Every spring I have to swing by Five Rivers Environmental Education Center [56 Game Farm Rd, Delmar, NY 12054] to see all of the chicks and listen to the frogs. It’s one of my favorite close to home gems (just 20 minutes away!) that whisks me far away from the everyday.
Take the old field trail to the north loop where there are over ten ponds in a condensed area.
If you come at the right time it’s a total show with a lot of action and a great soundtrack. From the deafening song of the frogs and their tadpoles,
to the wiggles and waddles of the geese and ducks,
this is one of my favorite trails in the park. The area is fantastic for bird watching other than waterfowl as well. In the low growing trees and on top of the lean to’s surrounding the expansive fields, you’ll see such amazing diversity. Gloriously bright eastern bluebirds, jays, cardinals, waxwings and juncos – oh my!
These trails are certainly some of my favorite, but there are all sorts of environments in the park.
The wild turkey trail delves into the forest, where I have seen many turkey, plus mammals such as deer and rabbit.
Another woodsy trail follows the curvaceous Vlomankill, another favorite spot for deer. Here you hit a bit of elevation change head down into a ravine. From here you can continue onto a service road, cross the street, and meet the beaver tree trail – which I recently had a most special wildlife moment on. I always love the tons of turtles here, every time I visit there seems to be more and more of them!
I see turtles all the time though. Something I’ve never seen before is the namesake animal of the trail, the beaver! It’s funny, because we had just recently watched a few beaver documentaries and took a real interest in the rodents and their habits. We had a case of BEAVER FEVER. As we were walking around the lake we noticed felled trees, canals, and sticks piled up by a drain (they hate the sound of running water, so they try to dam it up!). All good signs.
All of the sudden we saw a little head streaming through the water and the crack of a loud slap. Our first beaver sighting! We hurried to the other side of the pond where the majestic being came up on a log. He checked us out as we admired him, and seemed to relax with our presence. Eventually another appeared, a mate! I swooned as the couple circled one another in the water and smooched, then proceeded to groom one another.
I could have watched them forever, but it was already 6PM and we had a bit more walking to do. We let them be in peace, but as we continued on noticed their two kits safely covered up playing in the reeds. Best day ever! There is an incredible amount to see on these trails, just moments outside of the city. While it’s a popular place there is so much room, over five miles of trails, you can really feel like you’re deep in the wilderness. Often times (in the winter at least) I have been on the trail and never seen another visitor. Embrace spring and head to Five Rivers, just down the road!