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


Flying along the Lake

Doulbe-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

While out on the pontoon boat we saw a few things flying along Chautauqua Lake.

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage 2009

Old Growth Walk
Old Growth Walk (Photo by Patty)

Last weekend the 51st annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was held in Allegany State Park. This is my 14th year attending the pilgrimage and my 11th year as a trip leader. The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was started by Gilbert Burgeson (aka Gib) who traveled to Tennesee to visit their daughter. While in Tennessee he attended the Smokey Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage and said, “Why can’t we have a pilgrimage? Why not at Allegany Park?”! Over the past 51 years the organization still frequently has visitors from all over the United States, Canada and other Countries to attend the Pilgrimage weekend. (more…)

Photo Stories [Wordless Wednesday]

White Admiral with Bird Prints
White Admiral

Sometimes a photo can tell a story without using any words. Here is a series of Butterfly photos that I took and doesn’t need a description.

Dragonflies by a Mist Net

Beaverpond Clubtail
Beaver Pond Clubtail

Not only were we able to catch birds during the Great Outdoors Program but we were also able to catch 3 different species of dragonflies. I felt bad that the insect station was able to catch 1 Common Baskettail with all those kids running around with butterfly nets . . . I was innocently catching a few of each species without trying.

Resting and Enjoying Everything Around Me

Monarch butterflies are still flying.

Instead of heading home early from work today to take a nap (like I wanted to do) . . . . I just kept busy spending the day with Adele looking butterflies and dragonflies that are still flying around. We only located 3 Monarch butterflies, 2 Darner species and a dozen or so Familiar Bluets over in Quaker Lake. I have closed the Owl Nets this evening due to a storm pushing through the area just after dusk (which gives me a rest day). . . . so here are a few random pictures I have taken that I wanted to share. (more…)

Chimney Swifts in Allegany State Park

Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift

One of my joys of being around Allegany State Park is watching the Chimney Swifts entering chimneys around the Administration Building during dusk hours. These unique birds look almost like flying cigars and are remarkable fliers. You typically hear them chattering before you ever get a chance to see them. Chimney Swifts are constantly flying throughout the day in search of food and can travel long distances. They will roost and nest in chimneys and are historically known to use the hollow trees in the forest for nesting. I sometimes wonder if they are not still doing this in some areas. (more…)

Insect Searching

Green Darner up close

Green Darner Up Close

Between dodge ball and many other fun activities this weekend . . . . we still found a few hours to focus on insects. We headed out to the Bova Area and quickly caught a few butterflies species flying around. They included the Common Ringlets, Pearl Crescents and Eastern Tailed Blue but those dragonflies were what everyone was most focused on. (more…)


kids fishing

Yesterday the Recreation Department hosted their first fishing derby here in Allegany State Park. This derby was for kids aged 15 and under with over 150 children who registered to participate in this event. I was asked to help with the fishing tournament at one of the check in stations to report their captures (then release their fish due to this being a catch and release event). (more…)

Unwanted Visitor at the SWAT site!

Juv Downy Woodpecker

A very light colored juvenile Downy Woodpecker

We had a wonderful day banding birds over at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station today. We had a family visit who has been camping here in the park for a very long time, two couples from buffalo make it down, Young Naturalist C (who was the Banding Assistant for the day) and her sister Young Naturalist E visit the banding station. But, you ask, “who was the unwanted visitor??”!! I will get to it . . . . I promise!! (more…)

NYS Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey (Odonata)

Twelve-spotted Skimmer and group

Twelve-spotted Skimmer and group

Today was the Western New York training session for the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey which has been organized by the NYS Natural Heritage Program. Funds for this project have come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services State Wildlife Grants Program which is administered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This year’s training session was held at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and is the same location where the training was held two years ago. (more…)

Allegany Post by Others

Having some problems with the post I had planned! SORRY! So, here are a few other blog post that I have found that are related to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage that everyone should check out :

Biological Ramblings – You must see the amazing herps that he found here in Allegany!

A Passion for Nature – Jen had such a wonderful time that I rarely saw her!

Dragonfly Eye  – Jeremy is amazing with the Dragonflies! Just check out the Dflies he found! Hint (Common Sanddragon)

Life in the Bristolwood was a blog that I found via a google search!

Jeff  – How cool, found also in the google search and Jeff attended my Old Growth Walk!  Would have commented but not a my space member.

Bill of the Birds – who was our Saturday evening speaker! Heck, he’s BT3 what else can I say!

While you are catching up on the recent Allegany Nature Pilgrimage post, I will figure out what went wrong with the post I had planned!!  BTW:  Wednesday morning I am doing my rescheduled SWAT – MAPS banding that was canceled due to he rain on Monday.  Expect many more great up close banding photos!

