Renowned for its unusual abundance and diversity of warblers. May and June are best, but worthwhile throughout the year.
Trail over Doodletown Creek, below Reservoir (Photo by Alan Wells).
From NYC/Westchester area: Travel west over the Tappan Zee Bridge to Exit 13 then take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north. Go north to Route 6 to the Bear Mountain traffic circle. Leave the circle at the first exit, the Bear Mountain State Park exit . At the light, follow the left fork south along 9W. Within less than 1 mile there will be several small parking areas near two, white concrete abutments indicating the bridge over Doodletown Brook. Park along the road. On the west side of 9W walk up the old Doodletown Road. It is marked by a brown historical marker that mentions the no longer existent town of Doodletown. Proceed up the hill.
Trail Map (704KB)
Cattails at Doodletown Reservoir (Photo by Alan Wells)
Doodletown is the site of a former hamlet just south of Bear Mountain and north of Dunderberg Mountain. Iona Island and Salisbury Meadow are just to the east. The site was settled by at least 1762 and, at its peak (about 1945), was home to about 300. After WWII, the Park gradually acquired many of the homes. By 1962, the remaining homes were condemned and the site was vacated by 1965. The foundations of many of the homes are still clearly visible. In the clearings, scrubby secondary growth, dominated by barberry, is prevalent.
A short description of Doodletown's history and an extensive listing of the flora can be found on the Torrey Botanical Society web site.
Doodletown and adjoining Iona Island were designated as New York State Important Bird Areas in 1997 and a New York State Bird Conservation Area.
In spring Cerulean and Hooded warblers can be easily found. Other common warblers include Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Palm, Prairie, Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Black-and-White, Canada, American Redstart, Blue-winged, Common Yellowthroat, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Ovenbird. In all, 32 species of wood warbler have been seen.
Other common species include: Turkey vulture, Black vulture, Canada goose, Mallard, Wood duck, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Tree Swallow, American Crow, Common raven, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Gray Catbird, American Robin, Veery, Wood Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Red-eyed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrow, and Song Sparrow. During spring, expect 50-70 species.