Saturday, November 18, 2006

Last Post of the Season

The levee is still very green and the woods are fallish. We cannot go along the river itself, and may not see the water's edge before the end of 2006. Way too muddy and very dangerous for a little dog and a partly-disabled walker. The Chemung River is very high and rushing right along. I could easily lose my little buddy, so we'll just follow the dike itself.

The woods are very noisy this morning. Crows, ravens and vultures are just out of range, but screaming up a storm. If we came looking for peace, we didn't find it. Although the woods and the strand are serene looking enough.

Wooded swamp, swampy woods

Flooding makes the woods treacherous. Heavy duty boots are needed to visit. We chose not to visit, but instead walked along the levee and reentered the neighborhoods.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Deer, deer..

The recent rains have made the grass and woodlands lush. Ellie and I were coming up on the levee at the bottom of Dininny when we could hear the tractor-mowers.

When we crested the levee, we found a doe right at our level, watching the mowers. She seemed remarkably unperturbed by the noise and simply headed down the wall, through the unmown grass. I regretted leaving the camera home. It was too hot to carry anything extra.

The doe could walk mostly through woods to get to the Chemung, but she would have to pass through at least one full block of back yards. Bet a number of West Elmirans got a few great snapshots of her passing through today.

She disappeared into the narrow strand of woods. And they were high enough with brush that we never saw her again. Ellie swam and drank and I swatted insects off my body. Then we went back.

I had to carry her much of the way home. The roads are already scorching. It's 10:00AM.

Little Pond

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ravens and Vultures and Hawks

But I thought they were extinct to our area. It turns out they are not. All along I've been seeing these large predators, and not knowing what they are. That changed the first week of May 2006.

My sister saw the large, black raptors and pronounced them vultures. But we haven't had any large birds for ages here. In fact, when we first moved into the area with our daughter, all three of the above were no longer found here. And when I say "hawk," I mean anything larger than an American Kestrel.

I've always got Ellie with me, and she warns away everything, even good-sized hawks. This time we removed her dog-tags and kept her calm. The red, fleshy heads of the turkey vultures were obvious.

The ravens were the biggest mystery. There were various sizes from, large to huge. Could they simply be crows? Bill Ostrander of our local Audubon Society assured me there were crows, fish crows and yes, ravens, all busily plying both the riverbanks and city properties here in Elmira. He also confirmed our flock of turkey vultures. Additionally, we can expect to see the larger hawks sharing thermals with these birds.

I'd love to wax poetic about "magnificent raptors," but by now these guys are pretty day-to-day for Ellie and me. I am excited to learn exactly what they are, and hopeful for our messy little city/country biome here. If I ever get a decent camera, and ditch the dorky little dachshund..., well, best not to dream too big yet.

Birds on Foster Island

We took Ellie to Foster Island to give her a touch of the River while it is still pristine. My sister from Massachusetts was sure we were seeing ravens and turkey vultures. At first I pooh-poohed it, but the evidence was so strong. My camera is just not the thing for this sort of photography. Posted by Picasa

Wheeling Around and Around and...

We did finally flush them, even though they didn't seem to mind us. There are hawks, raven and vultures, all soaring together here. I was puzzled by the variant sizes, until I wrote to the local Audubon, who sorted it out for me.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


June 3, 2006 is the date set for River Fest 2006. I am so psyched I can hardly wait two months! Here are some recommended links with more to come later:

Maps and official info here.

More informal and personal pertinency here.

I will collect up my own links and start republishing to get you psyched, too. (Great. Just what I need. Another online project...)

Little Pond

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What are they doing to my floodplain?

Coming up over the top of the levee, we spotted this. What do they intend to do with the richest dirt found in this area? I'll keep you posted. Meantime, the next frame was our real reason to visit.

July 10, 2006: I never did find out where they took the loam. Additionally, I have seen what I assume are private citizens removing dirt also. Art, a frequent "jogger-by," tells me it used to be common for people to collect loam from the strand. It's self-repenishing, and was probably not illegal back then. Wonder if it is now? Posted by Picasa

Precious snowdrops

Ellie and I returned to the levee this week to photograph these little fellows. They've been peeking through the gentle snows over the past few weeks.

Little Pond Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

After the Thunderstorms.

Our last visit to the Chemung River while we still can walk. Somewhere. Walkways have become inlets and the mud is treacherously soft and deep. Until the drier part of spring, we will not be able to use these paths again.
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Our waterfront is water! And there is trash everywhere. The river must've flowed like the dickens during the recent storms. Posted by Picasa

HuggaMutt seems a little surprised by all the water. Her path to the river is inundated right now. Posted by Picasa

Ellie can usually dabble in the water here, but the river's too high. And fast. I won't let her down the slope. Posted by Picasa

Shot between the trees. Lucky landowner little castle visible only in the winter. Posted by Picasa

Still smoking remnants of a Saturday night party. Nothing really changes over the decades. We did this sort of thing when we were young. Posted by Picasa

Stolen sign still in tree. Area isn't so carefully maintained as I thought. Been there a few months, now. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006

February morning on the Strand

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My partner in crime, testing the ice again. Just have to show everyone how safe it is. For little dachshunds, not humans. Check out the rest of the photos from a heavenly winter walk along the strand.

Little Pond

Try again? Don't think so.

Ah, yes. The scene of the crime. Wouldn't dare try the ice today, but Ellie did. It held just fine. Wonder if she was thinking about the deceased racoon just behind the trees there? Posted by Picasa

Ice patches on the Chemung

Further upriver, we saw more and more ice. But the river continues to flow, no doubt due to a new release up at Hammond-Tioga Dam. Posted by Picasa

Inching on the Ice

We moved along upriver, in hopes of finding a small clearing where Ellie could sip. The ice held her well, and any little cracking sound made me haul her back ashore. The cold wind finally sent us back to civilization. Posted by Picasa