Birds and Bee Balm

A colleague mentioned spending a recent weekend in Nutley, NJ, and that made me look it up on Google Maps, which is how I found this series of little parks along a little river — more of a creek, really — winding through this little suburb. We started at the southern end, at Yanticaw Park, an Essex County park on the Lenape Trail.

The park was lovely, with all these big suburban houses whose backyard fences and culdesacs opened up onto the shared green. People were out walking their dogs, taking strollers, accompanying kids on bikes, or just out for a stroll with a friend. It was a nice little suburban community vibe.

And full of mallards, clearly accustomed to being fed.

Memorial Parkway

Following the little river northward, Yanticaw Park turned into the World War I Memorial Parkway, a strip of land dedicated to those who served their country in what they thought would be the War To End All Wars, a park later extended even farther by the gift of a generous, if sentimental, local resident.

loved this decommissioned railroad bridge

Kingsland Park

The Memorial Park was apparently so beloved of the people of Nutley, that it was followed, farther north and a few years later, by Kingsland Park. It hadn’t been in my original plan to go that far, but I could see it from the top of the Memorial Park, and couldn’t resist.

In addition to fearless geese, more mallards….

… and a great blue heron!

Kingsland Manor

At the top of this third park was an unusual sort of dam system. And across the river in the trees was the colonial-era estate turned living museum (presently closed, of course) of Kingsland Manor.

with a great pollinator garden

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