The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Great Blue Heron’

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.

East Syracuse NY to Mt. Morris NY

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.

We checked out of the Best Western East Syracuse, after breakfast, on Monday July 3, and were on our way home shortly before 8:00 am.

On our way to East Syracuse on Saturday, we stopped at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  We stopped at the wildlife refuge once again on our way back home. I am so glad that we visited Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I put my new camera lens to good use, as we drove around Wildlife Drive.

New camera lens, you ask?  I just realized that I hadn’t shared on my blog that I purchased a new camera lens.  I waited for well over 1-1/2 years to purchase this camera lens.  At first the camera lens wasn’t in stock.  Then I didn’t have the money available to purchase the lens.  Finally, everything came together to make the purchase.  I purchased an Olympus m.Zuiko ED 300mm f4.0 IS Pro lens, specifically for wildlife photography.  Coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter, I have an effective focal length of 840mm!  My new lens arrived on Friday, June 30, the day before we left on our weekend getaway.  I need to use the lens more to increase my proficiency in its use, but I am very pleased with the images that I captured at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Sandpiper
Osprey in Flight, with Seaweed Attached to its Claw
Are these birds American Coot?

The highlight of our visit to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge was the sighting of two American Bald Eagles.  One eagle flew off to parts unknown, but one eagle landed in a tree not far from where we were on Wildlife Drive.

Bob took this photograph of me, while photographing the eagle.

And to think I didn’t want a moon roof, when we were car shopping. I didn’t want to spend the extra money. The car on the lot that we liked came with a moon roof. I am glad that we got a moon roof, because it enabled me to capture a couple good photographs of the eagle!

American Bald Eagle
American Bald Eagle

My new camera lens is a keeper! These two eagle images are the best pictures I have ever taken of an eagle!

We sat and watched a group of Canada Geese farther along on Wildlife Drive.

Canada geese, quietly enjoying the pond

The quiet didn’t last for long!

Noisy Canada geese!
This duck had one of the Wildlife Drive ponds all to herself.
Great Blue Heron

We stopped once again to admire the newly installed eagle sculpture.

The eagle sculpture was built in honor of the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle reintroduction program, which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.
The eagle sculpture is visible from Interstate 90.

Leaving Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, we drove to Mt. Morris, NY.  We ate lunch at Brian’s USA Diner.  We selected this restaurant for lunch, based on its positive reviews. Yes, as stated by reviewers, the service was quick and friendly. Bob ordered a Reuben sandwich with Onion Rings. I ordered pulled chicken in a hoagie bun with potato salad. The restaurant reviews indicated that the portions were large. I agree. My pulled chicken hoagie sandwich was huge! My potato salad was heaped high in a small bowl. At first, Bob’s Reuben sandwich looked average size. He said, though, that there was lots of meat in his sandwich, so much meat that he could barely taste the dressing. Reviewers raved about the taste of the food. The food tasted okay, nothing really to boast about. Nothing to complain about either.

After lunch, we drove to nearby Letchworth State Park.  I will share details and photographs of Letchworth State Park in the next (and final) blog post I write about our East Syracuse NY weekend getaway.

Warren PA to East Syracuse NY

We departed home at 6:50 am, on July 1 (Saturday) en route the Syracuse NY area for a 2-night stay. It was thundering and raining, when we left home.

We ate breakfast in Frewsburg NY at Sally’s Deli & Catering.

On Saturday Sally’s has a breakfast buffet, beginning at 7:00 am. It was our first time there. I am glad that we chanced upon it, while looking for a place to eat. Sally’s is a tiny place, with a pleasant dining area. The breakfast selections that included scrambled eggs, bacon, corned beef and potatoes, potato casserole, sausage, French toast, pancakes, fruit, pastries and hot beverages were more than adequate. The food was delicious. We liked everything, with possibly the exception of the corned beef and potatoes. I am sure it was a personal taste issue in regard to the corned beef and potatoes.

