Welcome back, everyone! Today I will be telling you all about my recent trip to Brookside County Park in West Sayville, NY. “Brookside property was purchased as parkland through the Clean Water Act, naming Great South Bay Audubon Society as stewards for the property. This is also a historic property and had been part of the Isaac Green Estate, built in 1897…The Green’s Creek running along the east side of the property empties into Great South Bay. The GSBAS chapter is monitoring birds present on the property to date and has logged more than 118 species of birds.”-Suffolkcountyny.gov
It was a beautifully sunny, cool, spring morning and steven and I set out to try our luck at Brookside County Park. A Park I had only heard of from the small blurb above found on the Suffolk county parks website, but when I hear ‘over 118 species of birds’ I start paying attention! The park was not exactly easy to find the first time around and we actually had to turn around and search a bit as the entrance is set back a bit from the road. Once we found the right spot we were greeted by a historic, white house and parking for about 4-5 cars. There was already one person in the driveway when we pulled in but otherwise, we had the park to ourselves.
The trail began right off the parking area; a wide dirt path, well marked and clear. Immediately we were led beside a small pond and over a short bridge. The water was a deep swirl of colors hidden beneath the shadows of towering trees. Mallards waded serenely over the surface as if completely unaware of our arrival. A Red-bellied Woodpecker drilled at a thin tree above our heads and a Yellow-rumped Warbler perched on a thin outstretched branch. I inched forward to photograph an American Goldfinch that was shining out from between a web of tangled twigs when I heard the call of a large raptor and my eyes shot to the sky. I walked carefully around the water’s edge, my eyes glued to the treetops, searching for the source. Finally, just when I had nearly given up my search, there it was. A gorgeous Cooper’s Hawk, its stark white chest puffed out as it posed majestically from a high branch, watching my every step with a regal silence.
Already elated we set off along the loop trail taking our time to look over everything we passed since the trail was short (probably no more than .5 miles). The bulk of the trail was flat leading through mixed woodland with the majority of our hike being comfortably shaded. A Northern Cardinal shone out like a beacon from the shadows and American Robins rooted about the ground in search of breakfast. An Eastern Phoebe flitted about from tree to tree and a beautiful Brown Creeper soon appeared climbing up and down from trunk to trunk. A White-breasted Nuthatch appeared from within a hallowed broken trunk and Golden-crowned Kinglets seamed to appear around every turn. With the sound of running water ringing in our ears, we turned the last bend of the trail, a Dark-eyed Junco marking the way in a nearby tree.
We soon came upon the Greens Creek which flowed with tranquil ease and scattering of mallards and Canada Geese. We followed it along until the trail opened up yet again to the white house that had first greeted us, only now at the opposite side. A small bench sat along an opening to the creek and, not yet ready to call it a day, we decided to sit and wait for some new arrivals. Around us was a small yard with a few plants and a cluster of bird feeders which were exploding with activity. Red-Breasted Nuthatches and White-breasted Nuthatches took turns darting from the cover of pine trees to carve out at suet blocks and feeders of sunflower seeds. A pair of Northern Cardinals perched regally on a tangle of branches seaming to watch on the commotion in amusement while a gathering of Blue Jays shrieked from the treetops and dove upon the feeders like fighter jets. From the brambles the yellow caps of Golden-crowned Kinglets continued to shine through the shadows, flitting from branch to branch.
After a while, we decided to head back to the car but I will admit, sometimes I have difficulty stopping and going home. Rather than going to the car I convinced Steven to give me an extra 5 minutes (which was really more like an extra 45 minutes) to go back to the pond at the beginning of the trail and see if anything new had landed on the water. The same original habitants were still there, Mallards and Canada Geese, Northern Cardinals, Golden-crowned Kinglets, even the Cooper’s Hawk was still overlooking the water from its treetop perch. we stood on the bridge taking in the scarce silence and reveling in the feeling of being alone on an island so populated. A beautiful Tufted Titmouse landed on a branch beside us, our last sighting before heading home.
I had a great time at this park and I thoroughly recommend going to check it out for yourself if you are looking for a quick trip with lots of activity. However, if it is important for you to have a long hike at your park then this place is probably not for you. As beautiful as it was and as much as there was to see I will admit that I finished the trail so fast I was left feeling almost like “was that it? it’s over already?”. Now that I have been there once I will absolutely be going back again and now I will be more aware to pace myself along the way. I hope you are all out enjoying your spring! Have you gone anywhere good or seen some exciting birds lately? Please tell me about it in the comments! Until next time my friends, Happy Birding!