Finding the Wild
Nature excursions within city limits.
At Alley Pond Park (above, left; LIRR to Douglaston Station), tour Turtle, Lily Pad, and Decoden Ponds in the Upper Alley Woodlands. Look for bladderwort, the carnivorous pond plant, as well as spotted salamanders and black tupelo trees. At Pelham Bay Park (6 train to Pelham Bay Park, then the Bx12, 29, 5, or 52), the Split Rock Trail leads through the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary; out past Orchard Beach, in the replanted Eastern gamagrass, look for some of the only Amphipoea erepta ryensis moths in the Middle Atlantic, or, in the distance, harbor seals. On Staten Island, in Wolfe’s Pond Park (right; S78 down Hylan Boulevard), look for loons along the beach and a giant black oak in the forest. In the fall, the Western Ridge walk in Inwood Hill Park (center; A train to 207th Street) offers views of Manhattan foliage, and in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (A train to Broad Channel Station), egrets and herons roost along the edges of West Pond.
BRING THE FOLLOWING GUIDEBOOKS: Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City, by Leslie Day, and Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide, by Peter Del Tredici.