The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts from the ‘New York’ category

A Sunday Drive

We went for a drive this past Sunday.  We drove to Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk, NY.  From our home in Warren, PA it is an approximate 75-minute drive to the park. Upon arriving, we parked in the unpaved parking lot near the beach area. We went for a walk from the parking lot to the Dunkirk Light and back. 


We walked a total of 1.33 miles round trip, making several stops along the way.
This is the beach. I read that the beach is an excellent place to find beach glass. Before the beach is open for swimming I believe that the sand dunes will be raked onto the beach. Those sand dunes, at present, are covered in some snow, leftover from winter storms. We did not walk on the beach. Instead we walked along the tree line, on a cliff above the beach.
In front of and below the benches is the beach.
We passed by steps leading down to the beach (photo by Bob).
The cliff was steep in places, especially as we got closer to the lighthouse.
Dunkirk Lighthouse
The lighthouse is closed for the season. It reopens on May 1st.

From Dunkirk we drove to Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, NY where I photographed bufflehead and merganser ducks and the moon.

Female Bufflehead Duck with Fish
Merganser Ducks Landing on the Water
The moon sure was pretty!

Overnight Getaway

We returned home late this morning from an overnight getaway.  We spent the night at Best Western in Erie PA, using a $25 gift certificate that expires later this month as partial payment.  We earned the gift certificate from a prior stay at a Best Western hotel.  I believe we will earn another $25 gift certificate from this stay.

We departed Warren shortly after 9:00 am yesterday and arrived at our hotel around 2:45 pm.  We made a few stops en route the hotel.

Before leaving Warren we stopped at Tim Hortons, where Bob purchased a cup of coffee.

Our second stop was in Findley Lake NY.  We saw nothing of interest and moved on.

Upon arriving in Erie we drove the perimeter of Presque Isle, stopping briefly to capture photographs of ducks and Canadian geese in a swamp area.

Pair of Mallard Ducks at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

Pair of Canadian Geese at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

That goose on the left was very noisy!  Two Canadian Geese, equally noisy, flew overhead just moments after I had returned to our car.

We ate lunch at Cheddars Scratch Kitchen in Erie.  Bob ordered Creamy Garlic Tilapia & Shrimp over rice, with broccoli cheese casserole and southern green beans.  I ordered a chicken tender platter, with salad and French fries.  Both meals were delicious.  

Our final stop before going to the hotel was at the Erie Zoo.  When the zoo reopened last year during the COVID pandemic, timed tickets were required for entry.  Timed tickets are required again this year, but NOT for the month of March.  We used our membership card to enter the zoo.  We went for a stroll through the zoo.  I didn’t take too many pictures.  The majority of my pictures were of an orangutan family.

Erie Zoo Wild Asia entrance

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutans

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutan

We had considered taking our granddaughters to the zoo, if Stacey’s employer had her scheduled to work in Erie on Monday.  We could have driven the girls to Erie, and Stacey could have taken them back home.  I am glad, though, that I did not approach Stacey with my idea.  The majority of the animals were quiet or not visible.  The merry-go-round, playground and train ride were closed, as were all the food vendors.  We will take the girls to the zoo in April, when it is warmer (and hopefully more of the zoo will be open).  Our present zoo membership expires on 30 April.  I have not yet decided, if we will renew the membership.

As I wrote earlier, we arrived at the hotel around 2:45 pm.  We checked into room 408, a two queen bed suite.  We had eaten a late lunch and knew we wouldn’t be hungry for dinner.  Other than Bob driving to a nearby fuel station to pick up water and snacks, we stayed in for rest of the day.  We had a relaxing afternoon and evening watching TV, for the most part.  We particularly liked the science fiction movie “Divergent”.  This movie is old, having been released in 2014.  We had never seen the movie and are interested in watching the next two sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”.

Now for the next day …

We were showered, dressed and had eaten breakfast by 8:00 am this morning.  Rather than grab a “grab n go” breakfast at the hotel, we ate breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel.  Bob ordered a double meat breakfast; I ordered Grandma’s Sampler.  Breakfast was delicious and filling.

