Alley Pond Park
|Description: Just a few steps from bustling Long Island traffic, Alley Pond Park is a natural
gem in the middle of northeastern Queens. Observe fish, reptiles, amphibians
and abundant birds at the county’s second-largest and most diverse nature park.
Glacial kettle-hole ponds pockmark this landscape of forests, meadows and
freshwater wetlands that transition to saltwater wetlands and tidal flats before
meeting Little Neck Bay on Long Island Sound. More than 500 of the park’s 657
acres are designated “forever wild.”|
Alley Pond’s freshwater wetlands in particular teem with life. In addition to
harboring native species of waterfowl, they also provide resting, breeding and
feeding grounds for thousands of migrating birds as they travel each spring and
fall along the Atlantic Flyway. Nutrient-rich, shallow ponds grow thick with
water plants that provide habitat for turtles, fish, frogs and dragonflies.
Alley Pond Park also includes many rare plants, and its trees are some of the
largest in the New York City metropolitan area. For example, the Alley Pond
Giant, a tulip tree standing more than 130 feet high, has a trunk more than 18
feet around and is estimated to be between 350 and 450 years old.
Wildlife to Watch: Ospreys, red-tailed, broad-winged and Cooper’s hawks, and great horned owls
are raptors often seen by park visitors. Ring-necked pheasants and bobwhite quail will sometimes come out of hiding in meadows and at forest margins.
Mallards nest in swamp loosestrife, and wood ducks find shelter in dead trees
near the swamp. Lesser scaup, American coot, northern shoveler and many
other varieties of migrating waterfowl and waterbirds are also common. Yellow
and pine warblers, cardinals, dark-eyed juncos and rusty blackbirds
are among the forest birds you’ll see here.
Muskrat and red fox are two mammals you’re likely to spot, particularly in the
spring. Kettle-hole ponds and other small wooded wetlands support New York
City’s best remaining populations of spotted and two-lined salamanders, wood
frogs, spring peepers and gray tree frogs. The ponds are also home to bass,
bluegill, perch, carp and killifish
Special Tips: Hours: Monday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to
3:30 p.m. from September through June. Closed Sundays in July and
August and on some holidays.
Ownership: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation
Size: 657 acres
Closest Town: Douglaston, Queens
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: