Thursday, April 24, 2008

Newtown Creek to Gateway

Finally we were able to explore further down Newtown Creek, into the area that was once considered for what would have been a gorgeous park. There were problems with sewage and/or industrial effluents, or so I'm given to understand. What a loss for the people of the area!As usual, the geese aren't interested in Ellie. She moves right out on the point to stare at them. We are right at the mouth of Newtown Creek, where it meets the Chemung River, facing southeast.
This is knotweed, it is what totally overgrows the area, making it nearly impassable by the end of spring. It's grassy and lovely, just what the area needs to counteract all the gray silty mud.
This goose feels pretty safe from me, hiding behind last year's knotweed. However, Ellie is moving up the bank, and the gander will slowly waddle out to the water, crabbing at the both of us all the way.
The path leads nowhere that is easily accessible. If I were not so tired, I would knock my way through the reeds, and begin a new path. Perhaps some squatters or fishermen will do it for me.
We've been able to explore the creek because the water level is already quite low. Pretty soon we may be able to cross to the other side for some new views. I'll never get there if I have to use the railroad trestle, seen here.
This wonder tangle was caused by an uprooted tree crossing the creek. The water has found its way around it, changing the little valley forever. At least for the foreseeable future. Geese are mating on the other side, and the squabbling and clucking goes on and on until we appear.
Then they all vacate, flapping noisily to the Chemung River, seen in the center top. We are not the first people and dogs. There are a few tracks here and there. Squatters camps are dotted through the area in the more impassable thickets.
For now, though, we are alone. Ellie is enjoying the exploration. At one point, she doesn't return to the whistle. Instead, I hear a frustrated little yelp, each time I toot for her. It takes some doing, but eventually I find her, stuck atop a fallen tree, her harness twisted into its branches. Thank heavens she was withing earshot. My hearing is impaired, so I don't let her go long out sight.

We will return here when the knotweed is higher.

Little Pond

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gull Island in the Spring, taken from across the River on the Southside bank. The seagulls come up the Susquehanna River by way of the Chesapeake Bay. They stay year-round.

If that wasn't noisy enough for you, then you really must go to Riverfront Park in the early morning. You can see Water Street in the background, with a string of shops. The trees are actually lining the south side of the street and have a lovely walkway going through them. The cacophony really gets on my nerves, and I tend to avoid them altogether.

If you agree, you may prefer this sound. The spillway, that we locals call the dams, makes a soothing, constant white sound background for anyone near the river. In this clip the fishermen are enjoying a beautiful sunny morning. They are everywhere we want to walk, so we keep moving. Ellie doesn't always knows how to mind her p's and q's near fishermen. She wants to visit and reacts noisily when ignored. Not so very good for fishing.
This is the best way to fish, in my humble opinion. A quiet rowboat down the river would be even better. They aren't running the motor in the film, because they are riding the stream to the dams. Later, they will land just before the dam and join the others we saw.

I took lots of pictures, but of nothing new, really. Except for the skeletal carcasses of a dog and a goose. Didn't keep those, however, they weren't complete enough to be recognized in the pictures. The river was high earlier in the month, and it washed a pile of stuff into our walking area.

Every day the Chemung River is different. Every single day.

Little Pond

Monday, April 21, 2008

I was going to title this "Looking for Vultures"

But I had already given up on finding some this morning. We were shooting just about everything else, instead. Still, I was puzzled to find these shots.I couldn't see these fellows, so I cranked up the zoom and shot them anyway. They looked like hawks or crows, except they were rather lumpy, if you know what I mean. Crows are very sleek looking birds and hawks don't usually droop, I guess.
This closeup, however, tells it all. A turkey vulture. Not visible to my naked eye at all! You can click on it for a real closeup. They all hang around together: Crows, ravens, vultures and hawks.
Later, I was wandering past what I had always assumed was an apple tree. Deer come all the way through the residential neighborhoods of Elmira to visit Foster Island. It seemed natural that this would be an apple tree, to lure them in. But, if you look right in the center, there's clearly a thorn! The darned thing is full of them. Not an apple at all. It is a wild pear or plum.
I heard quite a lot of splashing and I hurried over to catch a photo of the shoreline. It wasn't a duck or muskrat, as I had hoped. Just Ellie, mucking around.
Caught a glimpse of what I thought was skunk cabbage, but on closer inspection, I don't think so.
Also, the clearings are full of these yellow, snowdrop-like flowers. They are everywhere. Maybe they will come out fully in the later morning. We will check later this week.
You know, I usually think of a culvert as nasty, and sewerlike. Not this one, not usually. Hoffman Creek starts way above the city, up where I used to hunt before I was diagnosed. Up in the hills it is just as tiny and ephemeral as when it passes through the town. Then it goes under the streets and comes out to Foster Pond. Usually very clear, although there is often trash floating in it. Right now it's pretty and decked out for Spring.

It is not safe to enter the culvert. Never.

Little Pond