The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Birds’

Northern Flicker Sighting

About an hour ago I was walking past one of our living room windows, and I saw a bird at the edge of our neighbor’s yard.  It was a different-looking bird than I am accustomed to seeing from our house and yard.  I hurriedly grabbed my camera and replaced a 25mm lens that was residing on the camera with a 75-300mm lens.  I had my doubts that the bird would still be in the spot where I had seen it, but I was ready for the next sighting.  Surprise, surprise!  The bird was still in the same spot!  I held the camera to my eye and took a photograph through our living room window glass and screen.

Northern Flicker

I slowly and quietly made my way outside through our front door, hoping to get another shot. I forgot about our cat.  Patches followed me outside, prompting bounding down the stairs to the sidewalk below.  Patches didn’t see the bird.  The bird, however, saw Patches.  Bye, Bye birdie. The Northern Flickr flew away. I hope that I see it again!

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Afternoon Hours

Our friends, Kris and Bob, were supposed to meet us at our hotel at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 4. The four of us planned to walk from the hotel to the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant for lunch.  At 10:30 am Kris sent me a text saying that Bob got called into work very early in the morning, and he was still not home. Kris said she would send me a text when they were on their way. At 11:47 am, Bob still hadn’t come home from work (and Kris said it would take them 30 minutes to drive to Virginia Beach), so Bob and I went for a walk on the boardwalk to the King Neptune statue. It wasn’t a long walk.  Our hotel was located at 29th Street, and King Neptune was located at 31st Street.

Approaching the King Neptune statue

King Neptune is a 34-foot, cast bronze statue.
The statue was created by Virginia-based sculptor, Paul DiPasquale.


We returned to the hotel by way of the beach.

We saw the horses up close and personal. The horses wear poop bags. We had wondered who cleaned up the horses’ poop, as we observed them walking the beach from our hotel room balcony.

We live near an Amish community.  Bob said that the Amish in Sugar Grove, PA should be required to place poop bags on their horses!

 I really enjoyed seeing the horses on the beach!


At 1:25 pm Kris sent a text saying that Bob would not be leaving the office until 5:00 pm. Before coming home he had to drive to the UPS hub in Norfolk to get parts on a flight to the UK. The four of us would not be getting together after all. We were very disappointed, as we were looking forward to seeing Kris and Bob. Kris and Bob moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia 6+ years ago, and we haven’t seen each other since their move.

Bob and I ate lunch at the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant, the restaurant at which we had planned to eat lunch with Bob and Kris.

Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant

The atmosphere at Abbey Road Pub was casual and cozy.  Service was a little slow.  Our lunches, though, were good. I ordered a Chef Salad, and Bob ordered Crab Cakes.

We returned to our hotel after lunch, spending more time on the balcony of our 8th floor hotel room.

I was setting up the camera to capture a self-portrait of Bob and me.  The photograph shown above was a test shot.  I just happened to take the picture just as a seagull passed by.

Bob and I on our balcony

I was supposed to be reading, while sitting on the balcony.  I didn’t get much reading done.  The seagulls kept pulling my attention away from the book that I was reading!

I will wrap up Day 3 of our Easter vacation in my next blog post.


Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Morning Hours

We slept in until 7:00 am the morning of Saturday, April 4.   We missed sunrise; however, I don’t believe it would have been a good one. The morning was overcast, windy and damp.  At times it was drizzly and at other times rain falling lightly.

Upon awakening, we showered and got dressed quickly. We ate breakfast at our hotel (complimentary). After breakfast, we relaxed in our hotel room.

We watched seagulls flying near our 8th floor balcony.

The seagulls gave me good practice with shooting birds in flight!


Pigeons flew by our balcony as well.
Sometimes a pigeon would stop for a rest.


When we weren’t bird watching, we read the newspaper and eBooks.  We surfed the Internet and checked in on Facebook.

I set up a very special photograph, too, on our balcony. Paired with a compatible Olympus camera, the OLYMPUS Image Share smartphone app allows me to see the camera’s Live View on my iPhone screen. It also allows me to operate my camera remotely from my iPhone.