The rain stopped, while we were eating breakfast. We caught up with the rain again a short ways west of the Friendship/Boliver exit on Interstate 86.  We drove in and out of rain rest of the way to Syracuse. For the most part, the rain didn’t last long.

Our next stop, after breakfast, was in the village of Honeoye Falls. The small village of Honeoye Falls is located approximately fifteen miles southeast of Rochester, NY.  The village includes a small waterfall on Honeoye Creek, which flows through the village and gives it its name.

Honeoye Falls, NY

This was our first time in Honeoye Falls. How we missed knowing about this village is beyond me. We have been within a few miles of the village many times over the past 19 years. Now that we know of its existence and how picturesque the village is, I am sure we will make a return trip to Honeoye Falls sometime in the future.

We stopped for lunch at the Clifton Springs Travel Plaza on Interstate 90. Our lunch at Burger King (a Whooper with Cheese meal and a Junior Whooper with Cheese meal) was much more expensive than the cost at home! I should have planned this trip better and brought along food for picnic-style lunches.

Before stopping for lunch a couple accidents had slowed traffic on Interstate 90. Interstate traffic was moving well, after lunch.

Around 1:00 pm we stopped at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We saw lots of geese, a few great blue herons, and several ducks.

Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Close-up Picture of Canada Goose
Duck Family

It thundered and rained about halfway around the 3.5 mile Wildlife Drive. We stopped near the end of the drive and waited out the rain. Near the end of Wildlife Drive is a new viewing platform and eagle monument.  It stopped raining momentarily, and I snapped a picture of the new structures.

New Viewing Platform and Eagle Monument

The eagle monument was built In honor of the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle reintroduction program, which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Soon it began to rain again.

We departed Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge around 2:00 pm. We were notified a few times of severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings, soon after departing the refuge.  The rain and wind were pretty wild, as we made our way east!

We stopped at an indoor flea market, located in Elbridge NY along NY Route 5. We shopped, while waiting for the storm to get ahead of us. There was a nice selection of merchandise, reasonably priced. I came out of the store empty handed, though.  The stop served its purpose, as the storm did get ahead of us.

Storm Chasing

The white building seen in the photograph displayed above is the Inn Between Restaurant, located in Camillus NY.  The restaurant provided an excellent contrast against the dark sky.

We checked into Best Western Plus East Syracuse around 3:30 pm. Our room number was 225.  We turned off the air conditioning soon after entering the room. The room stayed comfortably cool throughout rest of the afternoon and evening. Our room was comfortable, but small.  The walking space between the furniture was narrow.  The bathroom was of moderate size. Our room included a microwave, refrigerator and single-serve coffee maker. There were both tea bags and coffee in the room for the preparation of hot beverages. In my experience tea bags aren’t always provided, along with coffee.  There is a beverage station in the lobby, too, where hot beverages may be obtained. I read that the hotel was recently renovated. Our room appeared to be fairly new. We spent 2 nights here, using reward points as payment.

We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s, located within walking distance of hotel. We took the car, though, in case it rained. It didn’t rain. We both ordered chicken entrees, with the garden salad bar.

Rather than order dessert at Ruby Tuesday’s, we went to a nearby Dairy Queen and ordered small blizzards.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Rite Aid and picked up beverages and snacks. It was around 6:00 pm, when we made it back to the hotel. We stayed in for rest of the night.

Please check back later.  I will be sharing additional blog posts about our East Syracuse NY Weekend Getaway in the near future.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Visit (Day 1 of 2)

We spent two nights (April 14-16) at the Clarion Inn, located in Hudson, OH.   We stayed at this hotel one time before for one night, a couple years ago, while en route Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  During that stay, we noted that the hotel was in close proximity to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  When we decided to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park this past weekend, we chose to stay at Clarion Inn.

We left our home in Warren PA around 5:30 am en route Ohio.

We ate breakfast at Richard’s Family Restaurant in Youngsville, PA. We ordered omelets with toast (rye for Bob; wheat for me), one order of home fries to share and coffee for Bob / tea for me. Bob had eaten breakfast there before. I hadn’t. Breakfast was delicious and filling. We were back on the road again shortly after 6:30 am.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio.  The 32,950-acre park can easily be divided into three regions: North Valley, Central Valley and South Valley.

