My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Author Archive

Rough-legged Hawk

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Rough-legged Hawk

By: Pat Coate

Besides the Snowy Owl, we have another Arctic bird of prey wintering in our area – the Rough-legged Hawk. These birds breed in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia. In Europe and Asia they are known as Rough-legged Buzzards.

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Snowy Owl Harassed by Common Ravens

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Snowy Owl being harassed by Common Ravens

By: Pat Coate

I recently sat in my car with the window down observing and photographing a snowy owl perched on its usual utility pole. I heard and saw a lone raven flying from the north, quorking (one of the common raven’s vocalizations) as it flew. The snowy owl seemed to hear the raven too as it immediately flew directly over my car and landed on the ground along the driveway at the gravel pits.

Another car drove into the gravel pit driveway spooking the owl which then flew off across the frozen quarry.

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Snowy Owls

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Snowy Owl

By: Pat Coate

As we all shiveringly know there has been an amazing influx of frigid Arctic air this winter, reluctantly causing us to add the phrase “Polar Vortex” to our vocabulary. But, thankfully, the Arctic region has provided us with more than just frigid temps this winter – it has also provided us an influx (or more appropriately an irruption) of one of its stunning birds of prey – Snowy Owls.

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A Couple of Backyard Birds

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American Goldfinch

By: Pat Coate

The American Goldfinch is a common visitor to our backyard, visiting both the sunflower and nyjer seed feeders. And goldfinches never come alone, seems there is always a minimum of three when they show up and often many more. Their song, which they chatter quite effusively, seems so cheerful that I think they must be very happy birds.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Female Wild Turkey with her brood

By: Pat Coate

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, enjoying family, friends and football!

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Eternal Flame Falls

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Eternal Flame Falls (photo taken in autumn, flame lower right)

By: Pat Coate

I had heard good things about the Eternal Flame Falls hike at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, NY. So while in the area with a little extra time I decided to check it out. Here is a description of the eternal flame phenomenon from http://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/eternal-flame-falls/:

“As you approach the falls, the smell of rotten-egg-like natural gas fills the air within the ravine. This is the result of seepage from layers of organically-rich Hanover Shale. … The gasses produced during the decomposition of the organics within the rock deposits are under pressure and push out through cracks and loose layers within the rock. One large fissure is located right within Eternal Flame Falls, in a small grotto that protects the gas seepage from the falling water and any wind, enabling it to sustain a flame when lit.”

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Terns in Myrtle Beach

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Sandwich Terns – Adult with juvenile

By: Pat Coate

Don’t see too many terns in my part of Western NY, so I enjoyed seeing a couple species while in Myrtle Beach. Both were life birds for me.

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