The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘New York’ category

Ducks, Geese and Seagull

On Sunday, March 10, Bob and I went for a drive along NYS Route 5, between the Daniel Reed Pier in Westfield to the Dunkirk City Pier in Dunkirk, and NYS Route 60 to McCrea Point Park in Jamestown.  We saw a waterfall, seagulls and waterfowl.

I published two prior blog posts about our drive.  The blog post was about Barcelona Falls at the Daniel Reed Pier.  The second blog post was about seagulls and geese that we saw, while at Lake Erie.  This third, and final, blog post is about the ducks, geese and seagull that we saw at McCrea Point Park.

McCrea Point Park was my favorite stop.  We saw ducks, seagulls, and geese.  I took a few pictures of geese flying away from me.  The lighting was getting dim, so the ISO was higher than I desired.  The bird-in-flight pictures did come out OK.  A big HIGH-5 for my new camera!

Two ducks

Canadian Goose

Seagull

Two more ducks

Flying Goose

Flying Goose

Seagulls and Geese

On Sunday, March 10, Bob and I went for a drive along NYS Route 5, between the Daniel Reed Pier in Westfield to the Dunkirk City Pier in Dunkirk, and NYS Route 60 to McCrea Point Park in Jamestown.  We saw a waterfall, seagulls and waterfowl. My earlier blog post was about Barcelona Falls at the Daniel Reed Pier.  This blog post is about the seagulls and waterfowl that we saw, while at Lake Erie.

An ice fishing seagull

This seagull was noisy!

Canadian Geese at Barcelona Harbor.

I just missed a bird-in-flight opportunity, as the geese took off the ice and flew overhead.  I had returned to the warmth of the car, after taking this photograph of the geese.  It was quite windy and COLD at Barcelona Harbor!  I jumped out of the car in an attempt to photograph the geese in flight, but I was too late.  I did capture a photograph of a seagull flying, though.

An in-flight seagull

Leaving Barcelona Harbor, we drove about 15 miles to Dunkirk.  I didn’t find anything to photograph at the Dunkirk City Pier.  In fact I didn’t see even one bird.

Leaving Lake Erie behind, we followed NYS Route 60 to Jamestown, where we stopped at McCrea Point Park—the subject of my next blog post.

Barcelona Falls

On Sunday, March 10, Bob and I went for a drive along NYS Route 5, between the Daniel Reed Pier in Westfield to the Dunkirk City Pier in Dunkirk, and NYS Route 60 to McCrea Point Park in Jamestown.  We saw a waterfall, seagulls and waterfowl. Today’s blog post is about the waterfall that we saw, while at the Daniel Reed Pier.

Once you are parked on the Daniel Reed Pier, walk along the waters edge towards the cliff.  Walk along the base of the cliff for a short distance to Barcelona Falls. The sandy shore line of Lake Erie changes from year to year so access to the base of the falls is unpredictable.  On the day that we were at the pier, it was best to observe the waterfall from a distance.

Barcelona Falls is located on an unnamed creek that flows into Lake Erie.

According to the falzguy.com webpage, Barcelona Falls “has a height of 18 feet, a crest width of 4 feet and faces to the north northwest.  The elevation of the crest above sea level is 590 feet.”

The flow of Barcelona Falls can be anywhere between a trickle to a deluge.  The waterfall is best viewed in the early spring or after a period of heavy rain.

In my next blog post I will share some photographs of the seagulls and waterfowl that we saw on Lake Erie.

 

 

Allegany State Park Deer

We went for a drive yesterday, when Bob came home from work (3:30 pm).  We drove, first, to a dead end street alongside the Allegheny River here in Warren PA.  One of Bob’s coworkers told Bob that he sees an eagle often, sitting in a tree on one of the river islands.  We didn’t see an eagle. 

Leaving the riverside, we drove along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park.  We didn’t see any wildlife, as we drove PA Route 59, PA Route 321, PA Route 346 or NY Route 280.  I am glad that Bob decided to add a drive through Allegany State Park, as we saw 14 deer at various places in the park. 

Sorry deer; there is no entertainment at the amphitheater in the Winter!

Two deer in a field

My new camera did a good job focusing on this deer that had brush all around it.

These deer very near the road.

I stayed inside our car, but the deer feeding very near the road were not afraid of us.

This deer looks like it is talking to me.

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Deer feeding near the road

 

Leaving Allegany State Park, via the Red House Exit, we took I-86 to the Steamburg NY exit and drove along the western side of the Allegheny Reservoir.  We saw eight more deer, during this portion of the drive.  All total, we saw 19 deer!

We stopped at Arby’s for dinner.  Bob had a salad with a cookie.  I had a beef ‘n cheddar sandwich with curly fries and a mint chocolate shake.  The shake is available only for a limited time each year.  It is a once-a-year treat for me.

We returned home around 7:30 pm.

