Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category


Zoo Visit

May 25, 2012

Last week a friend and I took our kids to the zoo. It was a perfect day because it was warm, but not hot, and there was a light breeze. It also wasn’t mobbed with people, so we had a great time. Here are my captures for the day.

She just LOVES having her picture taken!

Sunning herself, or major attitude?

This is, I suppose, what I get for asking the (almost) teen to pose as a butterfly…

My friend’s daughter was much more compliant!

She also decided to be a turtle. Mine wouldn’t get in the turtle shell. She said she wouldn’t fit, but I have seen grown men inside that turtle shell, so I am sure she would have fit. If husband had been with us, I am pretty sure he would have gotten in it, although he would not have let me photograph him!

Outside the rhino enclosure; I couldn’t resist…

There is a new Africa exhibit and I found the lions to be pretty awesome! Perfect caption for this one, “Isn’t my mane incredible?!”

Safari girls!

Joe’s relative The seals thoroughly enjoyed playing to the small crowd that had gathered to watch them. This one was playing coy, then went inside.  The other one came up out of the water, looked around at all the people, then sort of fell over into the water. It was obviously enjoying the attention. 


Fabulous Mother’s Day Weekend

May 12, 2010

On Saturday, when we went to Canada, I told Jeff that all I really wanted for Mother’s Day was to go out to eat at Montana’s. You may remember a post from a couple years ago about Butterflies in which I mentioned Montana’s. Since that time, that location has closed and the only Montana’s restaurants are in Canada. Since we were only going to be 30 minutes from one of them, I asked if we could have dinner there. My inlaws went with us, so we all had a delicious early dinner at Montana’s. We decided that would be our Mother’s Day celebration with Jeff’s mom, then we’d both relax on Sunday.

My family decided that I should choose what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, so we went to Starbucks and Panera, then to the lake in Webster Park. Erin had part of a bagel left over from breakfast, so when a curious squirrel came near, Kyle threw out a piece of Erin’s bagel. The result was pretty funny. I suppose I should mention that the winds from Saturday hadn’t slowed down much and it was only 40 degrees F.

The squirrel was not holding its tail that way, the wind was blowing it that way! At one point the piece of bagel that was on the ground began blowing away, so the squirrel grabbed it back.

Apparently this squirrel understood from whence its food had come, for it strolled over to the Jeep, sat up on its haunches, and reached up with its arms, batting toward me as I hung out the window taking pictures. Good thing it didn’t decide to jump up onto the camera or something! I am convinced that if the wind hadn’t been blowing so hard, I could have heard what it was saying, lol!

Once we stopped feeding the poor creature, it apparently got annoyed and decided to look threatening from a post that was directly in front of the Jeep.

Perhaps it was just preparing to pray…

The wind was blowing really hard and the silly seagulls couldn’t fly very well. They would dive down, pluck a fish from the water, then get blown backwards and drop the fish. It was absolutely hysterical! I imagined the fish saying “I’m caught, I’m freee, I’m caught, I’m free, oh just kill me now!”

As we were giggling at the silly squirrel, I was keeping an eye on two men with sailboards. They appeared to have arrived shortly before we did and were putting their boards together as we sat there. Eventually they donned their wetsuits and launched out into the angry cold water. I sat shivering just thinking about the temperature of the water! Even though they were in wetsuits, their faces and fingertips were still exposed, brrr!

Call me crazy, but that just doesn’t seem like a good idea! Too cold and too windy!

After leaving the lake, we went to a garden shop and wandered a bit, then stopped at Wegmans to get a snack. I was getting tired and sore, so we headed home, but we still wanted to go to the park to take a picture. I took a short nap, then we headed back out to get a Mother’s Day picture.

Erin found a tree that looked like a chair, so she sat and asked me to take a picture. She’s so funny! She is sitting on the ground with her arms resting on two “armrests.”

My Mother’s Day was quite relaxing and enjoyable. Thanks Jeff, you are awesome and wonderful and I love you soooo much! Oh yeah, I didn’t post the picture of you either!


Highland Park Beauty

May 11, 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post, my in-laws invited the kids and me to go to Highland Park with them last Thursday. It was a cool, but gorgeous, day so I took tons of pictures. The colors were awesome!

My father-in-law contemplating…something.

Erin, being extremely photogenic, is fun to photograph.

Every now and then Sarah lets me take her picture.

As we were heading back to the car, I couldn’t help but take a picture of the petals all over the ground.

I was a bit sore by the time I got back home, but it was a beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed our wanderings through the park.


Beautiful day…

April 25, 2010

…for a drive. After the kids ran yesterday morning, I was not really ready to go home and saty indoors. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to be outdoors. The only problem with that was that I was overly tired from staying up to watch the hockey game the night before and then getting up early to take the kids to run. I was also having a bad pain day. For whatever reason, I was okay in the morning, but by early afternoon I was in a significant amount of pain. My right hip just wouldn’t cooperate and no position made it more comfortable. Jeff eventually talked me into taking some ibuprofen and we set out for some unknow adventure.

We filled the Jeep with gas and stopped at Gander Mountain for a drink for Jeff. I think he just wanted to wander through the store without kids. He likes it there a lot, which cracks me up because he neither hunts, nor fishes, and he is definitely NOT a redneck. Anyway, we wandered and looked at just about everything they sell, then set out again. I was starving, so we stopped at Wendy’s and I got a cheddar, broccoli baked potato. As I ate, Jeff said he was going to drive wherever, get us lost, and my job would be to get us home. We don’t have GPS in the Jeep, so he calls me his CPS (Carly Positioning System) since I always seem to know which way to go. We wound up near Mendon Ponds, so I suggested we drive through the park.  As we were nearing an intersection, we noticed a field…

Do you see them? Clicking to enlarge the pictures may be necessary.

They were on Jeff’s side so he offered to turn around so I could take pictures, since I almost never leave home without my camera, lol!

The one in the center stayed at that scrub for probably 10 minutes. I couldn’t figure out what it found so appealing about it, since there was fresh, young grass all around. Now that I’ve looked more closely at the picture, I think it was after the new leaves and buds.

While we were sitting there, this deer stopped and stared awhile.

We were only about 100 meters from the deer and I am sure they could here the shutter everytime I took a picture. They would stop and look up at us often, but they didn’t seem too threatened. I told Jeff they probably thought the Jeep was a giant, mutant deer since it’s about the same color as the deer.

There were two adult sized does, and two smaller deer. I don’t know how long they stay with their mothers, but one of the youngsters was much larger than the other. The smaller of the two was lame though, so I don’t know if that had something to do with its smaller size or not.

I decided I had enough pictures, so Jeff pulled up the road a little and turned around. As we started driving back toward the deer, they decided to cross the road. Three of them went into the woods, but the gimpy one stopped and posed for me. If you look, you can see that it is favoring its front right leg.

It looks as though it is smilng in this picture. I think it wanted to make sure I got its good side, lol!

If you enlarge this last picture, you should be able to see the deer looking up at the leaves in the tree, almost as if to say “how do I get those?”

After photographing deer for about 15 minutes, we finally moved on. We drove around a while longer, then decided we’d go out for a bite to eat. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant that we had a coupon for, then we hit the bookstore across the parking lot. By that time my hip was getting even more sore and I really wanted to go home, but Jeff loves bookstores and doesn’t often get to wander through. I was patient for a little while, but then he relented and took me home. All in all it was a great day. I am not often in a place where it is convenient or safe to pull over and photograph wildlife, so that was definitely a treat. Date nights are always a treat too!

Oh, I almost forgot, we got home just in time to see the Penguins score the game winning goal against Ottowa, advancing them to the semifinals! Yay Penguins!


Birds and Flowers

April 23, 2010

I had a chiropractic appointment this morning, but I was running quite early, so I went down to the bay to see if the swans were near enough to get a few pictures.

There were many swans in the bay, but only one pair that was close enough for decent pictures. I don’t think either one of them was particularly happy about the band around the neck of the one. The one that is banded kept arching its head funny, trying to poke at it, while the other one kept poking at it with its beak. I didn’t think it looked terribly comfortable myself. Everytime the swan would dive for food, the band would slip up near its head, then back down again when it was upright. Seems like there must be a better system. I assume whoever banded it wants to be able to read the band from afar. Personally I think a slightly more invasive, at first, transmitter clipped to a wing would be more comfortable for the swan in the long run, but what do I know!

There was also a very noisy pair of geese. They landed while I was photographing the swans and wouldn’t stop squawking the whole time I was there. One of them kept rolling its head around, up in the air, and honking. Then it chased the other one making a growling noise and biting it. Eventually the one being chased started in with the honking as well. Finally, they flew over near another pair of geese and started honking and hissing and chasing them.  They were decidedly noisy, mouthy, and mean!

I happened to catch this gull looking for food and thought the pictures were pretty cool.

There was also a pair of ducks, but I wasn’t pleased with any of the pictures I took of them. Their coloring against the background and the weird lighting this morning didn’t make for a good combination.

After watching the waterfowl for a bit, I remembered a road through the park that my mother-in-law had told me about. I still had 45 minutes until my appointment, so I decided to wander over there since it was nearby.

I am bad with flower names, and even worse with trees, so I won’t identify any of these…just share the pictures, except to say that I didn’t know there were yellow magnolias, way cool!

This looks like a terrific spot for a picnic!

And here is a nice place to sit and take it all in.

