Sunday, November 19, 2006

Woodland Gardens and Is the Long Ear really Gone?

Photograph by Donegal Browne
On the Lake

Male House Sparrow forages for seeds in the herbaceous layer.

I know, give you a break, he's ground feeding, right? Of course. But, lately I've been gathering material on American Woodland Gardens in order to prove that the Hell's Kitchen Bird Park fits the category. It has started me thinking again about the "official layers".

Once one pays attention, let's face it, portions of Central Park are the most magnificent examples of the Woodland form anywhere.

Just take a look below at Eleanor Tauber's lovely photograph taken in Central Park.

By The Pool, enter at Central Park West entrance near 113th St.
(Actually at 103rd as a number of sharp eyed readers pointed out. D.B.)
Within this one photograph most of the layers of a Deciduous Forest or Woodland Garden are visible.

The tallest trees are the Canopy.

The intermediates, the Understory,

Then the Shrub Layer,

The grasses and smaller vegetation, the Herbaceous Layer.

See the artfully placed rocks? Yes, all those rocks in Central Park were brought in. They are the Ground Layer.

The only layer I can't quite see in this photograph is the Climbing or Vine layer, though I know that it exists.

Frederick Law Olmstead often added birds and animals to his designs. As many of you know, the Sheep Meadow originally had sheep and a shepherd in residence. At the Chicago World's Fair he added Swans to the little waterways in his design.

Olmstead didn't have to add birds to Central Park, his design and it's location have made Central Park one of the top birding spots anywhere.

Speaking of which, I understand that the Long Eared Owl has moved and might have flown the coop altogether. Does anyone know if she's been spotted again?

Alright, now that you've been distracted, go back up to the top photo and see how many of the layers you can discover there.

Donegal Browne


rbs said...

I think you meant 103rd St. rather than 113th. No?

Donegal Browne said...


Sorry about the typo. I most definitely meant 103rd. That's the entrance many of us used to the park when the Screech Owl family roosted up there last Spring.