It is said that Virginia is for Lovers

I agree.
Virginia is for Lovers!

Erie Weekend Getaway – Day 3

I have written about our weekend in Erie, PA in my last two blog posts.  This blog post wraps up our weekend in Erie.

Sunday didn’t get off to a good start. As Bob was getting into the shower/bath tub, he slipped and fell out of the tub.  The hotel was not at fault, as they did provide a hand rail inside the tub.  Thankfully, Bob didn’t hit his head.  He landed on his tailbone, and he must have twisted his neck.  Both his tailbone and neck (and lower back) hurt throughout the day.  Bob did go to work on Monday; he says that his tailbone and neck feel okay now.

We checked out of the hotel at 8:50 am and made one last trip around Presque Isle State Park.

We visited the West Pier for the first time on Saturday.  We returned to the West Pier on Sunday.  There were no windsurfers on ice on Sunday morning, as they were on Saturday.  The view across Presque Isle Bay, though, was much clearer.

Dobbins Landing and Bicentennial Tower, as seen from the West Pier

We saw Dean Zeller, our new friend, again. He had just pulled off the road and was setting up a tripod to take a picture of the Erie skyline. We stopped and chatted briefly.

During our drive around Presque Isle, we returned to most of the same places that we stopped at on Friday and Saturday.

The seagulls and ducks at the North Pier kept me entertained for several minutes.

North Pier Lighthouse

In addition to returning to the same places that we visited on Friday and Saturday, we made a stop at the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Bob at Presque Isle Lighthouse beach

Sunday was overcast, but a brighter day than Saturday.
It was a very cold day, though, same as Saturday.

Presque Isle Lighthouse Beach

We had hoped to catch sight of the snowy owl, while at Presque Isle State Park.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see a snowy owl the entire weekend.

From Presque Isle State Park we went to Presque Isle Downs and Casino. It didn’t take long for us to lose $40.00. My $20 lasted for a longer time than did the $20.00 that Bob played.

We ate lunch at Famous Dave’s. Neither of us had eaten before at this restaurant. Bob ordered Hot Link Sausages, Homemade Barbecue Chips and Firecracker Green Beans (Green beans with bacon, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper). My meal choice was Barbecue Chicken, Potato Salad, and Creamy Coleslaw. Both entrees included a Corn Bread Muffin. Lunch was tasty, and we will most likely make a return visit someday.

After lunch we made our way back home.  We had a good weekend.  The change in scenery was wonderful!


Erie Weekend Getaway – Day 1

Bob came home from work at noon this past Friday (January 23). By 12:30 pm we were on our way to Erie, PA for a getaway weekend.

Upon reaching Erie, we drove straightway to Presque Isle State Park.

Our first photo stop was at Perry Monument.

Perry Monument

The Perry Monument commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, in which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry earned the Battle of 1812’s greatest naval victory.

Our next stop was at the North Pier.

North Pier Lighthouse
Isn’t that blue sky gorgeous!

Seagull at North Pier

Seagull at North Pier

Seagull at North Pier

Our last stop was at Beach 7 – Waterworks Beach, where we admired ice dunes from afar.

Ice Dunes on Lake Erie

Snowy owls have returned to Presque Isle State Park.  We had hoped to spot a snowy owl. The only wildlife we saw, though, were the seagulls at the North Pier.

From Presque Isle State Park, we drove to Applebee’s for dinner. We ordered from the 2 for $25 dinner entrees. Bob ordered the Bourbon Street chicken and shrimp entree, and I ordered the Bourbon Street steak entree. For an appetizer we choose onion rings with Mexi-Ranch dressing. We each ordered a garden salad to accompany our meals. Dinner was excellent. We were pleased to find out that the restaurant is part of Scott Enterprises, which meant that the Ultimate Gift Card that we purchased in November last year paid for our dinners.

After dinner, we drove the short distance to our hotel and checked in. The Comfort Inn Presque Isle was our home for two nights.

Stay tuned.  I will write about Day 2 of our weekend getaway in my next blog post.

Letchworth State Park

This blog post continues our Finger Lakes Weekend.

