The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Osprey’

Allegany State Park, NY

Yesterday, Bob and I went for a drive just to get out of the house. We ended up Allegany State Park, near Salamanca NY. The park is about a 45-minute drive from our house. We make visit the park frequently throughout the year.

I dropped off Bob at the bicycle trail near the park gate.

Bob walked about 2 1/4 miles of the Robert C Hoag Bicycle Trail. The trail goes around Red House Lake.

The Robert C Hoag Bicycle Trail that winds through 5 miles in the Red House Area of the state’s largest state park was named in honor of the late Robert C. Hoag, former leader of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

After dropping off Bob, I drove to the Red House Wetland, where I hoped to see birds and waterfowl.

I passed by the welcome sign on my way to the wetland boardwalk.
This portion of the boardwalk ends at an observation deck.

I saw two ducks take off, as I approached the observation deck. Unfortunately I didn’t capture any photographs of the ducks in flight, as I didn’t have my camera ready for photography.

This is another part of the boardwalk.
See the bird blind in the distance?
This is where the boardwalk ends.

With the exception of the two flying ducks, I didn’t see another duck or any birds at the wetlands. However, I didn’t leave the wetlands empty handed …

Look what I found at the bird blind!
Where you live, do people leave painted rocks for others to find? I am supposed to hide this rock for someone else to find. I will hold onto the rock for a short while and admire it. Then I will leave it somewhere for someone else to find.

I picked up Bob shortly before he would have been making the turn around Red House Lake. We drove to the Quaker Run side of the park and observed osprey.

When we arrived, there was one osprey sitting on a pole.
I heard another osprey calling; so did the osprey.
The osprey flew over my head but circled back around.
The osprey stood briefly on the very top of a tree.

Meanwhile, the first osprey had flow to the nest. I missed photographing that flight, as my attention was on the second osprey.

The second osprey flew to the nest.
I hope to see baby osprey in the nest soon…
I wonder what the female osprey was saying to the male osprey.

A change of scenery does a soul good!

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.

Chincoteague Vacation: “Tranquil Shores”

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia in an Airbnb rental called “Tranquil Shores”.  Our host, Joseph, gave me permission to include details of his Airbnb in a blog post.  The complete listing for this AirBnB rental may be seen by clicking here.

Here is a Google Map picture of our Airbnb accommodation.

“Tranquil Shores”

“Tranquil Shores” is the right side of this duplex house.  We had use of that entire side of the duplex. The entrance to the home was via the wooden steps on the side of the house. We entered the door code, opened the door and we walked inside.  The entry door opens to the kitchen.

Eat-in Kitchen

The kitchen contains all the essentials of cooking and dining to include cookware, dinnerware, utensils, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, spices, and so much more.  We didn’t use it, but there was coffee grounds in the freezer for the coffeemaker.  We brought the tea kettle that you see in this picture.  We boiled water for hot tea and coffee.  Bob used an Aeropress to make coffee.

The kitchen and living room form a Great Room.

Living Room

There is access to a Screened Porch from the Living Room.

Screened Porch

The living room was comfortable, and we made frequent use of the screened porch.

In addition to the kitchen and living room, this Airbnb rental has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Two of the bedrooms (queen bed and twin bed) and one bathroom are located downstairs.  A washer and dryer are located in the downstairs bathroom.  The master bedroom (king bed) and second bathroom are located on the second floor.  There is access to a balcony from the master bedroom.  We made use of only the master bedroom.  The bed was very comfortable and provided for a good night’s sleep. Bed linens and towels are not provided in the rental cost. They are available, however, for an added fee of $10.00 per bed.  We saved $10.00 by bringing our own towels and bed linens.

 

Tranquil Shores, as seen from Maddox Blvd.

This AirBnB rental is located at the end of a quiet road.

This is the view of the road on which “Tranquil Shores” sits. The house is at the end of this road.

The rental cost was approximately $55.00 less than the cost of a King Bed with Balcony hotel room at Best Western Chincoteague, where we have stayed in past visits.  “Tranquil Shores” was a much nicer accommodation than staying in a room in a hotel!  We had lots more space, and we were able to eat in or eat out, as desired.  We ate breakfast and either lunch or dinner at home, during our stay.  Our view at “Tranquil Shores” was much, much better than at Best Western Chincoteague too.  At Best Western Chincoteague, if you booked a balcony room, your view was the McDonald’s Restaurant across the street.  Compare that view with the view from the screened porch and balcony of our Airbnb rental.

When I took this picture, I was standing at the edge of the property. The water seen in this picture is Eel Creek.

We enjoyed daily sunrises, sunsets and wildlife viewings, while at Tranquil Shores.

Snowy Egret on Eel Creek

Osprey flying over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunset at “Tranquil Shores”, as seen from back porch

Canada Geese on Eel Creek

Sunrise at “Tranquil Shores”

Tern Gull Flying Over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunrise, on the morning of our departure

I highly recommend “Tranquil Shores” to individual travelers, couples, and families.  You will be within a couple miles of downtown Chincoteague and Assateague Island where you can enjoy Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.  We brought our bicycles with us and enjoyed rides in the neighborhood, several rides at the wildlife refuge, as well as one ride from “Tranquil Shores” to the wildlife refuge.

