Islington Pond Park Preserve
Borough: Staten Island
Habitat Type: Forest, Freshwater Wetland
Islington Park (also know as Kingfisher Park) is a 23-acre green space that features a small pond and associated wetland, with abundant bird life. The park is a wildlife oasis, home to a large variety of ecosystems. A successional meadow, once a farmer’s field or a shallow pond, has been slowly changing over the last two centuries into a climax forest, which contains oak, hickory, and beech trees, as well as an under-story of red maple (Acer rubrum), silky dogwood (Cornus amomum), and black cherry trees (Prunus serotina). The term “climax forest” refers to a forest that has reached the final stage in its evolution. The individual trees may grow, change, or die, but the species make-up of the forest remains the same. A forest that is still in succession may undergo more material changes as one species crowds out or overshadows another.
The pond in Islington Park is home to frogs, turtles, catfish, sonnies, and carp. In 1999, wildlife enthusiasts counted 35 distinct species of birds in the park. In addition to belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon), glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), great egret (Ardea alba), snowy egrets (Egretta thula), and several species of heron can also be found using the park's wetlands. Freshwater wetlands provide resting, breeding, and feeding grounds for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. Many of these birds arrive in New York City only twice a year as they travel along the Atlantic flyway, a major migratory route.
Public Transit: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the Staten Island Railroad from the St. George terminal and get off at the Great Kills stop. The S54 runs along Giffords Lane, one block from the railroad stop. Take the S54 (Broadway Bound) along Giffords Lane until it turns right onto Arthur Kill Road. Get off the bus for Greaves Ave. Walk on Greaves Ave for 3 blocks and the preserve is straight ahead. An observation platform is at the corner of Greaves and Fairfield St. The S74, S84 and x15 (from Brooklyn) buses also run on Arthur Kill Road past Greaves Ave.
By Car: From the West Shore Expressway on Staten Island, exit for Huguenot Avenue/Arthur Kill Road at Exit 4. Drive on Arthur Kill Road eastbound for about 4 miles. Pass Giffords Lane and make a right on Greaves Ave. An observation platform for the preserve is located at the corner of Greaves and Fairfield St.