Today, it was the Core Team’s great pleasure to visit one of our favorite parks, Bear Mountain State Park. It’s funny how, as one develops new interests, familiar places often reveal unsuspected depths. For example, although we have been frequent visitors to Bear Mountain, we had never heard of Doodletown.
Oh, you haven’t either? That’s not surprising, considering that Doodletown does not exist anymore. First settled in 1762, this little town survived, although maybe not thrived, until 1965. That’s when the last residents of the town left, bought out by the Park, which wished to build a ski resort at that location. For a full account of the history of Doodletown, try this link.
About now, you may be thinking, “That’s nice, but why do I care?” As always, it’s about the birds. Doodletown Road, along with it’s downhill neighbor, Iona Island, has been declared an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society. A number of bird species deemed threatened or of special concern breed in this area. That’s how we found Doodletown, and why you might want to check it out yourself if you’re in the area.
The thickly wooded habitat was extremely rich with birds. One of the species we were looking for today was the Hooded Warbler, and what do you know, we spotted a brilliant pair. We also got great looks at a few Red-bellied Woodpeckers, another life bird. Among the many other birds we saw in this forest were a multitude of White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-and-white Warbler, and Tufted Titmouse.
We also checked out Iona Island, but it was more of an Invisible Bird Area. However, we did get to watch a Belted Kingfisher catch a fish. That really impressed our birding companion, my aunt, Janet. Her enthusiasm for and knowledge of the natural world made this trip a lot of fun. We hope that she will join us again, and maybe our cousins will come as well!