After breakfast, we began our drive back home.  We drove home via Route 5, along the shores of Lake Erie.  We made three photo stops.

Our first stop was next door to North East Marina in North East, PA.

This lighthouse-shaped building is near the North East Marina in North East, PA.  The body of water in the background is Lake Erie.

After a quick search, I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about this building.  The next time we are in this area we plan to stop at North East Marina and make some inquiries.

Our second stop was at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield NY, where we saw more seagulls.

Seagull in Flight

This is the same Seagull in flight.

Two Seagulls

Several Seagulls

Our third stop was at Bournes Creek Falls, located a couple miles from Barcelona Harbor.

We saw Bournes Creek Falls for the first time in January.  The waterfall looked a lot different today than it did in January!

 

We continued on to Dunkirk NY, where we left the shores of Lake Erie and headed south.

We returned home at 11:30 am.  Our kitty, Wickett, sure was happy to see us.

 

Letchworth State Park Day Trip

We took advantage of the sunny day on Sunday, February 21st by going for a drive.

We drove to Letchworth State Park, which is located 35 miles south of Rochester, NY.  The park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a spectacular place.  The park’s magnificent scenery includes waterfalls and a gorge.  We have visited Letchworth State Park many times over the years.   We enjoy our visit each time we go.

If you visit Letchworth State Park in the winter, it is important to note that the Portageville Gate is closed for the season.  In addition Park Road closes seasonally between the Perry and Castile gates.

We entered Letchworth State Park, around noon, via the Castile Gate and turned right onto Park Road.  Our first stop was opposite Archery Field.

Archery Field Overlook of Genesee River and Gorge

I see a shadow of a person holding a basket on his head, where the frozen water has thawed.  Do you?

Our second stop was at Inspiration Point.

At Inspiration Point visitors are blessed with a spectacular vista that overlooks the Genesee River and Gorge. Upstream you see two waterfalls – the Middle Falls and the Upper Falls.  A train trestle spans above the Upper Falls.

Inspiration Point – Middle Falls

Inspiration Point – Upper Falls

Our next stop was at the Glen Iris Inn, where we enjoyed another view of the Middle Falls.  We got to see the Glen Iris fountain as an ice tower as well.

Middle Falls as seen from Glen Iris Inn grounds

 

Bob took this video of the Glen Iris Fountain with our GoPro camera.

Bob took this picture of the two of us as well.

Bob and I with Glen Iris Fountain in the background

I found a video on Facebook that explains how the Glen Iris fountain works and why it freezes into a beautiful ice tower during cold winters.  Please click here to view that video.

Our next (and last) stops were at the Upper and Middle Falls.

The Upper Falls had some water flow, but the falls were mostly frozen.

Likewise, the Middle Falls had some water fall but were mostly frozen.

The ice along the cliff at Middle Falls was particularly beautiful.

In total we spent about 1 1/2 hours at Letchworth State Park.  We couldn’t ask for a better winter day for our visit to the park.  It was a picture perfect day!

A Sunny Day Drive

Bob and I went for a drive on the afternoon of February 4th.  We drove around the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY. 

We stopped at Science Lake.  

Science Lake at Allegany State Park. Look at that beautiful blue sky and the piles of snow.

On the way home Bob said he wanted to go to Washington Park.  I didn’t want to go to Washington Park because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the snow.  The narrow, rutted and gravel entry road is not maintained in the winter.  Bob took us there anyway.  

View of Warren from Washington Park

Bob took this picture of me at Washington Park

This is a dash cam video of our drive to and from Washington Park.  Bob edited the video to add music and a few still images.

I am glad Bob didn’t listen to me (this time LOL).  We didn’t get stuck, and the view of Warren from the park was splendid!

A New-to-Me Waterfall

The other day an article about New York waterfalls appeared in my Facebook newsfeed.  The article showcased several New York roadside waterfalls.  Scrolling through the article, I noted we have seen about half of the featured waterfalls.  The waterfalls that we have not yet seen are a few hours away by car, except for one — Bournes Creek Falls in Westfield NY.