We arrived in the North Valley region of Cuyahoga Valley National Park at approximately 9:45 am.  In particular, our arrival point in the park was at the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation. This was our first visit to the North Valley region of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We discovered there were many points of interest in this region.

Our first stop was at Bridal Veil Falls.  We parked at the trail head and walked across Gorge Parkway. It was a short descent from the road via boardwalk and steps to a platform that overlooks the falls.

Boardwalk and stairs to Bridal Veil Falls Overlook

Once you reach the bottom of the boardwalk and stairs, a bridge crosses over the creek.

The waterfall observation platform is visible from the bridge that crosses over the creek.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bob and I at Bridal Veil Falls

Our second stop was at Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook. The viewing area is located next to the parking lot.

Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook

This overlook provides a panoramic view of the valley from the rim of the gorge. The view would be spectacular in the Autumn.  The lighting was particularly good, so this was the only photograph that I took during this stop.  We did return to this overlook, and I have a photograph of the view later on in this blog post.

Our third stop was at Willis Picnic Area, which we mistakenly thought was Viaduct Park. The two areas are next to each other. There are several points of interest at Viaduct Park, and we were not finding any of those points of interest. One point of interest was Great Falls. We could hear rushing water, but couldn’t see the waterfall.

Willis Picnic Area

We saw a sign at Willis Picnic area that read “trail closed”. It looked like high winds had passed through the picnic area at some point in time, and the downed trees and branches had not been cleaned up. Behind the picnic pavilion we found a “trail” that looked like it led to the bottom of the gorge. Bob hiked down that trail, and it did lead to the bottom of the gorge. Bob didn’t find a waterfall. He found a tunnel, through which Tinkers Creek flows.  We later saw the other side of the tunnel at Viaduct Park.

Willis Picnic Area Trail to Tinkers Creek

If you look closely, you will see Bob making his way back up the trail.  I am glad that I didn’t attempt to hike down that trail. Bob said he had some trouble navigating the trail.

Our fourth stop was at Viaduct Park. This small park features a very nice waterfall, view of a large viaduct, and information signs dotting the trail as you walk through the park.  The parking lot is at street level.  When we visited the park, we had to drive over a curb to reach the parking lot.  From the parking lot there is a paved trail that descends down to Tinkers Creek, where the Great Falls of Tinkers Creek can be viewed from an observation platform.  We spent about an hour exploring Viaduct Park.

The Viaduct

The Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad stone viaduct across Tinkers Creek Gorge was completed in 1864.  It replaced the original wooden truss bridge, which opened in 1852.  The viaduct is 225 feet long and towers 120 feet above Tinkers Creek.

The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek

I love this picture of me that Bob took at The Great Falls.

Here is a short video of The Great Falls.

Remember earlier I mentioned that Bob hiked down to Tinkers Creek from the Willis Picnic Area?  He saw a tunnel there, through which Tinkers Creek flowed.  Here is the other end of that tunnel, which is called The Arch.

The Arch

The Arch was built between 1901-02.  Its purpose is to control the flower of Tinkers Creek, while providing a base for the railroad above.  The Arch is 512 feet long, with a 20 degree turn inside.  The openings are 40 feet wide and 32 feet high.

Our fifth and last stop at Bedford Reservation was a second stop at Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook. As I mentioned earlier the lighting was better than it was during our first stop.

Again, this is Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook.

If you walk to the end of the overlook, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the valley from the rim of the gorge.

View from Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook

Leaving the overlook, we continued on Gorge Parkway to Dunham Road. We turned right onto Dunham Road, crossed over Tinkers Creek, and turned left onto Tinkers Creek Road. We followed Tinkers Creek Road to its terminus, at which time we turned left onto Canal Road. About this time we decided it was time for lunch. We were hungry, which was understandable. We ate breakfast around 6:00 am, and it was after 1:00 pm.

