It involved a ferry ride from lower Manhattan and a bus that took us to the park where we began our hike. The ferry provided some good looks at some notable NYC landmarks and some birds, including greater black-back, ring-billed, herring, and laughing gulls, double crested cormorant, brant, and a red-throated loon.
Upon arriving at the park, we took to the trail, where trees towered over us, jays made their presence known, and the warmth of the sun soon had us shedding our layers on the most beautiful day we have had in quite some time! It was a really great trip, even without a huge amount of bird diversity it was absolutely great to walk in these woods and learn about local plants and other fauna we came across.
Enjoy the sights...
|You can get really great views of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry for free, 1/2 hour one way and then you can simply ride back or explore Staten Island, as we then did.|
|I was happy to spot this wood duck, originally just the male, others spotted the female. They are ducks you never get sick of seeing. Ever.|
|The park had lots of small ponds, some permanent, some vernal, which is great in supporting frog species like peepers, wood frogs, and gray tree frogs. We heard gray tree frogs while we ate lunch.|
|This could have been a nice picture if someones plastic trash was not photo bombing.|
|We also saw a common snapper, nice and large on a different pond.|
|Wood ducks are just at home on land as they are in water. They are perching ducks, they nest and perch in trees. Their young follow mom out of the nest and fall (and bounce) to the ground where they continue to follow her to the water.|
|Surely a great day to be a turtle!|
|I learned that this is trout lily, they were coming up, but none had flowers. We learned in other locations are NYC they had already bloomed, these seem to have not yet gotten to that point.|
|A few paces later, I found one blooming, pretty little thing it is!|
|I learned that this is trillium, that bud in the middle will soon be a flower!|
|A downy woodpecker landed close to us as we settled for a lunch break.|
|In addition to downy, we also saw hairy, red-bellied, and heard N. Flicker- no pileateds today, Staten Island is the only borough in NYC that has pileated woodpeckers.|
|Just to give you some scale on how little this guy was- super cute! Probably my most favorite part of the day, I also got soil stains on my knees, that's when you know you had a good day!|
|Our trip concluded with finding this guy, which really made me happy. I love seeing herps (reptiles & amphibians) just as much as I love seeing birds, or any other animal for that matter.|