Stewart Preserve

I visited Stewart Preserve in nearby Averill Park this past Wednesday. Surprise, surprise, no cars in the lot! It was a short well marked two-mile hike through the woods, which were only a bit muddy in certain areas. The views on the trails themselves were not so remarkable, but abundant in wildlife which was quite okay by me. The songs of birds were constant, and the sight of little orange newts called Red Efts made me carefully watch my step. DSCF6924 Fringed polygala were everywhere making the floor of the forest pop with bright bits of color DSCF6925 Also ever present was the Starflower DSCF6928 There were old stone walls running alongside the trail at times DSCF6926 All of these features were great, and I would not have gone home disappointed. It is a lovely little preserve, but what made my visit magical was the moment Jeff spotted a Barred Owl landing in a tree right above our heads. We had heard it hooting as we were about to leave. I have never seen an owl in the wild, and it was so close! It just watched us, and we watched it, and the awe-inspiring moment was broken when the beagle of a neighboring house to the preserve came by and gave a big bark. Away flew the beautiful owl. We drove home with big goofy smiles after witnessing this marvelous bird. DSCF6931 Visit the Park!

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