The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Ducks’

Ohio Vacation Day 7 – Waterfall and Ducks

We ate lunch at Fisher’s Cafe & Pub in Peninsula. We ate at Fisher’s earlier in the week. The food and service was good, so we made a return trip. We weren’t disappointed eating here again.

After lunch we drove to Viaduct Park, located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Bedford Reservation. In Viaduct Park is a waterfall–the Great Falls of Tinkers Creek. Going to the waterfall was the reason for the drive to Viaduct Park.

Great Falls of Tinkers Creek

This morning, before leaving for the Akron Zoo, we saw a couple Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks in the wetlands.

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Back at the Airbnb later in the day we once again saw two Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks. I took a close-up picture of one of the ducks.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

It is rare to see these ducks so far north. Our Airbnb hosts said it was the first time they had seen a Black-Bellied Whistling Duck in their pond. We were thrilled to see these ducks and to have the opportunity to photograph them!

The next day (July 2nd) Bob got up at 5:00 am. I got up an hour later. We packed, got showered and dressed, and said goodbye to Deborah (John was on a grocery run). We were on our way home at 7:20 am. By the way we didn’t see any Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks before our departure.

Our first stop was for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant in nearby Streetsboro, OH. After a filling breakfast, we were back on the road at 8:15 am.

We returned home around 11:40 am.

We had a wonderful vacation! We look forward to visiting Hudson, OH again and staying (hopefully) at the same Airbnb.

Pymatuning Day Trip

This past Saturday (June 19th) Bob suggested that we drive to Pymatuning State Park. A change of scenery appealed to me.

The highlight of our visit to Pymatuning was seeing the Pymatuning Dam and the area near the dam.

Pymatuning State Park Dam and its Environ

Pymatuning Dam is located at the southern end of Pymatuning Reservoir. We have visited Pymatuning several times. This was our first visit to the dam and its surrounding area.

Our first stop was at Shenango River. We crossed over Pymatuning Dam via Dam Road. We turned right onto Water Trail Drive, which led us to the Shenango River.

Pymatuning State Park – Shenango River
We saw this great blue heron on the opposite side of the river.
We noticed a trail that appeared close to where the heron was located.
We walked over the pedestrian bridge to reach Sugar Creek Run Trail.
It was a short walk to where the great blue heron was perched.
I managed to capture this picture, through the foliage,
before the great blue heron took off.

Our second stop was on the reservoir side of the dam. We backtracked and drove back over the dam. We pulled into the parking lot for pavilion shelter #3.

Pymatuning State Park
the Dam Gatehouse, as seen from Pavilion Shelter #3 grounds

We, then, drove back across the dam but only half way. We parked across from the Dam Gatehouse.

Pymatuning State Park – Dam Gatehouse

According to signage at the site, the “castle-like stone gatehouse allows water flow through the dam. Water enters the gatehouse through a 20-foot-wide diversion channel and travels 280 feet to the outflow conduits.”

Entry to the Dam Gatehouse was barred.
Dam Gatehouse

We walked back across Dam Road and visited the outflow area.

Pymatuning Dam Outflow
Pymatuning Dam Outflow.
We walked down two staircases to get closer to the outflow.

The Pymatuning Dam Outflow forms the Shenango River.

Leaving Pymatuning Dam and its environ our next stop was at the Linesville Spillway, where we saw lots of carp, ducks and geese.

The Geese, Ducks and Carp are fed bread at the spillway.
Pymatuning State Park – the Spillway
You can’t see the Spillway in this picture. We are walking toward the Spillway.
Geese, Ducks and Carp at Pymatuning Spillway
The Spillway, which you can’t see, is behind us.
We are walking back to our car.

It is said that ducks walk on carp at the Spillway, but we didn’t see that.

Leaving Pymatuning State Park in our rearview mirror, our next stop was for lunch in Spartansburg. We ate lunch at the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

This is the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

Bob had an egg sandwich with French fries and coleslaw. I had a BLT sandwich with French fries and applesauce. Our meals were delicious. Service was OK. It would have been better, if Bob had gotten the lunch he ordered–a steak salad. Bob should have been tipped off, when the waitress asked if Bob wanted coleslaw. A salad has a coleslaw side??? I did notice that the waitress was hard of hearing AND she was tired–overworked from lack of help. Bob decided to let it go. He saved $8.00 on our lunch price. The egg salad sandwich was a lot less expensive than the steak salad.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to Clear Lake.

On our way to Clear Lake we saw a white goose.
We checked out Clear Lake from a small bridge that crosses over the lake.

We returned home, after lunch. It was a good day, even with the rain that came in the afternoon.

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!

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 4

Late in the morning we rode our bicycles in the neighborhood to Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

Veteran’s Memorial Park sits along the Assateague Channel

Our round trip ride was 5 miles.

We ate lunch at McDonald’s and then drove onto the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, stopping for photo opportunities along Beach Access Road.  We saw wild ponies in the marsh, closer than we have seen them in past years.  There were wild ponies in the pony corral, too, near the Woodland Trail.

According to a delmava now news story, published on April 1st, “Chincoteague pony stallion Riptide and his band were penned in the south corral on Assateague Island after visitors to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge disregarded warnings not to approach the wild ponies…The ponies will remain in the corral until the spring roundup April 12 and 13”.

We saw great blue herons, egrets and wood ducks.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Pair of Hooded Mergansers (Thanks EileeninMD for ID)

We spent a couple hours at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, before returning to our vacation home.  We relaxed for a couple hours.

We returned to the Wildlife Refuge around 4:30 pm.  We went for a drive around the Wildlife Loop.  We saw birds, a fox, Sika deer, egrets, turtles, snapping turtles and a muskrat.

Red-Wing Blackbird

Mama Fox

Mama Fox – What a face!

Mama Fox

Two Egrets

I love the reflections!

Two Egrets, a Great Egret taking flight

Three Egrets, a Snowy Egret in flight

Snowy Egret

 

Muskrat

Snapping Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two Snapping Turtles Mating

Leaving the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after an approximately 45-minute visit, we drove to Food Lion and picked up dinners for three nights (through Thursday).  Our purchases included three ready-made salads and three Culinevo ready-made dinner entrees–lasagna, beef stew and beef and noodles.  All dinner entrees are microwaveable. We shared a Chef Salad and the beef stew for dinner.  For dessert we had cheesecake.

We watched a few more episodes of NYPD Blue and went to bed.

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

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.  We spent much of our second vacation day at the NASA Wallops Visitor Center and exploring the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

On Saturday, March 26th, we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore at 6:00 am to watch the sun rise at 6:55 am.

Assateague Island Sunrise

While on our way back to the hotel from the seashore, we made a couple stops along Beach Access Road.  Our first stop was at Little Toms Cove.

The Assateague Lighthouse is visible across from Little Toms Cove.
We opted not to walk the Assateague Lighthouse trail this year.

We saw Northern Shoveler Ducks on Friday.
We were rewarded with their presence again on Saturday.

 

We saw ponies at our second stop on Beach Access Road.

Chincoteague Wild Pony

Back at the hotel we ate breakfast in our hotel room, as it was quite crowded in the breakfast room and too chilly to sit on the outside patio.

After breakfast we drove into the town of Chincoteague. At the draw bridge we turned right onto Main Street and followed it to the end, where there was a turn around.  We made three stops on Main Street.

Our first stop was at the Captain Timothy Hill House.

Captain Timothy Hill House (c. 1800)
Oldest house on Chincoteague Island

The Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest house on Chincoteague Island.  We were not able to tour the house interior, as the house was closed for the season.

Our second stop was at a house with a miniature replica of itself built beside a mailbox.

A house and its miniature replica

Our third stop was at a yard sale, where I picked up the game Connect and four bags of small plastic toys for our granddaughters.

