On Sunday a group of “Friends of Arrow Park” got together to hike to the waterfall there in Sterling Forest, with the hope of identifying some native flora and fauna along the way. The hike was led by naturalist John Yrizarry.
He and his wife Mary are conservationists -- they’ve been working with the Orange County Land Trust on keeping Sterling Forest in its beautiful, pristine state. We have people like John and Mary to thank for making sure that future generations will be able to enjoy the serenity of rare and precious spots like Arrow Park – and maybe even tell their children what species exist there!
If you want to know how to tell a turkey vulture from a black vulture, ask John.
He knows his birds. But he can tell you a lot about plants, too. Below are a few highlights from our walk.
Knotweed (polyganum) –
It was notable that other invasive weeds like garlic mustard and purple loosestrife were mostly absent from the woods.
Since we’ve had such rainy humid weather here lately, the mushrooms and fungi were in abundance. John explained to us the difference between a "gilled" and a "pored" mushroom and provided examples.
There were lots of varieties of moss. Some of the most prevalent were pincushion (Leucobryum glaucum).
and Juniper (polytrichum) moss.
Turkey Tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor).
Old man of the wood mushroom (Strobilomyces spp.)
Phragmites australis (a common invasive reed often found all over the place in marshy areas)
Spruce trees are being planted on the ridge here in memory of victims of 9/11.
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens).
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) - invasive in the northeast, but beloved by birds.
Red Oak (Quercus rubra).
John thinks this might be one of the biggest red oaks in the area - but it's not as old as you might think. It's just been very well nourished because it's near the waste stream.
I didn’t manage to get photos of any of the animals we saw – they just weren't posing for me. But among those spotted:
Water snake and leopard frog
Green heron and Blue heron
(photos from Wikipedia)
Then, finally, the falls...
Gotta get the feet wet to make the experience complete.
Special thanks to Sandy Derevnuk for organizing the hike and her devoted efforts on behalf of Arrow Park.
You can find out more about Arrow Park on their website at http://www.arrowparkny.com/. The Orange County Land Trust site can be found here.