The area around New York City is beautiful in early May: everything seems to be blooming at once. That will not be reflected in this post.
I just got back from my nominally annual trip to NYC to visit my sister for her birthday. We took a hike in a different part of Westchester County each of the three days I was there. On the first day, we went to the Cranberry Lake Preserve. While the gardens and grounds of the homes in that area are beautifully landscaped, not much seemed to be blooming in the woods.
This was one exception:
Wild Geranium [Geranium maculatum]
A Jack-in-the-pulpit is a Jack-in-the-pulpit, right?
Ha! Apparently, there are three types of Jack-in-the-pulpit, and I didn’t have my book with me to make a positive identification. But this looks like the variety sometimes known as Indian-turnip:
Northern Jack-in-the-pulpit [Arisaema stewardsonii]
We never did make it to the second lake, because the trail markers for one whole end of the preserve were nonexistent. They ran out at the same place on two different trails: the old quarry left over from the building of the Kensico Dam. The one quarry pond we found was a nice place to have lunch, though.
Quarry pond at Cranberry Lake Preserve
There was lots of wildlife. At the quarry pond, we spotted a water snake I was too slow to capture with my camera. We also saw what might have been a redheaded woodpecker, although it was too distant for positive ID. Later in the hike, my nephew with the young eyes spotted this guy sunning himself beside the trail:
Northern Black Racer [Coluber constrictor constrictor]
Despite not getting to see the whole preserve, we had a pretty good outing. Next up: Day Two.
Update: I’ve added a link to the Cranberry Lake Preserve’s website (just click the name of the preserve either here or at the top in the original body of this post). Not including it earlier was an oversight on my part, now corrected.