Rockefeller SP

On Wednesday, September 8, 2021, we went on a Linnaean NY field trip to Rockefeller State Park Preserve, thirty miles north of New York City. The preserve consists of forested hills and valleys surrounding pastoral fields. The property is the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall country estates of the John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Since 1983, the Rockefellers have donated over 1771 acres to New York State to safeguard these lands for the future. Managed by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Preserve is open to the public year-round, sunrise to sunset.

The 45 miles of crushed stone carriage roads designed to complement the landscape where laid out by John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Jr. in the first half of the 20th century. Combinations of trails lead through varied landscapes and past natural and historical features, such as Swan Lake, the Pocantico River with its wood and stone bridges, streams, colonial stone walls, and rock outcroppings. Maps are available to download and at the Preserve Office.

There are huge oak, tulip poplar, maple, and beech trees in the hardwood forest. Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers can be found deep in the woodlands. The forests, fields, streams, and wetlands support resident and migratory birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish and aquatic species, some of which are now uncommon in Westchester County. With 202 recorded species of birds the Preserve draws many birders. Environmental stewardship is underway to promote native biological diversity.

The Japanese Angelica is a food source for the migrating birds. This invasive species’ seeds are spread by the birds. We watched many birds feeding on the Angelica, such as Tennessee Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warblers and more.

Rockwood Hall built between 1886 and 1922 has views of the Hudson River and Palisade Cliffs. William Rockefeller’s estate was 1000 acres with a 202-room mansion, a working farm, and a landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While the house and buildings are now gone, massive rock walls around the site and extensive grassy fields with magnificent trees harken back to the heyday of the estate.

Hempstead Lake and LI Shore

On Saturday April 17th we went on a birding trip with the Linnaean Society of NY to Hempstead Lake SP, Point Lookout and Nickerson Beach in Nassau County, Long Island. It was a lovely group of people and a lovely day. I enjoyed the new Spring growth. It wasn’t a good bird shooting day for me. A highlight was a black-capped Chickadee collecting nesting material a couple of feet away from me. Another was the Harlequins.

Jamaica Bay

I went to Jamaica Bay NWR in Brooklyn with two dear friends yesterday. There were quite a few winter ducks. I enjoyed the Brant and Snow Geese. A special one was the Long Tailed Duck at Sheepshead Bay. The best one for me was the Long-tailed Grackle who serenaded us. As part of its song it did a wing slap. I learned something new. It was real treat to get out and bird.

Central Park Birds Wednesday

I actually photographed these on Tuesday April 11 in Central Park and processed them next day. So the title is not totally wrong.

One of those lucky shots.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Central Park 4/11/2017
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Central Park 4/11/2017

The Red-headed Woodpecker has been there all winter but I was unable to get to that part of the park to see it until now. A terrible bunch of photos of it, but they are mine.

Red-headed Woodpecker, Cnetral Park 4/12/2017
Red-headed Woodpecker, Cnetral Park 4/12/2017

Green-winged Teal

A Green-winged Teal is the last bird I saw in 2016 at the Pond at Central Park. Best wishes for a happy and productive year.