We left our hotel en route home at 8:00 am on June 22nd. Breakfast, for me, was what was provided by the hotel. I had a raisin bagel with cream cheese, a cup of tea and a banana. Bob chose not to eat breakfast, drinking only a cup of coffee. We didn’t go straight home. We rode to Letchworth State Park, and then we made our way back home from there.

Letchworth State Park 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 (three major ones on the Genesee River) and a gorge.    We have visited Letchworth State Park many times over the years.   We enjoy our visit each time we go.  We arrived at Letchworth State Park around 9:30 am. We rode from the Mt. Morris entrance to the Portageville entrance, making several stops along the way.

Mount Morris Dam

Turkey Vultures at Mount Morris Dam

It seems each time we visit places we have seen many times we see something different.    A BIG chair was a new sight for us during this visit to Letchworth State Park.

This big chair was located at the Mount Morris Dam Overlook.


The next few pictures are from other stops that we made inside the park.

Gorge view from Tea Table Rock

Wolf Creek Falls

Rafting on the Genesee River (across from Archery Field)

Rafting on the Genesee River

Inspiration Point
Middle Falls and Upper Falls are visible from this vantage point.

Middle Falls

Upper Falls


We opted not to stop at Lower Falls, the third major waterfall on the Genesee River, preferring neither to make the hike nor use the time to see the falls as we still had a 2 ½-hour ride home from Letchworth State Park. We departed Letchworth at 1:00 pm.

From Letchworth we rode to Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville NY, where we enjoyed a filling lunch.

Sprague’s Maple Farms

Bob ordered breakfast food–pancakes, eggs, bacon and home fries. I ordered the maple-glazed meatloaf special that included salad, rolls, green beans, and baked potato. Lunch was excellent.

We rolled into Warren shortly before 5:00 pm.  As we were passing by Tim Horton’s, we saw our friends Susan and Dave sitting outside. We stopped for an iced tea and visited for about 30 minutes.

We returned home around 5:30 pm. It was a great weekend. The weather was gorgeous; the scenery was beautiful; and the ride was nice.  Best of all, I spent the weekend enjoying the weather, the scenery and the ride with my husband.  Who could ask for more!

Ride with Friends Along Lake Erie

Yesterday, Bob and I went for a ride with friends along Lake Erie in New York.

We met up with our friends at 11:00 am at our local Tim Hortons.  Two other couples rode with us: our friends Susan and Dave and their friends Melinda and Ron.  Before leaving Tim Hortons parking lot, we checked out Dave’s new motorcycle — a 2014 Harley Davidson — that he and Susan purchased on Saturday.  It is a nice motorcycle!

Admiring the new motorcycle

Dave led our ride.  The following two maps show our ride route.


Our first stop was alongside Lake Front Blvd. in Dunkirk, NY.

Lake Front Blvd.
Dunkirk, NY

Our next stop was for lunch at Castaway’s Waterfront Bar & Grill in Angola, NY.  We ate lunch on the patio, with a lovely view of Lake Erie.


I had a grilled chicken sandwich and potato salad for lunch.

The food was delicious, and the service was excellent.  Our waitress was very personable, and she checked on us several times to see if we needed drink refills, food accompaniments or additional food.

We made one more food stop, for dessert, at Sunset Grill in Irving, NY.  Everyone, except Susan, got ice cream.


Susan took these two pictures, while we were at Sunset Grill.  I liked the picnic table swings.  In fact, I mentioned to Bob a couple times that we should buy a picnic table swing for our back yard.  After a while it got chilly in the shade, so we moved to tables on the sunny deck.


Our next-to-last stop, on our way back home, was at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, NY.  I enjoyed watching the seagulls bobbing up and down on Lake Erie as well as flying overhead.

Seagull flying overhead at Barcelona Harbor

Off in the distance, along the beach, I spotted a waterfall.

Susan and I walked over to the waterfall and took a picture of each other at the waterfall.

Susan at Barcelona Harbor Waterfall


Our last stop was in Mayville, NY to fuel up.  From Mayville we rode straight home, arriving at our house around 7:00 pm.  What a wonderful day for a ride, the day made even better because we shared it with friends.


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