Monday, August 31, 2015

Bailey Arboretum : A Walk in the Woods

    The one-time summer estate of Brooklyn financier Frank Bailey (whose fountain you may be familiar with), Bailey Arboretum sounds too good to be true: 40-odd acres of green peace on the North Shore, open free to the public, with free parking, 7 days a week the year around. And you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and your dog (on a leash.)
    This is where we went to see Dawn Redwoods on Long Island. ("Surprise! We're not extinct.") And let me tell you, they are something to see:

I found it more or less impossible to frame a shot encompassing a whole specimen. Maybe next time. The ones growing on the estate here were planted from seeds collected in 1947.
Only seven acres are landscaped; the rest consists of rambling woodland paths, none of which are very interesting in late August. Still, they're shady and peaceful:
There is a dedicated children's garden area, and a small number of aviaries housing injured or otherwise-compromised rescued birds. They have a couple of crows (American and Fish), several red-tailed hawks, and a few owls (Great Horned and Barred).

This owl is blind in one eye.

    In my opinion, late August is a cruel month in the great outdoors. The birds are quiet, the insects are loud, and the pond scum is at its peak. So I'll be interested to see what this place is like in other seasons. The redwoods are deciduous!

    It surprised me to read that Bailey declares itself "the only accredited arboretum on Long Island and in the New York Metropolitan area." Say what now?  Planting Fields State Historic Park is a pretender? Bayard Cutting is a wannabe? Apparently they haven't applied for accreditation, which is a designation bestowed by these folk. Even more interesting, there are levels of accreditation, such that a golf course or a cemetery may be granted the status of an arboretum, albeit at a low level. (Maybe there's a tax benefit involved in doing so?) The page listing the levels of accreditation has links to lists of arboreta that meet each level. (Bailey is a Level 2.)
    So I'll be studying that list later, looking for more places to go. In the meantime, why don't you take a walk in the Long Island woods?


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Do They Ever Grow Up?

I'm sure you parents of adolescents can relate to this cardinal's situation. There's your teenager, fully as tall as you are, and still you can't enjoy a few seeds by yourself without she's right there, piteously fluttering her wings and cheeping that she's hungry. The suggestion being, of course, that you crack those seeds and feed her. Which, of course, you proceed to do, knowing that someday, she'll do the same for hers.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Frog in Your Throat?

No, it's a fish. Today's walk revealed a Great Egret, fishing on the inlet of Jamaica Bay that runs as a creek through the Valley Stream Village Green. Look, ma, no hands!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Night Moves (of the Yellow-Crowned Variety)

A yellow-crowned night heron, high in a tree near River Avenue in Oceanside, puts on an earnest display for the ladies. Not a common sight in New York, but not unheard-of.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Let's Be Practical


Kindles have their place, but it isn't the great outdoors on a summer afternoon. To survive that, you need ink on paper. It's simply more versatile. Consider:

Magazine:  Can shield you from the sun.
E-Reader:   Not a good idea to leave that in the sun.

Magazine:  Can be sat on to protect you from the dirt or sand.
E-Reader:   You need to keep the dirt and sand out of that.

Magazine:  Can be used to swat a mosquito.
E-Reader:   The light is attracting mosquitoes.

Magazine:  Sudden rain shower? Hold the magazine over your head as you duck under the tree.
E-Reader:   Sudden rain shower? Don't get that thing wet, get under the tree.

Magazine:  It's a warm sunny day. Use the magazine to create a small cooling breeze.
E-Reader:   It's a warm sunny day. You're holding a hot plastic rectangle.

Night falls.

Magazine: Let's you know it's time to go inside, when you can't see the print anymore.
E-Reader:  Lets you go on reading into the night, until the battery suddenly dies.

Wolves close in.
You wish you had a magazine to set on fire.