Saturday we spotted the Bald Eagle that has been hanging around Presque Isle. I was lucky enough to have him land within zoom shot of my camcorder. It stayed on the tree for about 10 minutes and then flew. We followed it in the car and pulled into the access area of Gull Point and watched him hunt over the frozen lake. The eagle landed quite a ways out onto the frozen lake. We think it found either an injured bird or fish as it stayed down on the ice quite a while. It later flew out further and landed on a big berg before heading east and out of view. It sure made our day.
Due to an injury I decided not to fish a week ago last Saturday. Instead I brought the video camera and wanted to video any fish if my husband caught any, which he almost always does. It was a great day. We arrived late in the afternoon but only saw one person fishing that day downstream and we got the pick of spots along the creek. I had to cross an inlet to get to where my husband was going to fish. I had on jeans and sneakers and got soaked up to my knees with icy cold water. I thought the water was lower than it was and I didn’t come prepared. Needless to say, I was shivering on the sidelines but was a good sport for a little over an hour. But then I wanted to leave and my husband became the good sport leaving behind a creek full of hungry fish.
I don’t like how WordPress compacts the videos to fit in the frame. The fullscreen option on the player below actually makes the video lose quality so if you want the in-between size, which is best, just go to this link (if you have a slower connection, pause the video and let it load before playing it.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t59BVhAMQr4
Thank goodness they didn’t close Oil Creek State Park. If you have never been there you are really missing out on a beautiful park. Oil Creek is a great fishing creek that we go to often. You’ll hardly ever find a crowd there and there are plenty of trails, geocaches and great fishing spots.
My husband and I were down there twice last weekend to fish. I was still recuperating from 3 full days of sanding our hard-wood floors and I had a hard time standing for any length of time so I just sat on a folding chair and watched my husband catch 7 trout in a couple of hours. How I wished I hadn’t over-done the floor sanding!
I wanted to fish so bad that we came back the next day, Sunday, to try it again. I didn’t catch anything but cold. My husband caught 2 nice rainbow trout. Actually, I froze my tail off. But the fish were there, the conditions had changed. The sun wasn’t out on Sunday. An eagle flew down low over the creek. We love going there, fish or no fish.
I’m in the process of putting together a video of my husband catching the 7 trout on Saturday. I also had fun that day not only video-taping my husband catching fish but also taking slow-mo video of the moving current and of the minnows jumping out of the water. I’m easily amused :-). I’ll post the video as soon as I’m done with it.
This video was taken on 9-30-09. I’m not sure many areas can top the views we saw from this geocache location. We punched in the geocache coordinates into the GPS unit and it routed us to an out-of-the-way forest-service road up a steep mountainside. It took some time to get there but oh, was it worth it. The lake in the far right distance is Mono Lake. I kind of remember people saying Mono Lake would be dry in a few years but it’s been about 20 some years since then and it is still there.
Last Saturday my husband and I attended the Presque Isle Geo-cache Bash. The park looked just beautiful! This was our first geocaching group event ever and we really enjoyed it. There were several temporary caches put out and 5 permanent ones. We didn’t have much problem finding any of the caches except the one at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) and those that had gone missing. My husband’s 6th sense worked great except for the cache at the TREC. We eventually found it but we wasted a lot of time on that one. I lead the way to the caches holding the GPSr and when we get close my husband normally zeros in on it like a bloodhound but the TREC building was causing the signal to wander. We had a problem with the last one we went for on the beach and couldn’t find it and we were out of time and had to head back. We made it back to the Pavilion before the 3 o’clock deadline. It turns out that particular cache had gone missing. We didn’t have time to get to the one at Gull Point because of our problem with the TREC cache (and a long lunch 🙂
We met some really nice people and their families and everyone had a good time. There were so many more people there than I had expected and the ones putting on the event did a great job. People came from PA, New York and Ohio to participate. I’m looking forward to the next one.
