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.
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”
You had me at the squirrels…such beautiful photos, thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Thanks Donna-Lee, nice to meet another squirrel afficionado. If you enjoyed the squirrels in this post, you’ll love the squirrels in my ‘Nuts about Squirrels‘ post. Just checked out your blog, that is a wonderful photo of a begging coyote!
“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. 🙂
Me too, Susie, it makes for the most interesting experiences 🙂
I had the same plan last weekend… To catch some fall foliage. It’s peaking in NC right now. Nice series! The hawk is awesome!
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
Love the way you captured the stained glass-like images of the fall leaves. And that 2nd bird picture…you could do a caption contest with that one – how expressive. Seems like the hawk sensed a companion soul in you.
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 🙂
What a great post, and such a beautiful little black squirrel. I know they’re in the area, but I have yet to see one – so I’m happy to see it here! Stunning foliage.
Thanks Melissa. Just stopped by your blog to follow the adventures of your philosopher dog 🙂
You take great photographs. Enjoyed your post. 🙂
Thanks! Enjoying your blog too. Wonderful cherry blossom and magnolia photos. x