Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

After spending the night in Medford, we drove northeast to Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island, where we caught a ferry to Shelter Island:

Crossing the Peconic River from Greenport to Shelter Island, Suffolk County, New York

Crossing the Peconic River from Greenport to Shelter Island

Arriving on Shelter Island, we drove to Mashomack Preserve, a 2,039-acre preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy, constituting 1/3 of the island. We were greeted by Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), among other feathered subjects:

Wild turkeys, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Wild turkeys

The visitor center of the preserve had a large bird feeder, which attracted the turkeys, as well as at least one chipmunk and rat that were playing tag with each other. Here a common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) rests not far from the feeder:

Common grackle, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Common grackle

Am American goldfinch (Spinus tristus) enjoys the seed:

American goldfinch, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

American goldfinch

A juvenile blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was also hanging out at the feeder:

Juvenile blue jay, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Juvenile blue jay

We could have stayed longer at the visitor center, which also had a nice collection of bird’s eggs, but we at the preserve to hike. The preserve has a varied terrain, including mature oak woodlands, fields, tidal creeks and freshwater marshes. The trails are only marked in one direction. Only hiking is allowed; biking, horseback riding, and even jogging is prohibited.

We decided to hike without applying any bug repellent. I was probably thinking that none was needed because I had hiked the day before without problems, and Batya was probably thinking that it wouldn’t do any good because mosquitoes had attacked her the day before despite the insect repellent. We probably both would have benefited from repellent, as Batya was bitten by additional mosquitoes, and I was attacked by something else–probably sandfleas.

We began our hike on the red trail, hiking east through a wooded area:

Red trail, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Red trail

A kettle pond, formed by receding glaciers:

Kettle pond, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Kettle pond

A black cherry tree (Prunus serotina):

Black cherry tree, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Black cherry tree

Wetland:

Wetland, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Wetland

After 3/4 mile, the red trail reached Miss Annie’s Creek, a natural tidal inlet and small cove:

Miss Annie's Creek, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Miss Annie’s Creek

Tidal inlet:

Tidal inlet, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Tidal inlet

Salt marsh:

Salt marsh, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Salt marsh

Common reed (Phragmite australis):

x, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Common reed

We left the red trail and continued east on the yellow trail, which passed briefly through a meadow:

Meadow, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Meadow

The meadow included this bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), whose seeds are enjoyed by the American goldfinch (though perhaps not by the one we saw at the bird feeder):

Bull thistle, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Bull thistle

After only about 1/2 mile we left the yellow trail. Our choice now was to follow a green-blazed lollipop trail south or to take the blue trail to the east. We continued east on the blue trail, which led through a lightly forested area in which I did not take any noteworthy photos.

After about 1.7 miles on the blue trail we reached Gardiner’s Bay, at the east side of the island, which included a tiny beach and a nice ocean view, with several islands visible some miles in the distance:

Gardiner's Bay, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Gardiner’s Bay

The blue trail turned south, and included a counterclockwise detour around a swampy area. Part of the trail again moved through lightly forested area:

Blue trail, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Blue trail

After about another 1.5 miles, the blue trail reached the southeastern point of the preserve, Nicoll’s Point, again providing us with water views:

Nicoll's Point, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Nicoll’s Point

A feather from a wild turkey:

Wild turkey feather, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Wild turkey feather

Over the course of another 1.1 mile, the blue trail ran west, passing by Plum Pond and Bass Creek. I will guess these two photos are Plum Pond, though I am uncertain:

Plum Pond?, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Plum Pond?

 

Plum Pond?, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Plum Pond?

We reached the end of the blue trail and turned south on the green trail. This was hiking in the opposite direction from that intended, though I thought the trail would be easy enough to follow. After about 1/2 mile, we reached Sanctuary Pond, where we followed a short Laspia Family Trail along the west side of the pond.

A great egret (Ardea alba) was standing guard over the pond:

Great egret, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Great egret

Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) were also there:

Canadian geese, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Canadian geese

We returned to the green trail and continued a short distance, but we ran into a residential area within the preserve that was no doubt grandfathered into the park at the time of its acquisition, and we could not tell where the trail continued. As I noted earlier, we were traveling in the opposite direction from that in which the trail was blazed. We therefore turned around and traveled north on the green trail, soon passing the junction with the blue trail, and continuing west on the green trail. This led through more of the lightly wooded area:

Green trail, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Green trail

Stairs on the green trail:

x, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Stairs on the green trail

The green trail returned us to the meadow area that we had encountered briefly on the yellow trail:

Meadow, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Meadow

After 1.5 miles, the green trail came to an end, and we returned to the yellow trail, this time moving north and then east through the meadow:

Meadow of yellow trail, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Meadow of yellow trail

The red berries of the shining sumac (Rhus copallinum) are said to attract wildlife:

Shining sumac, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Shining sumac

A hollow log:

Hollow log, Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

Hollow log

We completed the remaining 0.4 miles of the yellow trail and the 3/4 mile of the red trail, returning to the parking lot after a hike of about 9.2 miles.

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1 Response to Mashomack Preserve, Suffolk County, New York

  1. cynthia says:

    scenery is lovely, must have been a bright, beautiful day

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