This past Sunday was a hot sunny day in New York and the family and I took full advantage of it, exploring Rockefeller State Park Preserve, a pretty park in Westchester County, not too far north of the Bronx. The trails that wound through woods and across meadows were wonderful and the lake, though small, is a beauty, and the entire park is just chock full of nice landscapes. Fortunately for me, there were birds around too!
An outing with an eighteen-month-old and two non-birders as participants can’t be focused entirely on birds, of course, but as we walked along I could certainly listen to what was singing. Blue-winged and Yellow Warblers sang as we walked down the Hollow Road Trail, as well as a Wood Thrush, a Baltimore Oriole, and an Eastern Towhee. Desi was happy to pick up rocks and sticks to hand to me and Daisy identified a Red-bellied Woodpecker by its coughing call. Did I mention the Veery that suddenly flew in and seemed surprised to see us there?
Of course, we eventually made our way left onto the Ash Tree Trail and I made sure Desi had interesting stuff to look at to keep him occupied when we came to intersection with the Overlook Trail. Why? Oh, no real reason except, yes! Singing Kentucky Warbler! Maybe, just maybe, an individual Kentucky Warbler with a weird song had been reported from that exact spot on the listservs and maybe, just maybe, my decision of park for our outing and paths for our stroll weren’t random? No, I have no such diabolical agendas! Pure coincidence!
We enjoyed butterflies, dragonflies, and sticks. Desi got tired and insisted on being carried. Then he insisted on being put down. Then he insisted on being carried. Then he insisted on being put down. Then he insisted on being carried. Then he insisted on being put down. Then we came to a wide open meadow with long grass, a view of the lake, Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and Chipping Sparrows and it was nice.
fledgling and female Eastern Bluebirds
The lake was pretty and we found a nice bench to sit on for our picnic lunch while the clouds blew by and the Song Sparrow sang from a bush near by. A Red-tailed Hawk paid a visit and Desi used the word hawk, which he had jsut learned the night before. A good time was had by all…
not a great shot of a Red-tailed Hawk, but it seems so familiar…
The beautiful trails and paths of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve are well worth a visit. There are trails that can be easily handled by even an eighteen-month-old and other trails that are a bit more challenging, but nothing, so far as I know, that would tax a serious hiker. The scenery is top-notch, the trails are well-maintained, and there was not a speck of litter anywhere in the preserve. Make a visit – you won’t regret it!
Sigh. Well, now you’ve gone and done it, Corey. Six weeks in Chicago, a long weekend home with family and friends, and a burgeoning long-distance relationship, and I wasn’t homesick in the least. Until now.*
My first time at Rockefeller was my last official birding sojourn so there are a lot of great memories attached. (Still haven’t downloaded the pictures) I’m excited that you got to see and hear so many great birds, especially the Bluebirds! Nice shot of the Red-tailed, and I would have loved to catch the warblers too. Did you managed to catch the Pileated?
(*Well, that’s not entirely true. I have been sorely missing Citi Field.)
Very nice ! I have to laugh because most of my birding these days is through “coincidence”…
Corey, in which one of the two ways did you see the Kentucky?
Jochen, I was actually going to link to your excellent post about that but I both forgot and didn’t see the bird. I just heard it singing, and it is an oddball.
@Meredith: I did see the Pileated, though it was a flying away look. Maybe I’ll start posting about the great restaurants in Queens and really torture you…
@Mark: It’s the only way to bird anymore!
@Corey: I think an in-flight glimpse of the Pileated is the most one can hope for there. So beautiful and so huge! Glad you got to see it!
And w/r/t Queens restaurants, nice try but I’m not particularly attached to any of them (and even then, I’ve only mainly spent time in Astoria). Next time you’re in Westchester though I can make some recommendations! (You really should take Desi to Walter’s in Mamaroneck: http://www.waltershotdogs.com/index_flash.html)
I do pine for Shake Shack, though …