We made our way back to the traffic light at the draw bridge. We crossed over VA 175 and drove into downtown Chincoteague on Main Street. We were soon stopped by runners.

Runners on Main Street

 

A search on Facebook revealed that Saturday was the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  All proceeds from this event support the Chincoteague YMCA financial assistance program.  We did continue our drive on Main Street, slowly, encountering runners all the way and on the return trip.

Chincoteague Island docked boat

The Chincoteague Channel runs alongside Main Street.  This boat was docked near where we turned around to return to downtown Chincoteague.  I applied a texture effect to the original photograph and love the result.

An Easter egg hunt followed the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  Upon our return to downtown Chincoteague, we parked across from the Robert Reed Park. We walked over to the park and watched the Easter egg hunt.

Here comes the Easter bunny.

The Easter bunny posed for lots of pictures.

On your mark, get set and GO!

Some children picked up Easter eggs near them,
while others ran to pick up the eggs the farthest away.

Easter Egg Hunt

After the Easter egg hunt we made a return trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The highlight of that trip was a great blue heron.

Great Blue Heron

I watched this great blue heron for about 30 minutes.  The only movement the heron made, during that time, was to stretch its neck!

Later in the morning we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We parked at the Wildlife Loop and walked the ½ mile Marsh Trail.

Marsh Trail Scene

Marsh Trail Scene

Marsh Trail Scene
The overlook was our destination.

Marsh Trail Scene

I am standing on the overlook.
You can see Marsh Trail, leading up to the overlook.

After walking the Marsh Trail, we drove along Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  A Chincoteague wild pony was closer to the Beach Access Road than it had been all weekend.

Chincoteague Wild Pony

 

It was very clear along the Assateague Island National Seashore, a big difference from Friday’s foggy scene.

Assateague Island National Seashore

After leaving the seashore, we stopped opposite Little Toms Cove.

My best photograph of the Northern Shoveler Duck!

These wading birds were fun to watch!

UPDATE 4/1/2016: 
I emailed Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for help in identifying the birds in these two photographs.  The top photograph “features a greater yellow legs on the left and that bird is transitioning to breeding plumage. The other two birds are also yellow legs, but probably lesser. The bottom photograph “Few birds. Foreground is another lesser yellow legs. Far right is a long billed dowitcher. Smaller birds are dunlin and the other larger birds middle and left are short billed dowitcher.”  Thank you, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, for identifying these birds!

Farther along Beach Access Road we spotted a Kingfisher, a first for both of us.

Belted Kingfisher

We ate a late lunch about 20 miles from Chincoteague Island at Metompkin Seafood Market.

Metompkin Seafood Market

We found this seafood market by asking Siri, iPhone’s virtual assistant, where to find a good place to eat near Wallops Island.  Siri made an excellent choice.

You place your order here, either for fresh seafood or for fried seafood.

The menu is behind the counter, but it is located outside on the patio wall as well.  While looking at the outside menu, a woman walked by and remarked “Order one of everything.  Everything is good.”

Fresh Seafood

We both ordered fried seafood platters.  We waited 15-20 minutes, I believe, for our meals.  It was standing room only inside that tiny shack!  We struck up a conversation with a local man, who has been coming to Metompkin Seafood for 10+ years.  He told us everything on the menu is good.  We ate our meals on the patio outside.  The man with whom we struck up a conversation inside joined us outside at our table.  The conversation was pleasant, and our meals were very filling and tasted great!  We would definitely make a return trip to Metompkin Seafood Market!

Returning to Chincoteague Island, we made another trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was after 3:00 pm, so it was possible once again to drive the car around the Wildlife Loop. We actually drove the loop two times. I am happy that we decided to drive twice around the Wildlife Loop, as we saw a deer the second time around.