Birthday Weekend in Niagara Falls

I celebrated my 63rd birthday in Niagara Falls, NY.  It was a weekend birthday celebration.

We departed home at 12:20 pm on Friday, February 22, and arrived at Comfort Inn The Pointe by 2:30 pm.  

Soon after checking in, we walked to Seneca Niagara Casino, where we ate a late lunch / early dinner at Thunder Falls Buffet.  After eating, we played the slots. Bob went through quickly his $20.00.  I hadn’t even spent $10.00 before hitting an awesome win. 

Awesome win! Happy birthday to me!

I ended up with 25 free plays and won $324.80!  That win was on an $0.80 bet.  I cashed out (I am no dummy!), and we left the casino.  I split my winnings with Bob.

We returned to our hotel room, picked up my camera and walked to Goat Island.  It was a nice afternoon for a walk.  It was partly sunny.  The temperature was around 38 degrees, with little to no wind. We walked as far as the overlook of the American and Bridal Falls, before turning around to go back to the hotel.

Rainbow Over the Falls

We stayed in the hotel for the evening. 

 

On Saturday we got up around 5:30 am.  We ate a complimentary hot breakfast at 7:00 am.  We both enjoyed waffles, eggs, fried potatoes, link sausage, orange juice and coffee for Bob and hot tea for me.

Around 9:45 am we went to the Aquarium of Niagara. The aquarium was a new-to-us attraction.  We saw seals, penguins, several fish in small aquariums, and a sea lion show. 

A pool holding rescue harbor seals was located outside, near the entrance to the aquarium.

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Rescue Harbor Seals

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Each Rescue Harbor Seal was fed and weighed.

After paying the admittance fee, we walked over to the Humboldt penguin enclosure.  We were in time for the 10:00 am Penguin Feeding/Presentation.

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Penguin Coast

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Penguin Coast

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Penguin Coast (Feeding Time)

The aquarium is on two levels.  We circled the first floor, walked up the stairs to the second level and circled that floor as well.  There are several fish tanks on each floor.

Aquarium of Niagara Falls – Lionfish

In the center of the aquarium is a large pool.  The pool is at eye level on the first floor.  On the second floor visitors look down on the pool.  A Sea Lion show is held in the pool four times each day that the aquarium is open.

This short video clip is from the 10:30 am sea lion show.

 

We ate lunch at 1:00 pm at Hard Rock Cafe.  We both had pulled pork sandwiches with French fries, cole slaw and baked beans.  Saturday was my birthday, and lunch at Hard Rock Cafe was my birthday dinner.

After lunch we made a return visit to the aquarium to catch the 2:30 pm sea lion show.  We had not watched from an ideal location for the morning show.  We wanted to improve upon our vantage point.  We located ourselves across from the stage, instead of over top the stage as we were for the morning show.  I expected the show to be the same as the one at 10:30 am.  Some of the show was the same, but there were new additions as well. 

This video clip is from the 2:30 pm sea lion show at the Aquarium of Niagara.

I liked both sea lion shows; I am glad that we made the return trip.

From the aquarium we returned to the hotel and parked in the parking lot.  We walked to Prospect Point, where I photographed the American Falls from that vantage point.

The American Falls, as seen from Prospect Point

On our way out of Prospect Park a woman and young son asked where the falls were.  They were headed in the direction of the falls but thought the falls may have been behind them.  In all the years we have been coming to Niagara Falls we have never had that question asked.  We told them to continue to walk in the direction they were going, that they couldn’t miss the falls.

Phil P. and I have been Facebook friends since August 2012.   Our mutual interest in photography is what prompted our friendship.  Phil and I have had an almost 7-year-old friendship, and we had yet to meet in person.  That fact changed, when Bob and I met Phil and his wife Wendy for coffee / tea at Tim Hortons in the Seneca Niagara Casino.  Bob and I drove to the casino, rather than walk, as it was drizzling.  We drove around awhile before finding parking.  The casino was very busy! I think the casino was busy because it was “fight night”.  Phil had trouble finding parking too.  He and Wendy were delayed about 15 minutes for our 6:00 pm meet up. We enjoyed the hour or so that we spent together. We talked about photography, work, some politics, retirement plans and travel.  

Leaving Tim Hortons, Bob and I went to the casino.  The casino gave me $5.00 free slot play for my birthday.  I lost the $5.00 plus $20.00 more.  Bob played $20.00 and won $150.00.  Bob split the $150.00 with me.

From the casino we returned to the hotel.  We returned to our room around 8:00 pm, where we stayed for rest of the evening.

 

We got up around 5:30 am on Sunday.  We were showered and dressed for the day by 6:30 am.

At 7:00 am we ate the complimentary hot breakfast at the hotel.  

We began our drive home at 7:30 am, ahead of the high winds and snow in Sunday’s weather forecast.  We had planned to visit the Buffalo Zoo on our way home but changed our minds, given the weather forecast.  

