Skip to main content

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Hubby and I enjoy taking Gracie the Wonder Pug on nature walks as often as possible. Not only are they edifying for us, they give vent to some of her natural pug energy and willfullness. One of our favorite strolls is at the Vischer's Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. Join me below the squiggle for a photo journal of our latest, and shortest, trip.

 photo DSCN2051_zps06ee892a.jpg

The Canal Park, as we call it, is a huge preserve consisting of between 450 to 740 acres, depending on whether you count the water covered areas or not. It has been designated a Bird Conservation Area by New York State DEC and is especially important for wading and migratory species. A list (pdf warning) of the birds seen at the park runs for 2 pages.

Arriving at The Place, you encounter a lovely historic bridge, a Whipple Truss Bridge (sorry, pdf again). The link has a picture of the Vischer's Ferry bridge on the first page but here's one of mine in case pdf's are a problem.

 photo DSC_2818_zpsdf8a4938.jpg
From a previous trip, taken in the fall

Normally, when we go on a relatively local and well known hike, we limit our gear to the essentials. Camera, binocs, water, poop bags and water bowl for Gracie and a walking stick for me. If we're feeling ambitious, we might take along a bird guide or notebook, bug spray, food, etc. This day, not feeling at all ambitious, we went with the basics and set out with high hopes for a relaxing walk.

We were greeted by a large flock of Canada geese, very common here and usually quite tame.

 photo IMG_1890_zps40116ed4.jpg

These folks decided we looked a little suspicious and headed for a safer environment. Gracie barking at them may have had something to do with this.

 photo IMG_1897_zpsc7a4f131.jpg

Heading over the bridge, there is a lovely view up (or down, if you're facing that way) the canal itself.

 photo DSC_2822_zpsfca346c9.jpg
Taken last fall

And often a small friend joins you.

 photo IMG_1898_zps83e624a8.jpg

 photo IMG_1931_zps0f5c8b94.jpg

Once across the bridge, you can follow trails leading off left, right or center. Generally, we choose the center path as it is broad enough for 2 people and a frisky pug to walk without going single file. The side paths stay right on the edge of the canal itself and are excellent for nature viewing but not so much for conversation.

The views, no matter which path you take, are spectacular. Ponds and wetlands are on either side of you, with all the plants you'd expect in a swampy, wet place.

 photo IMG_1922_zps70d81cbf.jpg

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia, not to be confused with invasive purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria) is a bright note along the path.

 photo IMG_1903_zps1f497c99.jpg

Ground cherry is another common sight. The genus is Physalis but I am unsure of the species. I believe there may be more than one in our area but I admit I don't know a great lot about this plant. The berries, enclosed in the husk, are supposed to be edible and tasty, but I've never tried them.

 photo IMG_1925_zps4474a65c.jpg

A beautiful tree in the area is common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Many water birds eat the seeds and, while not terribly important as caterpillar food, it is an important nectar plant for many butterflies, in addition to other pollinators.

 photo IMG_1912_zps10d358da.jpg
Buttonbush forms impenetrable thickets

 photo IMG_1910_zpse781c2a0.jpg
. . . but the flowers are quite pretty

A great problem in many nature preserves is the high frequency of invasive plants. Just ask our cohort, PHScott, who spends much time and effort in remediation. It's so sad to walk through a natural area and see it overtaken by Oriental bittersweet, barberry or Tatarian honeysuckle. All 3 of these pests are present in our little canal park but the one I saw on this trip was particularly worrisome.

 photo IMG_1920_zpsad3bf2f9.jpg

It's bad enough to have invasives but diseased invasives just add insult to injury. The picture above is a multiflora rose afflicted with rose rosette, a contagious disease of roses spread by mites, which can wipe out domestic garden roses in a season. There's no cure except to destroy the plant. Almost all the multiflora roses bordering the path were afflicted with this disease.

While it might be nice to think this disease would wipe out the wild multiflora patches, alas, the plant seeds so wildly it is unlikely to be wiped out by rose rosette. It will, no doubt, continue to be a disease vector and ecosystem disruptor for many years to come.

Around about the time we spotted this monstrosity, maybe 10 minutes into our walk, we discovered that stopping for any length of time was quickly becoming dangerous to our health. We were, after all, surrounded by lakes and wetlands on all sides. It's July.

 photo IMG_1921_zps916641e6.jpg

What else lives in these areas? The worst squadrons of mosquitoes you've ever seen!! Holy crap! We've been there in every season and most conditions and I have never in my life seen the mosquitoes that bad! We soldiered on for those 10 minutes and then, frankly, turned tail and fled. Remember our list of basic supplies? Bug spray will now be added to the essentials!

I did get one more lucky shot, though, taken at the risk of losing another pint of blood. I hope you will forgive the blur and graininess - I felt lucky to get it at all! A lovely belted kingfisher posed for me at the extreme range of my zoom lens.

 photo IMG_1907_zps4c8cb34b.jpg

And that was our day in the park - all 15 minutes of it! Where have you been lately?

Spotlight on Green News & Views" is posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time and Wednesday at 3:30 on the Daily Kos front page. It's a great way to catch up on diaries you might have missed. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site