Wildlife Loop Deer

As we approached the deer, a car was in front of us stopped on Wildlife Loop looking at the deer.  The deer turned around and went back into the weeds.  The stopped car moved on.  We slowly approached the place where the deer had been.  Bob pulled off the road and turned off the engine.  I got out of the car, standing behind the hood.  We waited for a few minutes.  The deer popped its head out and quickly pranced across the road.  It really wanted to get to the other side!

Before returning to the hotel we drove to the Island Creamery for dessert.

the Island Creamery

The Island Creamery, which sells homemade ice cream, is a popular place. It was busy, but the line moved faster than we expected.

 

Bob ordered 2 scoops of Java Jolt ice cream; I ordered one scoop of Marsh Mud ice cream and one scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Delicious! I wouldn’t have ordered the Marsh Mud ice cream, if it hadn’t been recommended to me by a couple in line behind us. They told us, when that ice cream was first made, it was made incorrectly. However, everyone liked that ice cream, so they kept making it the wrong way.

We returned to our hotel, the Best Western Chincoteague, around 5:00 pm. I noticed that the hotel cleaning woman had placed an Easter chocolate on each of our pillows.  What a nice touch!

We checked out of the hotel at 5:00 am on Easter Sunday and began our drive back home. Our ETA was 12:53 pm.   We made a few stops on the way home, the longest stop being at Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown MD.  We stopped there for breakfast.  We both ordered the Sunrise Sampler.  We returned home around 2:30 pm.

We are talking already about our next vacation in Chincoteague!

 

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.

On Friday, March 25th, we ate breakfast around 6:30 am at the hotel. Our complimentary breakfast selections included scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, a variety of breads and bagels, cold and hot cereals, a variety of hot and cold beverages, waffles, and pastries. After breakfast we returned to our room and enjoyed a second cup of tea/coffee, while sitting on our third floor balcony. The rain, which was in Friday’s forecast, had not yet started. It was a breezy 57 degrees. I was comfortable sitting outside, with a fleece jacket on.

A little later in the morning we drove the 12 miles to Route U.S. Route 13 for gas at the Exxon station. When we reached the U.S. Route 13-Chincoteague Road intersection the night before, the fuel station had just closed for the day. Bob wanted to get gas there to earn Plenti points. There is a Food Lion store next door to the Exxon station. We made a quick stop there to pick up a few grocery items. We returned to the hotel to drop off our purchases. Soon afterward we left the hotel and drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island.  The Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel is very close to the wildlife refuge, less than 1 mile away from the gate.

There is an admission fee charged to enter Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, unless you are on foot or bicycle. Daily admission costs $8.00 per vehicle. A weekly pass costs $15.00. We purchased the weekly pass, as we planned to visit the wildlife refuge on Saturday as well. When I am 62 years old, in 2 more years, I will be eligible to purchase a lifetime national park pass for $10.00. That pass will be a worthwhile purchase!

We followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

We saw a fawn soon after passing through the wildlife refuge gate. I missed the shot, as I didn’t have the camera ready to shoot.  It was a windy and rainy morning; the lighting poor.

Seagull at Assateague Island National Seashore

Northern Shoveler alongside Beach Access Road, across from Little Toms Cove

We returned to our hotel, when the rain began to fall so hard that it was difficult to see anything.

Late morning we visited the NASA Visitor Center, which is located on Wallops Island about 5 miles from the Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel. According to its About Us webpage, the visitor center “features exhibits about aeronautics, orbital and sub-orbital rockets, scientific balloons, current missions, and the history of Wallops Flight Facility. In addition to exhibits, the Visitor Center also features an auditorium, a Science on the Sphere Theater, an observation deck, as well as numerous free public programs, events, and group tours of the facility. The Visitor Center also serves as the viewing site for rockets that launch from Wallops Island. Located inside the Visitor Center, the Gift Shop, open seasonally, offers models, patches, games, clothing and a variety of NASA souvenirs.”  The outside grounds has rockets and aircraft used for space and aeronautical research including a full-scale four stage reentry vehicle used to study the earth’s atmosphere.  I took several photographs, while at the visitor center.

