Sunday, January 3, 2021

The winter wilds

Inbetween rainy days the Frenchman and I made our first 2021 visit to Mt Loretto Unique Area, the state park on Staten Island that is a regular escape for us within the city. It's about a forty minute drive from home and almost always offers us something interesting. Then again, we may be easily pleased: Even rabbits and groundhogs amuse us. But not in January. We could almost hear the groundhogs snoring. 

The spirit of my friend David Burg walked with us - he knew and talked a lot about this place, which he helped conserve. He died suddenly last summer. One of the many shades of 2020.

We walked to the beach, a rocky and eroded shoreline, equal parts crumbling infrastructure, New York Harbor detritus, pebbles and seaweed. 

We settled on some low tide rocks to picnic, and just as I had poured our steaming soup (borscht) from a Thermos and opened the container of flaky pastry oyster mushroom rolls, the Frenchman, always scanning the water, spotted splashes, and quivered. Soon, we could see a seal.

Then more seals, who found rocks exposed by the low water, and basked. We watched for a happy hour.

Near our feet a gull spent at least half an hour trying to dive for something, very unsuccessfully, too buoyant, it seemed to get deep enough. But then triumph. A nice, fat clam, which was soon dropped from a height to shatter, before being picked clean. (The gull asked us if we had any hot sauce but we couldn't help.)

We walked back to the car through the wet fields, and drove home to Brooklyn, counting deer along the way before crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and ending our Saturday holiday. 

Now, on a rainy Sunday, we are working, and sorting photos, and tidying away the old year, so that nothing clutters the new. Who knows what it will bring?


NYBG Class, 21 January 2021


  1. What a wonderful day in nature. Beautiful photos.

  2. How lovely! Always glad to get reports that the City's waterways are getting cleaner and able to host wildlife! That is a most auspicious sign for 2021.

  3. Now that is entertainment, being in nature and watching the clever wildlife.


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