This blog will be changing. Instead of just covering the Erie National Wildlife Refuge, I’ll also be posting about many local, state and national parks, nearby and afar.
Another major change is my Geocaching videos that I have posted on the Geocaching page. Most of the geocaching we like to do is in state and local parks and near or in national forests. The refuge system doesn’t allow it (for now) but many have virtual geocaches which is more like waymarking.
Many of the pages are still under construction but I’ll be adding the information shortly.
The Twelfth Biennial Nature Photo Contest!! Sponsored by the Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge, Inc. and the Presque Isle Audubon Society.
Get all the rules and information at this link:
The very first time I saw an American Bald Eagle fairly close was at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge. The fall colors were so gorgeous on the hills around the viewing platform and the cool, crisp breeze promised a long winter. A pair of eagles were atop what was left of some dead trees in the marsh and their call to one another took me by surprise. I had no idea at the time what their call was like. I was thrilled and it gave me goose bumps. They are such magnificent birds.
You will be wonderfully enriched if you pick a beautiful fall day to come out to the refuge when the leaves start turning and take in the view of the hillsides and the earthy smells of the woods and more likely as not, if you wait long enough, you will see an American Bald Eagle fly by. Plan a day to take a walk on the many trails away from the city noise and relax and enjoy getting back to nature.
Below is part 3 of the BIRD WALK at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge during the Heritage Fest. This video is about the song of the Veery. See previous posts for the rest of the videos. Be sure to turn up the volume to hear the sound of the Veery in the background.
The video below was taken at the Guys Mills Heritage Fest that took place on June 27, 2009 in the town of Guys Mills, PA and on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge (Guys Mills.) The birds from the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center exhibit was a big hit.
See more videos from the day HERE
Below is part 2 of the Bird Walk video led by Rich Eakin at the Guys Mills Heritage Fest on June 27, 2009. The bird walk was at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge as part of the Fest.
During the Guys Mills Heritage Fest I was lucky enough to go on the scheduled bird walk led by Rich Eakin. He gave an excellent walk and I learned a lot. Another walk was led by Ron Leberman. Note: Other videos that show as thumbnails on the bottom of the video box when the video is finished are what YouTube thinks are related to this video. They may be from others’ accounts.
BIRD WALK PART 1
Turn up volume as necessary to hear the bird calls in the background.
2009 Don’t forget, tomorrow is the Guys Mills Heritage Fest. For a schedule of events click on here.
There will be a bird walk, a bald eagle presentation, children’s carnival, wildlife wood carver, stream ecology mini field trip, bat presentation, nature photography display, puppet show, antique car cruise-in, country-style auction, chicken dinners for sale, kite flying, maple syrup display, music and more. Check it out!
Don’t miss the Guys Mills Heritage Fest! It’s June 27th in Guys Mills and at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge. More information at this link.
Arriving early for our board meeting for FENWR, we drove down to one of my favorite places in the refuge, Deer Run Observation Deck. We walked down the path as we got close we saw a turtle on the side of the path.
Further up it looked like some kids had dug up the trail with sticks.
We continued to the deck, enjoying the nice breeze that comes across the marsh. Returning, I noticed an animal print among the footprints and drag marks from sticks. There were raccoon tracks around all the dug-up holes.
My blame for the mess on the path turned from kids to raccoons and turtles. This time of year turtles are laying their eggs in sand or sandy soil. My husband witnessed it on Presque Isle State Park just last Thursday. Many of the holes were snout-shaped (raccoon.) It was all coming clear. The raccoon was digging looking for the turtle eggs. We turned to leave and saw the turtle was back on the path with its (actually I can confidently call it a her) hind end down in a hole.
She froze and then tucked her head back in her shell. We left her alone and took a few more steps to see empty turtles eggs scattered in the grass. We put them together just for the photo. At first we thought they were small pieces of torn plastic.
We don’t know if the turtles hatched or if the raccoon ate them. I’m sure he ate some of them, perhaps even all of them.
