Friends who live in the Rockaways showed us around last week. This barrier beach of a peninsula juts out of the soft underbelly of Queens as the sheltering arm of Jamaica Bay. It’s thickly settled on its eastern end, but Jacob Riis Beach and the Fort Tilden section of Gateway NRA provide some naturalist splendor. Above is one of the views from the platform at Battery Harris in Fort Tilden, looking across the Bay towards Oz.American oystercatchers were scouting out nesting sites up and down the long beach.A willow blooming in the dunes.Quaking aspen catkin. The grove of trees shimmered in the later afternoon sun with these furry seed packages. This aspen is one of those tree species that can be connected at the roots, making each seemingly individual tree a clone.The bay side of Breezy Point, the western-most end of the peninsula. Fencing on the right to protect the ground nests of piping plover, oystercatcher, common tern, and least tern.
A brief reminder that the city harbors many habitats and a universe of life, and that we always need to be vigilant in protecting and expanding these habitats.

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