We ate lunch at Joe’s Family Restaurant in Northfield, OH. The salad bar and soup were excellent. Service was excellent. Our main entrees (meatloaf for me, boneless pork chops for Bob) were piping hot and delicious. Our side dishes were not so great. My mashed potatoes and our mixed vegetables were lukewarm. Our waitress did bring me a new dish of mashed potatoes, which were piping hot. I am surprised she didn’t do the same with the mixed vegetables. Perhaps she didn’t hear me, when I said that the mixed vegetables were also lukewarm.

After lunch we drove back to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in particular to the South Valley region. We stopped at Beaver Marsh. It was a short walk from the parking lot, along a tow path, to an observation platform. We saw wood ducks, geese, tree swallows and lots of turtles. Bob saw a muskrat, briefly.

Wood Ducks at Beaver Marsh

One of several turtles at Beaver Marsh

Goose Sitting on Nest

Tree Swallows

From the Beaver Marsh we drove to the Great Blue Heron Viewing Area.

One of two trees making up the Great Blue Heron Rookery

Great Blue Heron

We didn’t stay long at the Great Blue Heron Viewing Area, as there wasn’t much activity at the heron rookery.

We checked into the Clarion Inn around 5:30 pm. We spent rest of the day in our room. We had picked up a few grocery items, after lunch, so we were able to eat a picnic-style dinner in our room.

**TO BE CONTINUED**

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!

 

Ohio Day Trip

I was sick this past Thursday.  I had, I think, a 24-hour stomach bug. It was a sure sign that I still was not feeling 100% on Friday when I called off a planned overnight trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. We would have left at noon on Friday.

On Saturday Bob and I awakened around 2:00 am, wide awake.  Within a short time we decided to make a day trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. We were en route Cuyahoga Valley State Park at 3:20 am, after a fuel stop at Sheetz in Warren. Following GPS we drove through Titusville PA to I-80. Bob stopped for coffee at Sheetz in Titusville. He wanted to pick up coffee during the fuel stop in Warren, but his preferred flavor, Breakfast Blend, was still brewing.

We stopped around 5:30 am for breakfast at Denny’s in Hubbard, OH. After a filling breakfast, we were back on the road again by 6:10 am. By the way two scrambled eggs, two bacon slices and two pancakes were too much food for me. I ate the eggs and the bacon but only ate half of one pancake. Bob ate a big breakfast…a Philly Steak Omelette, hash browns and toast.

The waxing gibbous moon was visible most of the way to Ohio. The moon was bright and about 80% full. There was one place along the route that the moon was directly in front of us, as we crested a small incline. The view took my breath away!

We arrived at the great blue heron viewing area in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (on Bath Road) shortly before sunrise. It was much too cloudy for a proper sunrise. We saw lots of herons at the rookery. There wasn’t enough light for good pictures.  I took several photographs anyway.  I was not happy with those pictures, so I will not share them in this post.

 

From the great blue heron rookery we drove several miles north in the park to Brandywine Falls. The cloudy morning was beneficial for waterfall pictures.

Brandywine Falls is 65 feet high; it is one of Ohio’s highest waterfalls.

A boardwalk takes you to upper and lower observation platform.

Brandywine Falls, as seen from the lower observation platform

 

From Brandywine Falls we drove even farther north and out of the park. We drove to Chagrin Falls. From either side of the river there is a boardwalk that leads down to an observation platform from which to see the Chagrin Falls waterfall.

A boardwalk leads down to an observation platform.

Bob and I at Chagrin Falls waterfall

 

 

After photographing the waterfall, we climbed back up to Main Street. We went inside the Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop, where Bob enjoyed a cup of Espresso and I enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa. I haven’t mentioned the weather yet, except to say it was a cloudy day. It was a chilly day, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. In addition to our drink purchases, we also bought two large popcorn bunnies, a purple one for Harper and a pink one for June.

We celebrated Easter with our granddaughters a week early.
Harper and June liked their popcorn bunnies!

