Changing Seasons: Van Cortlandt Park Photos

(10PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Cross-posted at Firefly and deleted from DailyKos.

I have posted fourteen Van Cortlandt Park photo diaries at DKos and a few might think I’m posting photos over and over. These photos from yesterday may look the same but sadly after a harsh winter there are many trees missing from my favorite walk.

But my favorite for photos and probably the most abused tree in the park still stands. This is Van Cortlandt Park (last stop on the Broadway local) in transition from spring to summer.

I had not taken my lakeside walk and forest stroll there for over two weeks, a long time for me. Surprised by how rapidly the transition from spring to summer views occurred the forest is shady and the last of spring flowers can be seen floating on the surface of the lake. Everything went so green and lush so quickly.

Below the fold is another photo walking tour of my favorite slice of nature in New York City. Just a walk in the park.  

There is still plenty of growing season ahead. By July the sides of the “Old Put” (an abandoned railroad trail) will be taller than I am. In the summertime this trail becomes a golden gauntlet of jewel weed and it is very pretty.  

Outside of all the flower petals floating on the lake, the view has gone so green in the past two weeks. It won’t look much different until autumn.

This does seem like a summer view.

It is really only the wide view that will seem unchanging. Where forest meets water soon the pepper bush will hang over the water reflecting white and then give way to goldenrod before the autumn color sets in. Up close the early green can still be seen in the seemingly full grown leaves of this oak that sits beside a real water loving gray birch.

But even though the green of spring can still be found in these waterside views, flora seems to have filled in so rapidly. There was a clear view of the lake from this vantage point just two weeks ago.

The nature trails, forest, meadows, willow and swale have suddenly changed from the new green of spring to the rich tones of summer but everywhere seems to be in a lull. The lakeside trail that speckled  yellow by trout lilies and white with both blood root and trillium is all green now.  

Northeastern nature seems to be on a break. The sun loving flowers of spring are all gone because the broad leaved trees have already shaded the forest floor.

And look who else is enjoying the shade and coolness under the forest canopy.

While the forest seems to have found a period of calmness the squirrels are at their most active. Yesterday it seemed like that had all chosen up sides and were playing an extended game of tag. I don’t know much about the bedroom habits of squirrels but I got the feeling that the females were “it.”

Here’s a pair that were definitely luffing it, turtles soaking up some sunshine.

There’s a dead tree right beside the sunning turtles and the better vantage point seemed worth the adventure.

Those two turtles didn’t like me getting close so they took off but once I got out on the branches a defiant one while keeping an eye on me would not be intimidated from a comfortable piece of real estate.

After a while on the water one of them felt comfortable with me, came back and found a little friend too.

Then a walk through some Bronx forest to the wetlands.

Even the marsh seems dormant. Unlike the forest spring flowers rushing to get ahead of the shade the phragmites, cattails and beautiful periwinkle will never have to deal with shade so I guess they are in no hurry to produce wetland beauty.

The pond looks the calmest it ever does.

Usually there is no chance of getting a photo of the special tree that people can’t walk to and mute swans raise one signet each summer, usually don’t get a photo without a bunch of waterfowl in the picture.

And even that nice safe branch so far from people where I get my best birding photos is deserted.

How about a walk up to the meadow?

The meadow must be showing off by now.

Nope it looks like only the introduced wine berry is in flower.

And a some False Solomon’s Seal scattered on the forest floor.

But here’s a score. Some beautiful flowers from a bush with a cherry like bark.

I wonder if the wild flowers take a break because all the insects are so busy in the treetops.

One last walk up to the northern forest.

I prefer the forest in the late afternoon sun, epically the sassafras stand along the cross country trail.


And then at the end of the day, the best sighting in the least natural place. At the point where the John Muir woodland trail is squeezed between a highway and a golf course a beautiful pea tree.

That where all the insects are.

I hope you enjoyed this little Bronx nature walk.

Happy Mother’s Day.  


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    • Eddie C on May 9, 2010 at 06:02

    • Eddie C on May 9, 2010 at 15:17

  1. played there as a kid. It’s amazing how much these photos look like this farm here in rural N.C. Tks, Eddie–

    • TMC on May 10, 2010 at 06:01

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