Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Warning: nasty shot below

Our visit to the Chemung on Tuesday took us behind the power substation across from McWane International, Water Street. We were greeted by eagles, one of whom graciously circled above until I got a decent shot.We visited with other dog owners and wandered the waterfront, but it was really blustery and cold. Eventually we hauled over to Newtown Creek and checked for conditions there.
Two other hikers warned us that the water was very high, and it was, indeed.
The cold, icy waters rushed by, making a lot of noise, none of it inviting. Ellie decided to give it a miss. Back toward the substation, I was astounded to run across the fully stripped carcass of a deer, perhaps a highway crash victim. The photo is somewhat disturbing, but the most interesting part of the experience for me was my dog's complete lack of interest.Apparently it doesn't really smell like anything that would catch her attention. Deer tracks, yes. Complete deer skeleton, no.


Little Pond

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It had been a week since we'd been to the river, and it was just pouring cats and, well, you-know-what.

Ellie hates her slicker, but after a summer of stinky dog, we weren't going to set ourselves up for wet, stinky dog.

Except for Her Nibs, there was nothing worthy of our immense photographic talents. We walked our usual paths to where Ellie goes down into a drainage ditch to the river. The ditch is usually dry. Little thing was nonplussed by the "raging torrent" of rainwater.

Frankly, she wouldn't go near it, but I still wanted a clip to save for enjoyment during our next drought.

I did not edit this film at all.

It's just to show the runoff from West Elmira streets. Wish we could send it to our drought-ier neighbors.

Little Pond

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Short Autumn

Here in Upstate New York, leaf peeping season is often cut short by very cool, dry days. We had a rather dry summer, and that compounds the problem.Most mornings in October can begin with fog near the Chemung River.
It makes for poor photography, but deadens sound, so we can get nice and close to our subjects.
When it burns off, we are left with clear, clean skies. This week we had a cold rain, and that washed away a lot of our pretty leaves. But the view is sparkling.
If you've been to our main site, you've already seen this photo and caption. Double click the picture for detail.
We were very cold, unpleasantly so with the wind, but we still walked down to the spillway. The leaves make their leisurely trip downstream.Upstream, towards Corning, New York, the colors are really striking. I'm told it's worth a drive through the country. We went to the Red Lobster in Big Flats and took the long drive over the hills. Still plenty of green, so maybe we haven't yet peaked.

Little Pond

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some more color

Ellie and I pulled into the parking lot across from McWayne, near the retention basins. We were looking for the fall colors, but were somewhat disappointed.
It is still too early. There are spots of color, here and there, but they are not anywhere near peak. I believe this view is looking towards Quarry Farm. They tell me there are lots of eagles up that way.
Still, the cooler weather made a much more pleasant walk than we had in the middle of the summer. There are almost no insects to bother us, even under the old railway trestle.
Perhaps the cooler weather made for some pretty sights on the water. This is a view of Brand Park from the Elmira Fire Department river access.

We always see at least one eagle on each trip, but they stay far, far away from us. This time I watched one perfect Baldy flapping over the water, then suddenly drop and pull out a fish. He then flew to the mouth of Newtown Creek. I spotted it later, but as I say, he wouldn't pose pretty for me.

Little Pond

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Touches of Fall

Ellie and I decided to brave the weather, given that the rains were predicted for the entire week. The everpresent vines. They were the first to turn. Were it not for the colors, this would have been a very bleak morning.
Now the walkway is filling up with leaves. They are falling because of the rain. In the woods, none of the trees have turned, and the walkways are clear.
Ellie really can't appreciate the color. I'm just glad she's willing to slog in the nonstop rain.
The rain has lifted and the sky is brightening up. Just a tease, though.
We hadn't walked far when it started again. We had the entire waterfront to ourselves.

Those are the breaks in Upstate New York, in both the spring and fall.

Little Pond

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer's Last Hurrah

This is a little hard to explain. The HuggaMutt is still in her summery glory. She still wants to visit the strand along the Chemung River bank,but she won't swim. The bright sunlight and greenery belie just how cool it is now. And the river waters
are not refreshing. They are very low and weed-choked. More like a pond than a river.
We humans see the tell-tale signs of fall. Bittersweet berries peek out from the green trees.
Even the deep greens are tinged with gold in the bright sun of morning, and the painfully blue sky is another indicator of the changing season. It's a cold blue.
The sun hangs a lot lower in the sky now, too. This picture was taken at 9:30AM not PM. The glare off the water plays tricks with the camera, even though I've programmed it for back light and bright days.

It's a little eerie that the camera knows something's up...

That something is Fall.

Little Pond

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Four herons

The quality of this photo was so bad that it took me a minute to realize that there are four birds.

Again, I'm not quite sure what they are. There is obviously one heron here.

But the others?

Little Pond

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ellie is never happy to stray too far. As soon as she notices me, she wants to return. Here on the rocks of the retention pond bed, the irregularity and the heat makes walking difficult.

Unfortunately, just as soon as she notices me watching, she begins the arduous journey back, even though she is nearly out to the other side.

Little Pond

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Last Week of Summer 2008

Since I had to work so much over-time this week, Ellie and I tried to make short hops to the river each morning. This fellow was not even watching for us, he was so entrance in hunting.

The river is very, very low, and the fishing is great. We saw so many eagles wherever we went, but they are not willing photo subjects. They soar too high. I nearly soil my pants on Wednesday when an eagle bolted from a tree right next to me. The tree groaned and cracked a little, but the baldy left silently otherwise. Herons and crows make a racket when they take off.

