The Beauty Around Us

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

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.

 

Mourning Dove

It seems as though each year a pair of mourning doves builds a nest in our pavilion.

This mourning dove sat patiently on a shepherd’s hook in our backyard, as I took multiple photographs.

Is this my better side?

A Mourning Dove’s throat puffs up without opening its bill, when it coos.

Bob captured the following video on a wildlife cam.

The building of a nest in our pavilion appears it will happen again this year.

Turkeys and a Deer

On our way home from Letchworth State Park a flock of turkeys crossed the road in front of us.  We stopped on Akeley Road in Russell PA in front of the yard to which the turkeys had crossed.

Turkeys and a deer along Akeley Road in Russell, PA

When I took this picture I didn’t see the deer in the background.  My focus was on the flock of turkeys.  As I lowered my camera, after taking this picture, I saw movement to the left.  I saw the deer’s raised white tail disappearing out of my sight.  I looked at the picture that I had taken.  I was glad that I had captured a picture of the deer in addition to the turkeys.  As a bonus, the deer was looking at me!

 

 

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!

Owl in Tree

Do you see the “owl” in the tree?

You are not looking for a real owl.  You are looking for an owl that appears to be carved out of wood.

Look straight up the trunk of the tree on the left.  The “carved” owl is sitting in the middle, where the tree begins to branch off.

Do you see the owl?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my blog followers!

The top photograph was taken in November 2020, during our Thanksgiving week vacation in Chincoteague VA.  The photograph on the left along the bottom row was taken, while on our first date, in Annapolis MD in May 1998.   The bottom right photograph was taken in February, this year. Bob and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary in September, this year.

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