The road these pictures were taken on is a wide, one-way road the forms a large horseshoe off the main road. Fortunately, there were not a lot of people there and no one drove up behind me, so I was able to roll down the windows and shoot to my hearts content. I took a total of 135 pictures, between the lake and the park. I was quite happy, and relaxed, by the time I got to the chiropractor’s office!


Buffalo, Part II

March 29, 2010

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we began our journey at the waterfront by the Irish Famine Memorial. Not only had I never seen this before, but I wasn’t even aware of its existence before this past weekend.

There is a side-walk that leads up to the memorial from one side and there are 4 plaques that describe the memorial and a brief history of the famine. I will include pictures of the plaques below, but if you don’t want to read them all, I’ll summarize. Beginning in 1845, when Ireland was under British rule, there was a famine due to a failed potato crop. A million Irish died during this famine. Two million more people left Ireland during the famine. From the mid to late 19th century, Buffalo became one of the largest inland immigration ports and thousands of Irish immigrants settled in Western New York. In 1995 several Irish cultural organizations worked together to form a famine commemorative committee. A short time later, they and several other interested parties had the memorial erected. The central piece of the memorial is a granite slab from Carraroe, Galway County. The 32 limestone rocks surrounding the outer edge of the memorial are from Penrose Quay in Cork Harbor, where many immigrants last set foot in Ireland as they left. If you only read one of the plaques, I recommend the third one. It describes the significance of each part of the memorial.

Here are a couple more pictures of the memorial.

Very near the memorial were some geese, swimming in the water.

There were about a dozen geese in all, but two of them were off a ways from the others. They seemed to be engrossed in a courting ritual or something when the other geese began swimming towards them. The goose in the front of the pack and the male, I assume, from the pair began fighting. They looked so ridiculous fighting that I was giggling and forgot to take a picture. Then they stopped and the one goose from the pack began swimming quickly away while the one from the pair put its head down and began weaving it back and forth as they do on land to intimidate would-be attackers. The whole thing looked very silly, but the only picture I got of the whole affair was of the goose from the pair “yelling” at the other goose.

The two farthest to the left are the pair, the angry one on the right, and the one being scolded is the goose that seems to be swimming out of the frame.

After we watched the geese for a bit, I began taking pictures of stuff surrounding the area where the memorial is.

Sarah loves light houses, so this one is for her.

As I looked toward the Naval park, I thought these would make cool shots.

Above is the USS Little Rock. It’s pretty cool to tour, although I don’t think my back would hold up to a tour of it at this point. Below is the USS Little Rock in the foreground and USS The Sullivans. It was named after 5 brothers who were all killed in World War II when their ship, USS Juneau, was sunk. Their deaths prompted more strict regulations about separating siblings in the service. Behind the ships, on the other side of the skyway, is the HSBC Arena, where the Buffalo Sabres play.

After looking around for a little while at the waterfront, we headed into down town. Yesterday’s post describes that in detail. Once we were finished in the down town area, we moved north a ways and stopped at one of my favorite places in Buffalo, the Forst Lawn Cemetery. I am a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and his last design, which was constructed after his death, is the Blue Sky Mausoleum located in the Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The cemetery has a very park like feel to it. When Jeff worked in Buffalo, the kids and I would go visit the cemetery and have walked through a great deal of it. I sensed that Jeff wasn’t really into visiting the cemetery, so I took pictures of Blue Sky and continued driving, the long way, back to the exit. As we came around a bend, avoiding several geese who believe they own the road, I saw something I really didn’t expect. Walking among the headstones was a young looking deer.

I pulled over onto the far side of the road, rolled Jeff’s window down and took a couple of pictures. The deer stopped and just stared at us. I became a little concerned, wondering if it might spook and run into us, but it just stared. Eventually, it took a few steps and stopped to eat some grass near a headstone. Now I know that cemeteries are very open places and deer might find them good places to hang out, but this cemetery is in the middle of a densely populated, urban, residential area, with a rather high (5 or 6 foot) wrought iron fence surrounding the place! As far as I know all the entrances are off of decidely city streets. There is a park neaby, but it is also in the middle of the city. Weird!


Chimney Bluffs

March 22, 2010

We went to Chimney Bluffs yesterday and took a short hike along the lakeshore with my mom, sister, and brother. It was a fairly overcast day and the mud was crazy, but we still had a good time. I think each of us stepped in mud at least once and we all ended up with wet feet from trying to clean off the mud. The lake is mighty cold!

Brief geology lesson…these cool formations are the result of wind and water (including snow and ice) erosion to drumlins that were formed by glacier activity. That is quite possibly the most brief geology lesson I’ve ever given, lol!

I wonder how long this tree will remain rooted…

The next two pictures show pretty clearly how the action of the wind and water has badly undercut the top of the drumlin.

