After we returned to New York, we attended a Quail Release Program at Caleb Smith State Park. The program began over nine years ago when a local biologist discovered that the increase in ticks on Long Island coincided with a decrease in the local Bobwhite Quail population. In an attempt to increase the number of Quail, the coordinator came up with the idea of encouraging local elementary schools to hatch quail eggs instead of chicks. When the quails are big enough they are released into the local parks. This year 32 elementary schools were involved. On the day we visited Caleb Smith State Park, approximately 300 quail were released. The program began with the biologist explaining the history of the program. When he was finished, the school children followed him over to the cages and waited quietly for the birds to emerge and take off into the woods. Actually, this particular group of birds needed a bit of coaxing to leave their comfortable lifestyle and could have used a little noise in order to encourage them to leave.
When the birds were gone, we decided to wander around the park for a time. There was a nice, easy, graveled path behind the bird release site. It was a short trail that quickly connected to a wider road leading back to the release field, but long enough for the man coming up the road asking directions. I suspect, it was just the right distance for introducing the young children with him to the outside world.
We continued over the road to a trail directly opposite the one we had been on. Even though I had a trail map, the mix of trails gets a little confusing once the wanderer travels away from the fields. There are red, green, blue, and other various colors, in addition to the white blazes of the Greenbelt Trail. At one junction I thought we should head right but my husband suggested left. Given my sense of direction, I felt that his was the wiser choice.
After I snapped my picture, we headed back towards the road that would lead back to the parking area. A woman, noticing my camera, commented that there was a frog by the edge of the pond. She led me to the spot and pointed this beauty out to me. After I took my picture, I paid the favor forward, by pointing the frog out to a man approaching the water with his camera.
It had been a satisfying morning.