Of course, the eagle was out of sight before I could recover enough to shoot it.
On Saturday we went to Hoffman Creek, but the greenery is very, very lush. I wasn't dressed properly to repel the elements and insects.

A few bug bites won't deter a real adventurer. We are not real adventurers; we left for home after about an hour.

Little Pond

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mixed Blessing

We recently got word that the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) will soon be removing trees within 15 feet of the levees. While this may not sound like much, it will be a huge undertaking. It has already begun, unofficially.

The reason I dread it it is that I count on the trees to protect me from the summer sun. On very hot days, I usually take the HuggaMutt through the woodsy areas. They will diminish.

But! We have to do whatever is necessary to protect the city from floods like in 1972. Elmira never really recovered from that one.

You can check out what it all means here. See why I dread it.

Little Pond

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dog Days on the Chemung

If you are a frequent visitor to RiverDogging, then you probably recognize the Gateway area. Jones Island is on my right and the levee is on the left. This water runs over stones and is shallow and very clean. Ellie loves it.
You can see the RiverDog at the far left near the electrical pole. In fact, she is looking for the woodchucks that are always out lazing in the sunshine. The geese are making their usual silly fuss, but she ignores them until they try to run. Silly things don't go far, once they realize she doesn't even notice them.
This stately bird was just over my head in a tree when he decided to go wading. I just about fainted when he dropped down in front of me. What he didn't take into account was that Ellie was poking around under the brush along the shore. Right as I snapped this shot, he took off across the river.
Summer isn't complete without a swim in the shallows of the Gateway area. Her poor eyesight makes Ellie curious about the gurgling water, so she swims out to investigate. The water would be up to my knees or so, but she has to swim for real.

Little Pond

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the knotweed

Sung to the tune of "In the Navy!"

In the knotweed!

That's where Ellie found a skunk.

In the knotweed!

That's why she can't share our bunk.

In the knotweed....

Oh, forget it. It isn't funny, really. She disappeared under the leaves and then there were signs of an epic struggle.

I couldn't move fast enough to draw her back. I then dragged her to the river and doused her good. She dug her nose into the mud along the way.

After one more dousing, I took her to the nearest boat ramp. Washed her again and again until the stuff was out of her eyes.

Then home to Google the latest deskunking rituals. We used Dawn Original Scent.

The author of the blog is a coworker at the paper.

Then a call to MammaDog at the SPCA. They will know what to do. Also, MammaDog will be collecting our stinky friend on Friday for their shared custody stint.

Beware the knotweed that grows high enough to hide small animals...

Little Pond

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rainy July

What are we doing, out walking in the rain? Well, HuggaMutt and I can tell you that there is no nicer time to visit the river. In the summer, it's comfortable.

There are fewer people and lots less doggie traffic, too. Not only that, but we often see fishermen in their boats when it is raining.

And Ellie doesn't mind the rain when she is wet from the river, anyway.

Little Pond

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pounding Winds, Wading Pup

This is the moral equivalent of "Here, let me show you pictures of my grandchildren."

We spent a chilly hour in the Gateway area of the Chemung River yesterday. If you go yourself, you will especially want to watch for the tiny frogs that show up occasionally around your feet. It's amazing that they can be so perfect in such miniature.

In the back seat, on the way home, Ellie got a tad banged up during a sudden stop, and I myself am very sore in the knees. Rocky terrain and a cold wind combined to leave me lame enough to react a little too slow to a fast oncoming car. I carefully inspected all her bones and muscles and no complaints, but we are visibly affected.

Now we are both lame, and will not visit our beloved river today. We are staying close to home, with a fire in the fireplace and some catchup on our blogs.

Little Pond

Monday, June 16, 2008


Ellie's on shore patrol any day we go to the River. Usually the coast is clear.
Monday, though, there was danger in the water. A snapping turtle. This fellow must weigh at least as much as Ellie. I kept her out as soon as it was pointed out by a concerned fisherman.

Little Pond

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stinky Chemung

Right now the entire area around Newtown Creek is intriguing-looking. It's covered in green.
The creek is very low, almost low enough to cross. But not quite. Ellie can wade and even paddle about.
The knotweed is totally overgrown, and quite messy.
With the river so low, everything stinks to high heavens.
Naturally, the animals don't care.
One could almost walk to the city, just along the shore. Inland is just overgrown with weeds.
On the other banks, however, the dykes are freshly mown. Perhaps the RiverHag will pay a little visit this week...

Little Pond

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A little less sucessful

because it rained like a son of a gun. Ellie got a toweling when we returned. She hates that, and does a strange, whiny, lower-leveled growl during the whole procedure.

And yet we got one unusual shot. If you click on the photo, you can pick out the individuals marking the top of the water. If it hadn't been raining so hard, I would have filmed their antics. They looked like teeny-tiny jet-skiers zooming across the water.

Note: if you slept through the rain that Saturday, you may be surprised we got wet at all. Here are some soaking wet shots of irises taken even earlier in the morning.

Little Pond

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can you stand it?

One more baby picture? I'm sounding like a proud auntie or grammy or something.
These two seem to be guarding the nursery.
While this flock of extremely large geese are able to swim and dabble and simply ignore my dog and me.
Let's call this a thornapple for now. (Let's not; it is actually a wild pear or plum!) Looks like an apple tree, but has nasty thorns.

Overall, I am amazed at how quickly the Spring set in. Everything is very lush and green, not untypical for the Finger Lakes area this time of year. A fairly dry, warm April gave way to a cool, rainy May. Just the opposite of the usual.

Little Pond