One of the secrets to a long and happy life is knowing as many beautiful hiking areas as possible.Â No matter where you live, I guarantee that there are a score of really rewarding trails that you’ve never even heard of within 30 miles of your doorstep. The New York Metro area offers an embarrassment of riches in this regard. We could hike or bird a new spot every weekend and go for years without crossing the same trail twice.
Today, we visited Cranberry Lake Preserve up in North White Plains. Since we were pressed for time (had to watch football!), we opted for a quick circuit of the lake. Cranberry Lake is absolutely beautiful.Â The central body of water is fairly marshy, but the surrounding woods are full of old trees, tall and proud.Â This forest presents an ideal habitat for woodpeckers, so it was no surprise that we spotted Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpeckers, as well as White-breasted Nuthatch. Of course, there were plenty of crows, cardinals, and blue jays. We also saw Black-capped Chickadee and their common companions, Tufted Titmouse. Toss in a Red-tailed Hawk and the usual unidentifiable warbler, probably a female Yellow Warbler, and you’ve got a typically glorious day of Westchester birding.
Autumn is on the wane. There aren’t many more days left when you can sit beneath tall trees and watch the last leaves of the season drift lazily down from the canopy. Do yourself a favor and get out there.