Our drive home was pretty much uneventful.  We decided to take Route 5 home, as the sun was shining and the winds were calm.  We did drive into some wind and a heavy downpour, while on Old Lake Shore Road.  Other than that it was a smooth drive home.  

We made it home by 11:00 am.  Soon after coming home, we saw the temperature rise to a high of 55 degrees.  The temperature dropped quickly afterward.  By mid afternoon it was snowing.  The weather forecast was calling for 2-4 inches of snow, with a high wind warning through Monday sometime.  We ended up with at least 6 inches of snow!

What a wonderful (and profitable) birthday weekend!

 

 

 

Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival

This weekend is the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville, NY. The highlight of the festival, at least for Bob and me, is the castle made of ice blocks. The first winter festival held in Mayville was in February 1987.  Bob and I attended this year’s festival on Saturday.  As in past years the festival was held on the grounds of Lakeside Park, located on the shores of Chautauqua Lake.

We parked in a lot off Valley Street ($5.00 donation to park) and walked across NYS Route 394 to the ice castle.  We didn’t stop at the ice castle.  We walked past the gazebo to the park building, located at the opposite end of the park.  During our walk we ran into a friend, Pete F., and his wife, Linda.  We said hi to Pete, who then introduced us to Linda.  The four of us chatted for a short time, before continuing our separate ways.

We walked into the park building and looked around.  Inside the park building we found restrooms and a few vendors.  We noticed tables where tickets were being sold for a scavenger hunt and for the beer and wine tent.  Leaving the park building, we walked out on the ice-covered Chautauqua Lake.

Linda on ice-covered lake

While on the lake, it was announced a few times that anyone on the ice were on it at their own risk. I read in a local newspaper article that the ice on Chautauqua Lake a few weeks ago was approximately 12- to 18-inches thick and had melted down to a mere 6 inches. There was a square cut into the ice that would be the location of the polar bear plunge later in the day.

Linda on ice-covered lake near opening in ice

Everyone was warned to stay 50 feet away from that opening in the ice.

 

We stopped at each vendor tent on our way back to the ice castle.  There were food tents, a beer and wine tent, a wood carver, at least one game of chance, and a vendor tent. 

A bar made out of the ice blocks in the beer and wine tent

Chain saw carver

Some of the prizes in Ball in Bowl game

There were horse-drawn carriage rides available too.

It didn’t take long to make our way back to the ice castle.

Bob took this picture of me in front of the ice castle.

It was 12:30 pm, when we made it back to the ice castle.  I wanted to stay for the polar bear plunge, but the plunge wouldn’t happen until 2:00 pm.  It was cold.  We weren’t hungry, and there wasn’t anything going on at the festival that would hold our attention for 1 1/2 hours.  So, we left for home soon after returning to the ice castle. I guess we should have timed our arrival closer to the time of the polar bear plunge.  Oh, and fireworks would be set off later in the evening.  We didn’t see the fireworks either.

 

The End to Cabin Fever

As it was for much of the United States, we experienced cold weather and bitter wind chills at the end of January.  On the morning of February 2nd Pennsylvania’s legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, which means that Spring is right around the corner.  I hope that Phil is correct in his prediction.  Regardless of whether he is right or wrong, Spring will be here on March 20th.  Here, in Northwestern Pennsylvania, the weather forecast this past Saturday for the next several days makes it look like Spring is on our doorstep.

Spring is knocking on our door!

 

We went for a drive late Sunday morning into the early afternoon. 

A portion of our drive was along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir.  Our first stop was at Big Bend Recreation Area, located just below Kinzua Dam, where we looked for eagles.  We didn’t see any.  

We continued our drive on Pennsylvania Route 59 to Pennsylvania Route 321 past Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.  We stopped here.

Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir

The “My Two Cents” Snowman at Sugar Bay

Bob built the snowman, while I was taking pictures of the bay.

Continuing our drive on Pennsylvania Route 321 we came to a T-intersection.  We turned left onto Pennsylvania Route 346.  At he New York state line Pennsylvania Route 346 becomes New York State Route 280.  We followed Route 280 to Allegany State Park.  

We drove through Allegany State Park, making only one photo stop.  We drove over a bridge and had gotten a few hundred feet further along the road, when I said to Bob “We have to turn around!  I saw something that I want to photograph!”.  Bob turned around.

A snow and ice sculpture I found in one of the streams at Allegany State Park.

A snow and ice sculpture

Bob said the snow and ice sculpture resembled a porcupine.  I thought it resembled a peacock or turkey, with its feathers fanned out.  

From Allegany State Park we made our way back home.  We returned home around 2:00 pm.  I am glad that we went for a drive.  What a beautiful day it was with blue skies, brilliant sunshine and a high temperature of 52 degrees!  I could feel my cabin fever breaking, as the sunshine beamed down through the moon roof and especially when I stepped out into the pleasantly warm outdoor air. 

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