One Year Ago, I got my …

Way back in high school we never had a camera club but we did have a journalism class. I had dated one of the girls who did the photography in the class and yes, my first kiss was in the dark room! I can still feel the goose-bumps just thinking about it. While spending many hours in the dark room (wink), I also learned about the basics of film processing! She told me which chemicals to use, proper framing of the pictures, and many other tricks in developing black and white photography. This experience ended up getting me the job of developing all the photos for a local weekly newspaper for about 2 years. At that time I used a free 35mm point and shoot camera for all my crazy little pictures that I took. Then I finally purchased my Nikon 6006 (SLR) back in 1995 and carried this camera everywhere I went. Birds were my passion and using a 400mm was essential for me in capturing them on film. This was also my earlier years of doing Environmental Education and I switched over to taking slide film instead of 35mm film. Using slide projectors were the way of life for so many years and I never thought that would ever change? (more…)

Allenburg Bog

Allenburg Bog

Dragonfly Eye gave me a call yesterday and asked if I wanted to join him in search of the Boghaunter. If you are not familiar of the Boghaunter (I wasn’t), it is a rare Dragonfly that is frequently found in areas associated with bogs. Jeremy informed me that none of the Boghaunter species have ever been found at Allenburg Bog (Cattaraugus County, NY) area. He wanted to visit the bog to see if we could find any of them flying yet. Of course I am always up for an adventure and couldn’t resist in also taking the time to look for newly arrived warblers! (more…)

Kenn Kaufman at RTPI

Kenn Kaufman spent the evening talking to many guest and members of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. Kenn is the fourth author who has been invited to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series at RTPI (funded through the Johnson Foundation). Kenn is best known as the author of the book Kingbird Highway and his Kaufman Focus Field Guides. Tonight was the official release date for his newest Focus Guide on the Insects of North America and it looks like a very useful guide for any nature enthusiast (I know its going in my library).

Kenn Speaking (more…)

365 days on flickr

Thanks for an amazing 365 days!

I joined flickr one year ago and uploaded some butterfly pictures to a world which I never expected to change my life like it did. I have learned soo much from everyone and I have made such wonderful friends on the site. I helped Bird Mom in organizing camp flickr and attended some other flickr meets that have been scheduled. I have been encouraged through flickr to create this blog and share all my experiences with everyone. I started a few groups like herps and insects in the hand. So much has been learned by just looking at everyones pictures. I would like to thanks everyone for just being there for me when I need a smile. THANKS!

Pictures which made the top 500 on flickr’s explorer

What has made explorer over the past year!

1. Saying So Long for Another Season, 2. Waxwing when we use to have leaves!, 3. Herring Gulls riding the wind, 4. Northern Saw-whet Owl, 5. darner species, 6. running away newt, 7. Red House Creek, 8. a Happy Red Squirrel,

9. Summer Velvet, 10. Trouble Bears, 11. summer azure, 12. mamma and the kids, 13. cecropia moth, 14. big campfire, 15. Along the side of the road!, 16. Office Visitor,

17. Sharp-shinned Hawk, 18. can I help you with something, 19. woodfrog eggs, 20. an older monarch photo, 21. Snowdrops in the Rain, 22. Northern Saw-whet Owl, 23. Mini Me!, 24. Scotish Highland Cow,

25. Red House Lake, 26. A Summer Millipede, 27. Viceroy, 28. Gray Comma Looking a little camouflage!, 29. NSWO, 30. White Admiral

Not Expected

Not much to say (after the grouse encounter) but I wanted to share this photo of the Shadow Darner that I was able to capture in flight.  I was chasing around some warblers (never did get any good photos) and found this dragonfly teasing me! Going back in time, I have been spending a great deal of time trying to capture any dragonfly in flight (without any luck).  Here, I took two quick shots and just went back to chasing those warblers.  Once I got home, I never expected to find this in the camera!


darner species

Visit to Jamestown Audubon

big pond

Today I visited Jamestown Audubon for their exhibit grand opening.  The day was truly joyful and I was able to visit with many friends.  Before the Audubon opened, I took a walk around the big pond and this is what I saw.

Cardinal Flower  Audubon Nature Trail  Honeybees

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =   Jamestown Audubon  Painted Turtle and Mini Me

Green Back Heron  Pokeweed  Common Checkered Skipper

A flickr get-together looking for Dragonflies

Took the day off of work today and spend the afternoon with Jeremy and Karen Martin Pictures over at the James A. Zaepfel Nature Sanctuary and Research Center.  Jeremy had taught me some great info on improving my dragonfly pictures and gave me info on how to identify some different dragonflies!  Here are a few thumbnails from some pictures that I took.


Taking the Pictures! Silver-Bordered Fritillary Common White Tail Shadows 

Blue Dasher Northern Leopard Frog I believe female white faced meadowhawk 

Great Spangled Fritillary Green Darner White-faced Meadowhawk