We decided to go for a drive in search of wildlife and that particular waterfall.  We didn’t see any wildlife, but we did find the waterfall. Bournes Creek Falls is located along West Lake Road, not far from Barcelona Harbor on Lake Erie.  I have noted the location of the waterfall here on Google Maps.  There is no parking area for this waterfall; however, there is room to pull off on the berm of the road.

Bournes Creek Falls consists of two drops, totaling about 12-15 feet in height.

Bournes Creek Falls, the first drop

It is obvious that Bournes Creek Falls is a roadside waterfall from the background noise heard at the end of this video.

Three Birds of Dunkirk

We went for a drive yesterday, to Dunkirk NY and back home. We noticed some road changes en route Dunkirk since the last time we made this drive. A second lane (passing lane?) had been added for a short distance on NY Route 60 north of Sinclairville.  That second lane had been added to both sides of the road. A roundabout had been added in Fredonia at Routes 60 and 20.

We stopped at Dunkirk Pier to check out photo opportunities. I captured a couple pictures of cormorants.

Cormorant in Lake Erie at Dunkirk Pier

Cormorants in Lake Erie at Dunkirk Pier

Since our last visit, enhancements had been made to the pier.  Next time we visit, I will try to remember to take pictures of the pier.  Until then, please click on the word “enhancements” and see the pier by watching the video in the article I shared.

There is a Tim Hortons not far from the Dunkirk Pier.  We picked up lunch at the drive-through window and ate in an unpaved parking lot between Clarion Hotel and Tim Hortons.  The parking lot overlooked Lake Erie. After lunch I took a couple pictures.

Seagull in Lake Erie at Dunkirk

Nine Canada Geese Flying High Above Lake Erie in Dunkirk

From Dunkirk we drove to the Barcelona Harbor Pier in Westfield NY.  We drove around the pier but saw no opportunities for bird photography.

From Westfield we drove back to our home in Warren PA.

It was a chilly and windy, overcast day. Even so, it was good to get out of the house for a few hours.

Nature Play Area

I have had this blog post in mind for almost two weeks, ever since my granddaughters and I visited our local Audubon Center.  I wanted to share a few photographs of my granddaughters, as it has been a while since I did so in this blog.  Also, I wanted to showcase the Nature Play Area at the Audubon Center.

According to its website the Audubon Community Nature Center “is a 600-acre wetland preserve that includes over five miles of trails, a native tree arboretum, picnic areas, a natural play space, and educational gardens for you to explore daily from dawn until dusk. … The Nature Center itself is home to the Blue Heron Gift Shop and three floors of interactive exhibits, including live animals, which inform and engage visitors of all ages. …  You can visit Liberty, a non-releasable Bald Eagle, in her enclosure near the [Nature Center] building.”

The Audubon Center is located approximately 12 miles from our house at 1600 Riverside Road in Jamestown, NY.  We walk the trails and visit Liberty frequently.  We have visited the Nature Center building, as well, but just a few times.  This blog post, though, is about the nature play area only.

The nature play area is located near the Nature Center building.

In Mar 2016 the nature play area had a tunnel made out of a tree and stepping “stones” made out of trees.

Mar 2016
Our granddaughters climbed through and on the tree tunnel.

Mar 2016
Bob and our granddaughters check out the stepping “stones” made out of trees.

I can’t recall if there was anything else to play on in the nature play area during our visit in March 2016.

During our visit to the Audubon Center on October 7th the girls found three new additions to the nature play area.

The girls had fun pretending they were stuck in this shelter.

The girls are sitting on Tank, a 12-foot and 1,500 pound concrete turtle.

Last fall, Tank the Turtle was created and donated to the Audubon Nature Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living, Starbrick, PA.

Spotted Salamander

The most recent addition to the Nature Play Area is this spotted salamander, which was also created and donated to the Audubon Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living.  The spotted salamander measures roughly 14 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.  The spotted salamander had not yet been named.

 

 

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