A BEAVER BUILDS HIS HOUSE
When the cool shades of winter white, gray, and brown finally fade and give rise to green, blue, and yellow I know that Spring has announced her entrance into the Catskills, NY. In this post we will explore Spring in the Catskills, particularly the area around Woodstock, NY. What kind of wildlife can be seen if you visit during this time of the year? Let’s find out!
In the beginning of March I decided to take a walk along a pond several miles outside of Woodstock with my Vietnamese Airbnb guests who were eager to see what the NY countryside looked like. It was still cold enough to need a scarf and winter jacket and didn’t feel one bit like Spring was anywhere around the bend ….. I was cold! All of a sudden my guests spied a busy little creature who thought otherwise and was swimming around the pond carrying sticks back and forth to a large house that he was constructing: A beaver, of course!
Upon closer observation I realized and pointed out to my friends that there were beaver signs all around: gnawed tree stumps and sticks stacked up forming a dam.
Along with my simple Samsung tablet which I often use to take simple photos I brought along a new Panasonic Lumix FZ200 which was recommended to me as a good digital camera for photographing wildlife due to its powerful zoom lens. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had much time to learn how to operate it, so this is my first attempt at taking a video with this 24X optical zoom lens. It leaves something to be desired, but I think it does at least capture the soul. Have a look at this cute little architect :
Signs of Spring at Wilson St. Park
After a peaceful visit with our beaver friend, we headed onward to Kenneth Wilson State Park which was brimming with new life in all its patterns and colors. We discovered tiny new flowers, mushrooms, and of course, leaf buds. If you look closely at trees you’ll see some beautiful silver/green lichen that creates its own special design and texture on the bark:
A maple tree showing lichen on the bark.
Following the main trail leading out of the parking lot I came upon a large puddle with tiny tadpoles. It had recently rained quite heavily and as a result there were several puddles created. It was fun choosing which one to pick for this little video!:
During the warm spell this past April the ice thawed and I made a second trip to the park where a couple of Kayakers were setting out for their first paddle:
In May when the weather and waters warmed up I drove out to Cooper Lake. This is the month when you can begin to spot salamanders in the water, but you have to look carefully, because they’re very small and can be well camouflaged.
The Ashokan Reservoir
Visit the Ashokan Reservoir during the first or 2d week of May and you can see deer grazing and the beautiful fuzzy yellow Canada Geese babies with their families. They all appear in the late afternoon around 6:00- 6:30 p.m. before the sun goes down and the geese gather together on the foot bridge over the water. I arrived late this year – the end of May and the babies were now big teenagers. Walking over the Ashokan Reservoir is beautiful any time of day but, my favorite time is late afternoon, during and after sunset You can bring your roller skates, bikes, or cross the reservoir on foot and the geese will not mind you mingling with them. Sometimes if you’re lucky you may see a fawn or an eagle fly overhead and this is one of the best places to view post card quality sunsets. Each day, each sunset is different. Enjoy Spring in the Catskills!
A Flaming Orange/ Gold Sunset over the Ashokan.