The Nike-Cajun sounding rocket
is able to carry a 77-pound payload to a height
of about 90 miles and has been used at Wallops
since 1956.

Four-stage Reentry Vehicles were used to study phenomena
associated with high speed reentry
through the Earth’s atmosphere including
radio transmissions during reentry conditions.

Space suit seen inside auditorium

In the auditorium we watched an informative 20-minute film about the space mission.

Bob took this picture of me wearing a space suit.

This is the view from the observation deck.

This rocket was visible from the observation deck.
A much better picture was possible from the ground.
Little Joe was used to test the Mercury Spacecraft prior to manned light.
Monkeys Sam and Miss Sam were launched from Wallops
utilizing this rocket vehicle.

We walked behind the Visitor Center and found three more exhibits.

This rocket was not identified.
Bob said to say it was a UFO.

The Astrobee F, a solid-propellant sounding rocket first launched from Wallops Island in 1972,
could lift a 200-pound payload to about 260 miles altitude.

The Aerobee 150, a liquid-propellant sounding rocket with a six-foot solid-propellant booster,
was used from 1955 to 1985.  It could lift a 150-pound payload to 160 miles altitude.

After visiting the NASA Visitor Center, we ate lunch at Royal Farms.  Royal Farms is a privately owned chain of gas station/convenience stores headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The store is very reminiscent of Sheetz, a gas station/convenience store with which we are familiar.

After lunch, on our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we stopped briefly at the Public Landing at Queen Sound located on Wallops Island alongside VA 175.  Two seagulls were vying for my attention.

We soon made our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We followed Beach Access Road, once again, to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Friday’s weather was quite changeable…heavy rain, thunder and lightning to heavy fog to sunshine with temperatures in the upper 70s. I have never seen fog such as in these two photographs, while at the seashore.

Everyone still had fun!

 

We turned around at the seashore and was again driving along Beach Access Road.

We watched this egret for quite some time alongside Beach Access Road.  The egret sat in this tree for a long time.  All of a sudden, the egret flew to the water below.  I missed photographing the short flight.  We watched several more minutes, while the egret fished.

Egret fishing

Our next stop was the Woodland Trail.  It was shocking to see how much the area had changed from when we walked the trail in past years.  There were so many dead and fallen trees that the area looked barren. An Internet search revealed that this area suffered from a southern pine beetle infestation that killed many trees this past fall.

 

We saw this pair of Vultures, soon after beginning our walk on the Woodland Trail.

The Woodland Trial is one of the best places to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague.  You have to walk about a half mile into the trail to get to the observation platform from which you can see the ponies.  There are signs marking the way to the pony viewing so you can’t miss it.  We saw several wild ponies grazing off in the distance.

Chincoteague Wild Ponies

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Wildlife Loop, which opens to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  While driving around the loop, we saw an egret, a pair of Mallard Ducks, and a pair of Canadian Geese.

Wildlife Loop wildlife

We, then, returned to hotel and relaxed for about 1 1/2 hours, until 5:00 pm.

We ate dinner at the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, conveniently located next door to our hotel. This was our first meal besides Sheetz-like sandwich wraps and fast food burgers that we ate since leaving home on Thursday at 12:30 pm. Bob ordered a prime rib dinner. I ordered a meat loaf dinner. We each ordered dessert too. Bob had a slice of coconut cake, and I had a slice of chocolate cake. Service was excellent, and dinner was delicious.

We returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after dinner. We drove the Wildlife Loop once again. Then we followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  I watched the ocean waves for a time, while waiting for sunset.

Assateague Island National Seashore

We watched the sunset from the boardwalk Toms Cove Visitor Center.

Toms Cove Visitor Center

Sunset across Little Toms Cove

Sunset across Little Toms Cove

At 7:30 pm we returned to our hotel, where we stayed for rest of the night.

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