Exploring Hallock State Park and Preserve

August 5, 2021

By Kathleen Kennedy


On a typical mid-July day, an intrepid group of people joined us to explore the flora and fauna of Hallock State Park and Preserve, located on Sound Avenue in Riverhead as part of our Connections programming. Our guide was expert naturalist and ornithologist Mary Laura Lamont, who shared her extensive knowledge along the trails.

Despite the summer’s heat and humidity, the group was engaged in learning about a wide variety of plants and wildlife that make their home at this 225-acre preserve. Flowering plants included false beach heather, several species of goldenrod including sickle leaf goldenrod, black eyed Susan, purple bergamot, native white yarrow and native grasses too numerous to mention. Trees and shrubs spotted included wild raspberry, bayberry, black and white oaks, silver maple, tupelo or black gum, wild sarsaparilla, winged sumac, Eastern red cedar and even several varieties of mushrooms.

Many of these plants support local wildlife, especially birds that were plentiful during the walk. Residents of the preserve include red bellied woodpecker, sapsucker, tufted titmouse, wood thrush, cardinal, osprey, turkey vulture, Eastern towhee, king bird, catbird, Carolina wren, prairie warbler and blue winged warbler.

Wood ducks are known to make the large, freshwater Hallocks Pond home but were not seen on this day, nor were the snapping turtles, painted turtles or box turtles that are known to live throughout the preserve. The trail walk concluded at the preserve’s Long Island Sound beachfront where the group spent 30 minutes picking up marine debris with representatives from the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society.

Our thanks to Mary Laura and to all the adventurers who joined us!

Conservation Story:

In the early 2000’s, the Peconic Land Trust joined with the Trust for Public Land, KeySpan energy, and New York State to create a conservation plan for the approximately 540 acres of property which included many acres of farmland. Click here for details on the evolution of this complicated and ultimately successful project.

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