The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Great Blue Heron’

Ohio Vacation Day 4 (6/28/2021)

We walked down to the edge of the wetlands this morning. There was an adult bald eagle sitting in the snag on which we have seen one or two eagles often throughout the day, since our arrival on Friday afternoon. The lighting wasn’t good in that direction, so I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle. I did take pictures of a dragonfly and turtles.

Dragonfly at Wetlands at Airbnb
Turtles at Wetlands at Airbnb

It is hot and humid, even at 9:00 am. When I returned to the house, I was drenched in sweat from my neck up.

About an hour later, while sitting in the living room, I saw an osprey flying over the wetlands. Good thing I got my camera and went out on the deck. The osprey provided a bit of excitement, at least photographically.

An osprey flying over the Airbnb wetlands sees something of interest.
The osprey soared low in the sky over the Airbnb wetlands.
I lost the osprey shortly after I took this picture,
as it dove into the pond behind one of the buildings near the pond.

I stayed on the deck, camera in hand. Within seconds the osprey returned into view.

The osprey snagged a fish; a small bird gave chase.

Late morning/early afternoon we drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to the Ira Trailhead, and walked ¼ mile to Beaver Marsh. What a HOT and HUMID walk that was! We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. We saw a great blue heron, snapping turtle (no picture), red wing blackbird and tree swallows.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Great Blue Heron
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Red-Winged Blackbird

I captured a few pictures of tree swallows, as we spent the most time watching their acrobatic flight.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Two Tree Swallows

We returned to our rental Airbnb and ate lunch. I ate a picnic lunch indoors, and Bob ate Ramen Noodles that he found in the kitchen.

A storm rolled through around 5:00 pm.

It would have been very nice,
if this storm had taken the heat and humidity with it when it left.
That didn’t happen, though.

The temperature did drop 20 degrees, from 90 (with a heat index of 103) to 70. It didn’t take long, though, for the heat and humidity to return.

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.

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 7 – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

In my previous blog post I wrote that we returned to our rental AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, after lunch.

Around 3:00 pm we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove on the Wildlife Loop twice and took Beach Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Wildlife Loop – 14 Turtles on tuft of grass
Wildlife Loop – Great Blue Heron and Glossy Ibis
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Snowy Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center
Great Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center

Yes, we visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge several times during Chincoteague, VA vacations. Often we visit the refuge more than one time a day. The refuge is one of the main reasons we go to Chincoteague year after year.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 4

I got up for the day at 6:00 am.  Bob was already up and in the midst of making an egg and cheese bagel sandwich.  Bob said he got up around 5:00 am.  My breakfast was instant oatmeal and a banana.

Around 9:00 am Bob and I decided to go to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Bob walked to the refuge; I drove. 

Assateague Island National Seashore
It was a cloudy morning at the seashore, but so beautiful too.
Great Egret seen along Beach Rd, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

I picked up Bob, as he neared the Toms Cove Visitor Center. When I picked up Bob, he had walked 3.85 miles. 

We were back at our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, by 11:00 am. We ate lunch (leftover BBQ from the day before) and relaxed.

We returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge shortly after 3:00 pm.   We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and then down to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
One Great Blue Heron, Four Poses
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
Seven Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

Denise and Nic sure picked the right day to drive up here.  We saw lots of Chincoteague ponies yesterday.  We didn’t see any ponies today. 

We returned to our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, around 4:30 pm.  Bob grilled two rib eye steaks for our Easter dinner.  The steaks were accompanied by fried potatoes, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We ate dinner on our screened-in porch.  

We watched a couple TV series on Hulu this evening–“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Lark Rise to Candleford”. The second TV series, “Lark Rise to Candleford”, was suggested to us by Bob’s brother’s wife. That series, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress, is set in 19 century Oxfordshire. We are enjoying each episode. I enjoy the show so much that I am considering the purchase of a book of the same name.

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 6

On Day 6 of our vacation (Thursday, April 11th), after eating breakfast, we went to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove, rather than ride our bicycles.  It was a chilly and windy morning, with a temperature reading of 49 degrees.

We saw NINE wild horses in the lighthouse parking lot and watched as they walked down Beach Access Road to the Wildlife Loop. 

Wild Ponies in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Pony in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Ponies in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Ponies Walking Down the Beach Access Road Towards the Wildlife Loop

Wild Ponies Walking Along the Beach Access Road to the Wildlife Loop

There are 8 wild ponies in these two pictures; however, we saw a total of 9 ponies.

Wild Ponies Walking Toward the Wildlife Loop

One of 9 Wild Ponies Making its Way to the Wildlife Loop

This was the straggler, the 9th wild pony.

Seeing the horses was really cool.  We have always seen evidence that the horses have been on Beach Access Road, but had not seen them there before.

Before leaving the Wildlife Refuge, we visited the Assateague Lighthouse.

Assateauge Lighthouse

The Assateague Lighthouse stands 142 feet high.

After visiting the lighthouse, we returned to the warmth of our vacation home.  Bob turned on the heat for the first time since our arrival.  For the next few hours I washed, dried and folded two loads of laundry; we ate lunch (ready-made lasagna and cheesecake); and we relaxed, enjoying the peaceful setting of our Airbnb vacation home, Tranquil Shores.  

Around 3:00 pm we left for one more visit to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We drove around the Wildlife Loop three times.

Wildlife Loop Snake

Wildlife Loop Great Blue Heron

Wildlife Loop Cattle Egret

Wildlife Loop Turtle

Turtle Crossing the Road at Wildlife Loop

Wildlife Loop Little Blue Heron (adult)

We drove also to the beach and back, along Beach Access Road.  We were saying so long, until next time, to a place that we have grown to love.

Leaving the Wildlife Refuge, we picked up a 12-inch sub at Subway to share for dinner and went to Island Creamery for ice cream.  Yes!  We ate dessert first.

Returning to our vacation home around 5:00 pm we discovered piles of dirt had been placed in the deep holes (craters in some instances LOL) on the road to Tranquil Shores.  Thankfully a resident pulled in after us.  We didn’t know if we should drive on the grassy area to the right of the dirt piles (to go around them).  She told us it was okay.  According to the resident, the piles of dirt will be graded the next day.  I passed this information to our host, as I thought he might be interested.  Our host replied: “I’m so glad we finally have it getting done. Last winter was so hard on the road!  Corralling all the neighbors to pitch in was a project in and of itself!”  

TO BE CONTINUED

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.

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!

 

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