I read that the average loss of land per year is about 3 feet. All that material winds up on the beach and at this time of year is a muddy mess. As the mud dries it leaves some cool artwork though.

The trees from the hill above often find their way to the beach eventually.

Here is the gang. My rockhounds were looking for cool rocks. I told them to take it easy on the rock collecting! We have a lot of rocks already. Last time the kids and I were there, I think we collected about 50 pounds of rocks…not this time though! Erin found a couple she couldn’t live without, and miraculously, I only collected one! I, of course, had to have one of the kids pick it up for me…

I decided pcitures of cool rocks are much easier on my back, lol!



February 28, 2010

We have received some ridiculous amount of snow in the last 3 days…I heard one report say 17 inches. It is hard to determine an exact amount as the temperatures have hovered just above freezing, making for a rather wet, slushy, messy snow that compacts pretty well once it falls. It is perfect snowman snow.  With all the snow, the kids were bugging to go sledding. Two sleds and 3 kids meant a trip to the store for a third sled. By the time we found one, bought it, and were ready to go sledding, it was getting quite late and I was in a significant amount of pain from my back all the way down my leg into my left foot. I thought about all the places to go sledding and decided on Northhampton Park because the hill is right next to the parking lot, so I wouldn’t have to go far to watch.

There had apparently been quite a lot of activity there earlier in the day as the snow was well packed and there were even a couple of moguls built into the hill. From smallest to biggest, they all went down as the snow fell sideways!

Not the greatest pictures, but I was trying to keep the sloppy wetness off the camera and it was dusk by the time we got there, and the camera didn’t know where to focus with all the snow falling. We were only there about 45 minutes, but everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.


Birds and Such

February 15, 2010

After seeing my pictures from our outing to Mendon, Jeff commented that he wished he could have gone with us. Yesterday seemed like a nice enough day, so I suggested that we go feed the birds. We set out in the early afternoon and were a little disappointed by the number of cars in the parking lot when we arrived. But we set out anyway, searching for little winged creatures to feed. There was a bit of a breeze which, when combined with 29 degree (F) temperatures, made for an uncomfortable walk. We went to the location that I normally go and there were no birds. We stopped and listened and didn’t even hear any! Eventually, we found a spot with several people posing as human bird feeders. Jeff and the kids put out their hands and waited. Apparently the birds liked Jeff, as he had ten little chickadees and one titmouse visit his hand. I’ve been playing with the settings on my camera and as a result I got some iffy results. Here is what I got and deemed share-worthy…

After we had finished feeding the birds, we began walking back to the Jeep, when this creature poked it’s head out to retrieve some seeds that someone had left. I stopped abruptly when I saw it, but as we stood there, it would only poke it’s head out far enough to retrieve a few seeds, then it would retreat out of sight into the hole in the snow. I really have no idea what it was. It seemed too long and lacking in external ear parts to be a mouse. The only distinguishing feature I could see was a tiny pink nose. This picture is awful, but like I said, it didn’t come out far and we didn’t dare try to get any closer…


Silly Squirrels

February 4, 2010

As I mentioned yesterday, the squirrels had me laughing pretty hard at their silly antics.  Apparently these squirrels are not afraid of people, but they are cautious of them. As we walked along the trail, the squirrels were in the middle of it, along with some cardinals, searching for seeds that had fallen. There was a bit of snow, so they had to search a little to find the hidden treasures.

When we got close, the squirrels scampered off to the sides of the trail. They really wanted those seeds though, so they would cautiously sneak toward the trail.

This little guy had me laughing so hard, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to take his picture. He’d scamper toward me, stop, and put his left paw across his chest and look. Then he’d move forward and repeat his actions.

He must have decided I wasn’t too much of a threat and he got within about 2 feet of me. Mr. Squirrel was after a small pile of bird seed that Kyle had left on the edge of the trail when he decided his fingers were too cold to hold it out for the birds any longer.

After several seconds of obvious debate over his own safety, he went for it, much to my delight!

If I had reached out, I could have bent over and patted his head. Not that I am quite crazy enough to do such a thing…

I thought this one looked like he was praying. Perhaps praying that he wouldn’t become prey, or maybe he was just thanking God for such a bounty! In actuality, he was eating a sunflower seed.

I think these next two squirrels read one to many Where’s Waldo books…

He looked very much like he was trying to, “be the tree.”

Very trusting of that really dead branch!

Normally I find squirrels annoying, especially when they are dangling upside-down from my squirrel-proof bird feeder trying to figure out why they can’t get to the seeds. However, when I encounter them in a park or somewhere more natural than my city backyard, I usually find their curiosity comical. My humor does not, however, extend to the very evil black Canadian squirrels! But that is an altogether different story, best forgotten!