Staten Island’s Purple Martin Habitat

Purple Martins are the largest variety of swallow.

My Purple Mountain Habitat Movie.

One interesting aspect of visiting the habitat is seeing all the different styles of bird houses which is especially interesting if you want to build a bird house.

Staten Island’s  Purple Martin Habitat, located in Lemon Creek Park in Prince’s Bay, Staten Island, is the only sanctuary for purple martins in the 5 boroughs of New York city.  Prince’s Bay, the name itself, has a history.  This area was originally named by the English as Prince’s Bay, but then the apostrophe got dropped–carelessly undoubtedly–in writing, so it became Princes Bay.  Probably because someone thought that Princes was a misspelling for Princess, started calling it Princess Bay.  All the signs I saw in the area have Princess Bay as it’s name, but on Wikipedia it has its name as Prince’s Bay.  Whatever.

Purple Martin Habitat in Staten Island, NY. One sees such a great variety of bird houses that a person can get ideas of which kind they may like for their own yard. Besides birdhouses the habitat also has bird feeders kept full by local bird lovers.

Princess Bay, one of the nicest and most picturesque area of Staten Island, is located on the Atlantic Ocean and has a lovely beach area, a small park called Lemon Creek Park, and a boating dock where many Staten Islanders, who are lucky enough to own boats, moor their boats.  It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Staten Island and makes a lovely day in a park which includes a beach and things to see like the Blue Martin Habitat, and many kinds of birds. If you like to take nature photographs, this would be a good place to visit when you come to New York City.

If you visit Lemon Creek Park and Princess Bay, only a few blocks away is Wolf’s Pond, another wonderful nature site to see in Staten Island.  Wolf’s Pond also has a park, which is much larger and attracts many more families than Lemon Creek Pond.  Both parks have picnic tables.  One big drawback to Lemon Creek Park, that I can’t understand, is that it has no restroom facilities.  I have solved that problem, by using the restroom facilities at Staten Island University Hospital which is on Seguine Avenue on the way to the park.

A purple martin visiting one of the many bird houses in the Purple Martin Habitat.

Although a long trip, it’s easy to get to from Manhattan on public transportation.  After getting off the Staten Island Ferry in Staten Island, take the #78 bus to Seguine Avenue and then walk the rest of the way (it’s a long bus ride, but you will get a good tour of Staten Island).  On your walk there, you will also pass the Seguine Burke Plantation and probably see lots of peacocks.

Below are some of my photos of this area and things you will see if you should pay a visit.

Princess Bay Boating Docks. Located adjacent to the Purple Martin Habitat.
This is a scene you might see, as I did, if you walk from Hylan Blvd. up Seguine Avenue to Lemon Creek Park and the Purple Martin Habitat. The Peacock is on the back gate to the Seguine Burke Plantation.
Seguine Burke Plantation (built 1837)
On my last visit to Lemon Creek Park, I saw this Turkey Vulture who posed just long enough for me to get this shot before losing patience with me and flying away.  I hope he wasn’t after one of the purple martins.  The vulure was perched close to the Purple Martin habitat; however, it looked as if the Purple Martins were smart enough to vacate their premises until he left.  The drama of it all.  I feel the idea for a Disney Movie coming upon me, with the voice of Nathan Lane as the vulture.
Before my dog Mary died in 2008, we used to go to Princess Bay for an early morning walk on the beach.
Lemon Creek Park.  In the far, far distance is New Jersey.  Between Lemon Creek Park and New Jersey is Raritan Bay which opens up out into the Atlantic.