We always find something interesting when we visit.
I took video of what the marsh at Deer Run looks like in June. The water plants have filled in so you don’t see much open water. We did see an eagle flying high over the ridge. You can see the video full screen if you click the icon on the right bottom of the player window. Hit Esc on keyboard to leave full screen.
I took some bird video clips when down at the refuge in early May. I kept the videos clips very short so most computer connections will be able to play them. For those new to bird watching this may help you identify some of the more common birds you see at the refuge.
Above is a male Yellow Warbler. Note reddish streaks on chest.
Above are Canada Geese with their babies.
Above is an Eastern Phoebe. Easy to ID because of their constant dipping of the tail.
Above is a White-crowned Sparrow.
Above is a Field Sparrow. Note chestnut-colored crown.
Above are American Bald Eagles taken looking left from the Deer Run observation deck. One is an immature. Note it hasn’t gotten its white head and tail yet.
Above is a pretty American Goldfinch male.
Above is a female Yellow Warbler.
Above is a Yellow-rumped Warbler.
My husband and I drove down to the refuge Sunday to see if the Yellow-rumped Warblers had moved on. We didn’t see any this time. There were some Yellow Warblers but not the Yellow-rumped Warblers still working the brush near the Deer Run Trail Observation Deck. We spotted one mature American Bald Eagle to the right, at the end of the marsh, partway up a snag pine tree. This photo is enlarged. You’ll need to use a good pair of binoculars, a scope or you can use one of the 2 permanent scopes mounted at the deck to see eagles in that tree. We have also spotted them at the opposite end of the marsh but the leafed-out trees make that spotting hard to see. We also see them flying overhead in that area.
We spot them in the same tree quite a number of times in the past. Also from the observation deck, looking straight across the marsh, we spotted a deer and a Great Blue Heron. It’s a beautiful place to spend some time and the trail is really nice. Drive to the coordinates (use the coordinates format below that your GPS unit uses) and park. The trail is a well maintained path to the red-roofed observation deck.
N 41.589170, W 079.976180 or
41.589170, -79.976180 or
+41° 35′ 21.01″, -79° 58′ 34.25″
If you drive to the headquarters, keep your eyes out for Cedar Waxwings that we spotted flying from tree to tree just outside the Headquarters door Sunday.
Coordinates at headquarters:
N 41.626104, W 079.960285 or
41.626104, -79.960285 or
+41° 37′ 33.97″, -79° 57′ 37.03″
On the way down the driveway from the headquarters, on our right, a Green Heron flew past us and landed on a dead tree branch on the side of the pond.
Coordinates from the road with the pond on the right.
N 41.629588, W 079.961461 or
41.629588, -79.961461 or
+41° 37′ 46.52″, -79° 57′ 41.26″
If you are looking for the handicapped accessible fishing/view deck, there is one at pond K.
Coordinates for Pond K parking is
N 41.582964, W 079.978464 or
41.582964, -79.978464 or
+41° 34′ 58.67″, -79° 58′ 42.47″
A good place to see wildlife is the obesrvation blind. In this little shelter with diagonal cutouts for viewing you can observe the ducks, warblers, deer and whatever else lives in the area without them seeing you. It’s great for taking photos. The bushes are getting pretty high outside of the shelter as of last Sunday but you can still see the birds and animals. The trail is a nice, almost level walk from the parking lot. We spotted this baby chipmunk on the trail. He wasn’t more than 3 inches long. So cute!
Coordinates to parking lot of the observation blind
N 41.575218, W 079.975643 or
41.575218, -79.975643 or
+41° 34′ 30.78″, -79° 58′ 32.31″
Coordinates for the actual observation blind. The blind is a little over 1/10 mile from parking over easy trail.