Thank you, Joseph, for sharing your home with us.  We will return!

 

 

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.

A Saturday Drive: Lake Wilhelm

After lunch (see previous blog post), we drove to Maurice K. Goddard State Park. Specifically, we went to Lake Wilhelm in search of birds.

Our first stop was at Boat Launch No. 4 on the north side of the lake.  We saw several tree swallows and enjoyed watching their acrobatic twists and turns.  Of more interest at this boat launch, though, was the family whom we met.

Pastor Tim and his family

Tim is pastor for a small church in Meadville.  His family moved to that area a couple years ago.  What a very nice family!  We talked a little bit about Lake Wilhelm and our plans while there (looking for birds), as well as the Allegheny National Forest, near where Bob and I live.  Tim and his wife, Dana, expressed interest in visiting Kinzua Dam and points of interest in the Allegheny National Forest.  After I took this photograph of Pastor Tim and his family, we exchanged Facebook information.  Before we made it back home, we were friends on Facebook. We hope that our paths cross again one day!

Leaving Boat Launch No. 4 we turned left onto Lake Wilhelm Road, crossing a bridge over Lake Wilhelm.  At the end of the bridge, on the right, we stopped near a waterfowl observation area.

Lake Wilhelm Waterfowl Observation Platform

From this observation platform we saw a great blue heron, geese, a red-wing blackbird, an osprey and an eagle.

Osprey

I focused my attention on the osprey for some time, hoping that it would dive into the water and catch a fish.  I turned away briefly.  The osprey flew off!  I managed to capture a photograph of its tail feathers!

Osprey Tail Feathers

What held my attention the longest, though, was the eagle.

Eagle on a Nest

The eagle’s nest was WAY across the pond.  It did not move from the nest during our entire stay at the waterfowl viewing platform.

Leaving Lake Wilhelm Road we turned left onto Creek Road and drove along the southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  We stopped at the dam, where we once again enjoyed watching the acrobatic twists and turns of tree swallows.

Tree Swallows

***To be continued***

Sunday Drive: Sugar Bay on Allegheny Reservoir

Bob and I went for a drive this past Sunday (July 22).  We made four stops, while on our drive.  This blog post shares photographs from our first stop, which was at Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.

 

an Osprey on its nest

Nine Geese all in a Row

One Lone Deer on the Far Shore

The deer made a hasty retreat when Bob and I were joined by a man, woman and their dog.

This photograph shows the lovely view of Sugar Bay from our vantage point.

Easter Vacation: Mount Vernon

Bob and I spent the Easter weekend in Alexandria, Virginia. During our 3-night stay we spent time with family members and visited Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon. I uploaded photographs from our visit to Old Town Alexandria in yesterday’s blog post. Today’s blog post is about our visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate on Saturday, April 7th.

This was my second visit to Mount Vernon. My first visit was in September 1997. I attended a craft fair that year, and boy was it crowded! We beat the crowds this year, arriving at Mount Vernon at approximately 8:30AM. It was so nice to tour the Mansion in a small tour group. The Mansion has been restored to how it would have looked when Washington died in 1799. The guided tour was excellent in its presentation of factual data. I have no photographs inside the Mansion, as photography was not permitted.

The Mansion was home to George and Martha Washington.

Bob took this photograph of me, after our tour of the Mansion. I am looking at the Potomac River; the view was beautiful. The sun was not positioned well for a good picture of the view of the river from the Mansion, so I didn’t take a photograph of the Potomac River. You will notice that I am wearing a knee brace. I am scheduled for arthroscopic surgery later this month. I have been experiencing increasing pain in my knee since late last year. An MRI showed that I have two torn meniscus, bone spurs and arthritis in my right knee. The surgery is to repair the torn meniscus and to remove the bone spurs.

After touring the Mansion, we walked down to the Wharf stopping and seeing some of the sights along the way.

Washington’s Tomb holds the remains of George and Martha Washington, as well as other family members.

Entrance to Slave Burial Area

Slave Burial Area

Slave Burial Area

The Wharf is located on the shores of the Potomac River. Remember how close the Osprey nest was that we saw, while at Old Town Alexandria? We found an even closer Osprey nest at the Wharf!

Easter Vacation: Mount Vernon
Please click on image to enlarge.

This osprey nest is located right next to where a sightseeing cruise boat docks. The cruise boat was docked at the wharf, while these photographs were taken. If we had boarded the boat and walked to the upper deck, we would have been able to take a photograph of the three eggs that were inside the nest.

OH, and I almost forgot. The osprey wasn’t the only bird we saw, while at Mount Vernon. We saw an American Bald Eagle soaring above the Mansion. I didn’t have my long lens on the camera; wish I had!

Near the Wharf is the Pioneer Farmer Site.

A 16-sided barn is located at the Pioneer Farmer Site.
The barn kept wheat clean and safe from weather.

 

We rode a shuttle bus from the Wharf to near the Mansion.

We walked through the Upper Garden.

We then departed Mount Vernon.

This was our last view of the Mansion, as we departed Mount Vernon.

I recommend highly a visit to Mount Vernon, if you are in the Washington, D.C. area. Seeing Mount Vernon is well worth the $15.00 admission fee!

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