 

From Chagrin Falls we returned to the great blue heron viewing area in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The lighting was a little bit better compared to earlier in the morning. I took several pictures, of which I will share three.

There was constant movement at the Great Blue Heron rookery.
One or more herons would leave the nest in search of nesting material.

I watched this Great Blue Heron for several minutes.
He would pick up a branch, shake it a little and then drop it.
He repeated this task several times, until he found the perfect branch for the nest.

Great Blue Heron returning to rookery with nesting material
He would give the nesting material to his mate,
who would place it in the nest making adjustments as necessary.

It is my opinion that late afternoon and possibly early evening light would make for much better pictures at the rookery, after photographing there at sunrise and at late morning on this trip and in the early afternoon during a Spring 2013 trip.

From the rookery we drove the short distance to Beaver Marsh, where we took a short walk along a tow path.

Tow Path at Beaver Marsh

The park’s description for the Beaver Marsh says to “look for beavers, otters, muskrats, and waterfowl along the wetland boardwalk”. We didn’t see any beavers, otters or muskrats. We did, however, see a pair of Canadian Geese.

Beaver Marsh Canadian Geese

From Beaver Marsh we started the drive back home. At 1:15 pm we ate lunch at Thano’s Family Restaurant in Canfield, OH. We both ordered hamburger dinner entrees. Lunch was good but, again, I couldn’t finish my meal. Bob ate half of my Western Burger, and I left behind most of my French Fries.

Leaving Thano’s we drove by Lanternman’s Mill in Millcreek Park, but we didn’t stop. We followed U.S. 62 partway through Youngstown. Right before downtown the exit to U.S. 62 was closed for construction, and we got dumped into the downtown area. Thankfully it wasn’t busy downtown. We found our way onto I-80 and followed that route until Mercer, at which time we got back onto U.S. Route 62.

We returned home around 4:45 pm. It was a very long but great day. I am happy that I felt well enough to make the trip and am thankful that Bob wanted to go, too, and that he was willing to do all the driving.

Ohio Day Trip: Beaver Marsh and Heron Rookery

Bob and I went on a day trip to Ohio this past Saturday (April 6).  We saw three waterfalls, a covered bridge and a few birds.  In my previous blog posts I shared photographs of Brandywine Falls and the Everett Road Covered Bridge, both of which are located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We made two other stops, while in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We went for a walk at Beaver Marsh and visited the heron rookery along Bath Road.

The park’s description for the Beaver Marsh says to “look for beavers, otters, muskrats, and waterfowl along the wetland boardwalk”.  We didn’t see any beavers, otters or muskrats.  We did, however, see a Cardinal, a Red-Winged Blackbird, several Tree Swallows, ducks and a goose.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Wing Blackbird, in flight

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

When I see a goose, I usually see a pair of geese.  This goose was by itself.

We met a very nice girl, by the name of Cheryl, at Beaver Marsh.  We arrived at Beaver Marsh at about the same time, walking to the boardwalk together.  I asked Cheryl if she was familiar with the park and learned that she is a regular visitor to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  I then asked directions to the heron rookery .. take a left out of the parking lot, go to the light and make a left onto Bath Road.  You can’t miss it.  By the way, if Cheryl hadn’t called my attention to the Red-Winged Blackbird shown in the first photograph that I shared, I would have missed seeing it.  Before we parted ways, I asked Cheryl if she had a card.  She did (I should carry my card with me more often!).  When you have a chance, check out Cheryl’s nature photographs, itscherylsnature, on Smugmug.

From the Beaver Marsh we drove to the heron rookery on Bath Road, per Cheryl’s instructions.  She’s right.  We couldn’t miss it.  Cars were lined up along the side of the street.

Great Blue Heron Rookery

his is one of several trees in which the great blue herons built nests.

We arrived at the heron rookery around 12:30 PM.  The afternoon sun was harsh.  I would like to return to Cuyahoga Valley National Park next Spring and visit the heron rookery during the early morning hours.  I am positive that I would be much happier with the results of my photography during those hours than in the afternoon!

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