestic hawk-like bird that is very particular about where it will fish and nest. Seven years ago, ospreys were sighted fishing on Manhasset Bay. To encourage them to nest here, Jim Jones, a biology teacher at Schreiber High School, took it upon himself to build and erect several perches on Manhasset Bay and Hempstead Harbor's shorelines. The following year, there was one nesting pair and, for the past several years, nearly every perch has been occupied by osprey families.

To celebrate these exotic water birds, as well as those that have been a mainstay on the Bay, the PW Chamber of Commerce will present a "Water Birds of Manhasset Bay" photo exhibit in the Pride of Cow Bay Nautical Musuem, which looks like a bright red tugboat located at the Town Dock. Sponsored by Harbor Ridge, the exhibit begins on May 19 during the 11th annual HarborFest and will feature breathtaking photos shot by Port Washingtonian Mark Robinson. Mark spends a great deal of time at Leeds Pond where he captures pictures of these birds nesting, flying, resting and enjoying our beautiful and clean water and shoreline. The presentation was organized and narrative describing the birds was written by Debbie Greco of Greco Integrated Communications, a Port Washington-based advertising agency.

Be sure to visit the exhibit while at HarborFest or afterwards. The exhibit will be on display until next year's HarborFest celebration.


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