The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Swans’

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 4 – Back in Virginia

We relaxed at Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental, for a couple hours upon our return from Maryland.

In the afternoon we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove, where we turned around.  We had a few photo opportunities along the way.

a Great Egret and a Cormorant Sharing a Log

The Egret flew off, and the Cormorant was joined by a friend.

Two Cormorants

From the refuge we drove to the Island Nature Trail on Chincoteague Island.  We had not known about this trail during past visits to Chincoteague.  The Island Nature Trail is located along both sides of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive.  The land where the trail is located represents some of last large tracts of undeveloped land on Chincoteague Island.  The south side of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive has an accessible 0.7 mile long, paved loop path complete with benches and interpretive signs.  The north side of Hallie Whealton Smith Drive is a natural surface trail that loops approximately 0.45 miles through pine forest and glade.  We went for a walk on the 0.7 mile loop trail.

the Island Nature Trail

A Pine Siskin on the Island Nature Trail

There are three ponds that can be seen from the Island Nature Trail.

One of three ponds seen from Island Nature Trail

This bridge crosses over the third pond that we saw from the Island Nature Trail.

This is the pond over which the bridge crosses.

After our walk we returned to the wildlife refuge and drove around the Wildlife Loop, which opened up to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  The highlight of our drive around the Wildlife Loop was the sighting of several tundra swans.  

Tundra Swan

On our way back to Tranquil Shores we stopped at Subway for take-out subs, which we ate at the house.

July 2 Sightseeing Activities – Manlius, NY

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

We awakened at 5:15 am on Sunday, July 2 (day 2 of our weekend getaway).  We were both showered and dressed for the day by 6:45 am. Complimentary breakfast began at 7:00 am. We were among the first to show up for breakfast. I made myself a waffle and topped it with strawberries (so delicious!).  Bob had eggs, sausage and a pastry.  Cranberry juice and coffee (Bob) and tea (me) completed our breakfast.

After breakfast we set off to do some sightseeing in the area. We were looking forward to seeing new places, as we had not spent time in this area before.  Our main sightseeing goals were: Chittenango Falls State Park, Verona Beach Lighthouse and Green Lakes State Park (in that order).

Our first stop was not planned.  As we passed through Manlius, I noticed a pretty park located along NY State Route 92.  We drove right by the park and onto another road. Bob turned around, when I politely asked him to do so.  We both enjoyed the beauty of Swan Pond, both the upper and lower ponds.

Upper Swan Pond
Upper Swan Pond
Swan Family at Upper Swan Pond

We walked around Swan Pond in a counter clockwise direction.  It wasn’t long until we realized there was an upper and lower Swan Pond.

This gazebo overlooks Lower Swan Pond.
Viewing (or Fishing?) Platform on Lower Swan Pond
Looking Across Lower Swan Pond from the Viewing Platform

We walked around Lower Swan Pond.  We enjoyed the wildlife that we saw during our walk.

We saw a squirrel, with a strange-looking tail.
The squirrel was gathering nuts and hiding them.
We saw a cute, fuzzy back duck.
We saw an adult duck.
We saw a juvenile bird in a tree.

The highlight of our walk around the pond, though, was spotting the bird in my next photograph.  A woman, who told us she works at the nearby TOPS Market and comes to the park daily, led us to this bird.

Belted Kingfisher

I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the anonymous TOPS Market worker who pointed out the Belted Kingfisher to us!

We returned to Upper Swan Pond and our car to continue our sightseeing drive.

This is a parting shot of Upper Swan Pond.

This was a stop not planned.  We spent 45 minutes here, admiring Swan Pond and its inhabitants.  It was time well spent!

My original thoughts, when preparing the outline for blog posts related to our East Syracuse NY weekend getaway, was to include all of our sightseeing stops on day 2 in one blog post.  I changed my mind.  This post will be the first of four blog posts about our second day in the East Syracuse NY area.

I Spy … A Swan

We were about 30 miles from home, driving along County Touring Route 35 in Asheville NY.  We have traveled this road many times.  Each time we are on this road I have seen a swamp off in the distance.  We never turned off Route 35 to go to the swamp, until yesterday.  I spotted a swan in the swamp.  We turned right onto Cheney Road and drove a short way to the swamp.  Bob pulled off on the side of the road.  I got out of the car, changed my camera lens and proceeded to photograph a swan.

Mute Swan

We saw only this one swan.
I assume its mate was nearby, sitting on a nest.

 

Which is my good side?
This side?

or is this my best side?

The only waterfowl we saw at the swamp was one mute swan and two Canadian Geese.
Both geese were standing alongside Cheney Road, when we arrived.
Just before we were ready to leave, one goose entered the swamp.

Seven Babies!

There is a swan family living along River Road in my hometown of Warren, PA. I first saw mama and papa swans on April 15th. Mama swan was sitting on the nest; papa swan was swimming nearby. I returned to the nesting area several times over the next couple weeks, hoping each time that I would see baby swans. Each visit was fruitless.

My friend, Valerie C., returned to the nesting area during the evening of May 5th. Valerie emailed me to report that mama and papa swan had seven new babies! I went to the nesting area the next day, May 6th. The swans were nowhere to be found. This morning I returned to the nesting area. Just a short way downstream from the nest I found the swan family. I think I spent an hour watching and photographing the swans.

Congratulations mama and papa swan on the birth of your SEVEN babies!

A Friday Afternoon Ride

Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride yesterday afternoon. Bob has been out on the motorcycle several times since the riding season began. This was my first ride of the season. I could have gone for a ride before yesterday, but I just didn’t feel like riding. We didn’t ride far, only 20 miles east of Warren and then back home. It was an enjoyable ride, but what I enjoyed most was spending time with my husband. We made three stops during our ride.

Our first stop was at Rimrock Overlook. Rimrock, which is in the Allegheny National Forest, is located approximately 20 miles east of Warren, Pennsylvania. Rimrock offers a picnic ground, an overlook with splendid views of the Allegheny Reservoir and the opportunity for climbing rocks. The view of the Allegheny Reservoir was splendid indeed, as several tall trees that had blocked the view were cut down earlier in the year.

The last of the steps down to Rimrock Overlook

Rimrock Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

See the people atop the highest point at Rimrock?

View of Forest Floor from Rimrock Overlook

Our second stop was at the Big Bend Recreation Area just downstream of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River.

Bird-viewing platform at Big Bend Recreation Area

As we approached the bird-viewing platform, I noticed fishermen in the river below the platform. The fishermen were leaving when we reached the platform.

The view from the bird-viewing platform is so serene.  I saw these gorgeous blossoming trees on the right of the platform. In front of the platform was the beautiful Allegheny River.

We saw Merganser ducks on the river, but they were too far away for good photographs.

Our last stop was along River Road in Warren to see if Mama and Papa Swan had any young ones yet.

This is Papa Swan. Mama Swan was sitting on the nest a little bit to the right of Papa Swan. No babies yet.

 

Mama and Papa Swan

A river runs through my hometown of Warren, PA. This past Thursday I went with my friend, Valerie, to the banks of the Allegheny River. Last year, Valerie and Michael drove by this particular part of the river and discovered swans. Bob says the swans have lived along this part of the river for many years. It was the first time I saw the swans.

This is Mama Swan.

Mama Swan was sitting on a nest on an island in the river. I hope to capture pictures of the new family someday soon!

This is Papa Swan.

Papa Swan was protective of mama swan. He stayed near the nest while I was photographing along the river bank. Isn’t he handsome with his feathers raised? I LOVE the reflection too!

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