A walk on the wild side

It’s funny how things rarely go to plan. This week the foliage in New York is supposed to be hitting its peak, so I wanted to visit somewhere with lots of trees. Van Cortland Park sprang to mind. so I set off on a mission, camera in hand, to capture some glorious foliage pictures. I first trekked up to the very top of the whimsically named Hare and Tortoise trail, which is nice and steep and great for getting the pulse racing, but I came away disappointed with a single shoddy photograph of some muddy brown leaves. Next I tried the Putnam trail, which is absolutely gorgeous, and was rewarded with some bright splashes of autumnal colour, but they were few and far between, and mostly muted colours.

However, I got distracted from my search for eye-catching foliage, because the area was absolutely hopping with wildlife, and I ended up spending most of my time watching these little cuties frolic in the brisk November air.

I just love this little fella's greying whiskers & battle scars; you just know he's been round the block a time or two.

Then I happened upon Van Cortland Lake, and got so many gorgeous photographs of the wildlife there, with the autumn leaves reflecting golds and russets into the water, that it deserves a post all unto itself, so see my next post, On Golden Pond, for those photographs. The most spectacular sight of the day came just as I was heading back home. I was watching the antics of a couple of squirrels when a massive hawk zoomed over my shoulder.

For more about my hawk encounter, read The Van Cortland Squirrel Murderer, but only if you’re not squeamish. 😦

So what started out as a mission to see autumn foliage ended up as a wildlife spotting bonanza. I love it when plans don’t work out. Although I only saw a fraction of Van Cortland Park, what I saw was spectacular. It is easily accessible from Manhattan – just take the 1 train northbound to the last stop. You can be sure I will be visiting this lovely place again.


12 thoughts on “A walk on the wild side”

  1. “I love it when plans don’t work out.” I love getting lost (as long as I’m not on a schedule!) and poking around places I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. 🙂

  2. I can’t believe how lucky I was to see the hawk, he was hanging out for a really long time on the ground right next to me, having his dinner, so I was able to snap away for at least a minute or two, it’s a spectacular bird. I really like those monotone foliage shots on your blog, have fun leaf peeping in NC. x

    1. I know, the expression on that second bird’s face cracks me up. I’m not sure about the hawk, he was definitely interested in me, but I suspect he was just trying to figure out how much of a fight I’d put up if he went in for the kill. Thankfully he must have decided I’d be too much trouble because he took off shortly after that photo 🙂

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