With our to-do lists getting longer we opted to locate trails a little closer to home and so headed to the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach. For historical reference, William Floyd was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His estate is now owned by the National Park Service. Although the manor house was still closed for the season, there was still over 2 miles of trails to explore.
A short boardwalk trail directed us from the parking lot towards the grounds behind the manor house. We decided to begin our trail loop on the blue trail located on the far side of the grounds. This path hugged Home Creek, providing us views of the gulls, kingfishers and other sea birds, as well as the houses on the opposite side of the channel. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the beach where the Creek merged with the bay. On a small spit of land across from us, we observed an active osprey nest. Turning west, we spied another osprey nest not far from the woodland road we traveled. They must have believed this path was too close for comfort for they were fully aware of our presence and circled overhead. This was true of yet another pair keeping an eye on our wanderings.
Rounding the point, the blue markers gave way to red then yellow markers as we entered the woods once more. I found no evidence of wildflowers here but the trees were certainly getting ready to burst with new growth. The red buds of maples were well on the way to blooming. The smaller vegetation was already dressed in tiny green leaves.
The trails at the William Floyd Estate took us through wooded areas, shoreline and fields. Entering one forested area from the field we found an hawk feather near the path, evidence of the several hawks we observed during our ramble. As we entered one of the fields, I spotted something with a rather long pointed beak blending in with the ground cover. Our approach startled a frightened woodcock into flight. My first sighting of this fowl.
Nearing the end of our hike, we heard the distinctive laugh of a flicker. We looked around but could not locate him at first until we spied a small red head pop out of a hole near the top of a nearby tree. His antics of poking his head in and out of this nesting area kept us amused for some time. It was a great way to end our walk.