N 41.575545, W 079.9776725 or
41.575545, -79.977672 or
+41° 34′ 31.96″, -79° 58′ 39.62″
This is my first try at giving GPS coordinates by waymarking. Waymarking marks the coordinates of places, things, and points of interest. There are a lot of people getting GPS units, both hand-held and car units and I thought it may be a fun way to visit the refuge. I’m new to the geocaching crowd, also, (I found my first at Oil Creek State Park last weekend) and am still learning to use my DeLorme PN-40. Please let me know if you have issues using these coordinates and I encourage suggestions. Come back and visit the blog to find new coordinates of birds, animals or points of interest I find on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge when we visit. My husband and I want to walk many of the refuge trails this summer and we’ll let you know what we see and give you coordinates to points of interest.
It was one of those days you have waited so long for. Not too hot, not too cold, just right for visiting the refuge and walking the beautiful paths.
Yesterday, you’d find the trees and bushes moving with flashes of yellow from the Yellow-rumped Warblers. They were everywhere! This one, decided to land close to me and proceeded to give me a fashion show.
The photo above shows why he got his name and why people call them little “butter butts” as a nickname.
Above: He’s a beautiful bird even looking at him straight on.
Above: From the side, you can also see he has flashes of yellow on sides. He also has a yellow slash on the top of head but it doesn’t show in these photos.
Another “regional” entry until I get back down to the refuge. We stopped off in Waterford to take a few videos of the eagles. We were lucky enough to catch one of them feeding the babies. There are 2 that we could see.
Below are some my still shots of the group.
Since I haven’t been able to get down to the Erie Wildlife Refuge for a while I thought I’d post something closer to my home until I get get some video and photos of the refuge. I took this video on Saturday, April 25, 2009. So far we have only seen the one.
Here is the video of the Great-horned Owlet. The jerky places are where I didn’t do a transition between clips. There are a few spots that look like the mother was feeding the baby. (there is no sound on this video)
Actually I didn’t render it in the best format, I over zoomed into the digital zoom and it was pretty windy that moved the tripod some and it’s 2:30 AM and I don’t want to fix it. Excuses, excuses!
Also check out http://www.eriesargonaut.net/blog and look at past video posts of the wildlife in NW Pennsylvania.
Sunday we headed down to the refuge for the 50th anniversary of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge poster contest awards ceremony. I was amazed at all the artwork the kids created. It just made you smile to see all the little critters included in the artwork.
Video (Short Version) Below
Video (Long Version) Below
Click here to see the winners on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge webpage.
We had a board meeting last evening and my husband and I left early so we could see what wildlife we could spot around the refuge. It hadn’t snowed up here in Erie during the day and we were surprised when we hit snow when we got down to Cambridge Springs. It turned into a beautiful drive from then on with a veil of light, fluffy-kind of snow falling gently to the ground. There were lots of tracks in the snow but not many animals out in the very cold temperatures. We saw several hawks on the drive down to Guys Mills and one large hawk hidden in a large tree near the Deer Run Overlook. As we drove through a wooded area I asked my husband to stop so I could get a photo. The way the light was hitting the tops of the trees and the beautiful snow on the branches, it would make a pretty picture. It was so quiet and peaceful.
Though I didn’t get down to count the birds on the refuge for the GBBC, I want to thank a “Friends” board member in the area, Janet Marvin, who gave me her specie list from the count. It included: Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, House Finch, American Goldfinch. She also saw an American Bald Eagle the day before the count and a White-breasted Nuthatch the day after the count.
The count of species and checklists for the Guys Mills area can be found at this link: Guys Mills Count
Note: There could be more counts being submitted as counters have until March 1 to enter their counts for that 4-day period from the Presidents Day weekend.
I turned my count in for my visit to Presque Isle and another for my backyard in the city of Erie. I filled out the survey after filling in my counts online at the GBBC and received the 30-day free trial of Birds of North America Online as a thank you. I’ve been exploring the photos, videos and information on that website and it is full of great information. I may just subscribe to it when the trial period is over.
Now if spring would just come early this year.