When I first moved to New York, it took me a while to realize that there was a neighborhood called Jamaica and it had nothing to do with reggae and white sand beaches. There is, however, a Wildlife Reserve on Jamaica Bay that the National Park Service runs. It's a great place to see a lot of birds that you don't normally see in the city limits.
It's also a fabulous place to walk around and spend a relaxing day outdoors. It's relatively quiet without a whole lot of people crowding the path. Most of those who do go there are serious birdwatchers and they tend to be a silent bunch. You are right next to JFK airport though, which means you have a steady roar of overhead jet engines.
The mulberry trees are starting to show off their fruit.
The dark ripe berries are fragile, pleasantly mild and sweet.
We saw a lot of sea birds- ibis and heron and egret, gulls and terns.
There were also a couple of osprey nest. They both had a few fledgling chicks in the nest- every once and a while you could see these huge, awkward wings unfold and beat around for a bit.
We could actually see them being fed super-fresh sushi. I'm kind of envious.
The beach roses were starting to bloom and the bumble bees were going crazy. It was a symphony of buzzing every time you reached a patch of blooming flowers.
We reached another Osprey nest. This one was much closer to the trail, and our presence seemed to really agitate the birds.
This lead to a few really nice close-ups of one of the adult birds who wouldn't let us out of sight.
I took a few pictures and then we quietly moved on. Raptor talons are rather large and razory. I'm always in awe of birds of prey and it's always a treat to get to see them up close.