Bear Swamp.

I’ve driven by this area numerous times, and did notice the “disorganized” stick nests in the tree tops, but really never paid them any attention.

I happened to be driving by again the other day and I noticed a woman taking pictures. I stopped and asked “Eagles?” To which she replied “Herons.”

She had my attention. So I parked the car and struck up a conversation. Her name was Patricia.

During our conversation I learned that apparently this is a Great Blue Heron breeding area. I was unaware of this and started looking into the cattails. “Up there” she said. “In the trees.”

I felt like an idiot. Not only did I not know this was a “Heronry” but I also did not know that Herons nested in trees.

I learned a lot in ten minutes. Thank you Patricia.

Great Blue Herons are breeding here now (Mid April) and you will see several pairs living here.

Bear Swamp a 310 acre preserve located in Westerlo NY, is protected and maintained by The Nature Conservancy.

One of the things that make this preserve interesting, besides the fact that it is a Heronry, is that it “dates from 13,000 years ago, with the retreat of the last glacier.”

Bear Swamp is named after a “Mr. Bear” who bought the property from Stephen Van Rensselear in the late 1800s.

There is a two mile trail that follows the perimeter of the preserve, around the “lake” marked with red trail markers. (They used to be yellow and are listed as such on the website, but most of them have been painted red.) Some of the marker trees are down due to wind, so you may have to look a little bit for the next marker.

Right now it’s mid April and the trail is flooded in a few spots. But overall, you should have no problem following this trail.

There is also a smaller trail, The Memorial Stone Walk, with no trail markers. I did not explore this today so cannot give any details about it other than it looks like there is a Geocache there.

Between now and early to mid June is a great time to visit this preserve. Bugs are down, and the underbrush hasn’t grown up enough to obscure the views of the swamp. So get out there and enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: