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

Nature

Fungi 1

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Mycena genus??

By: Pat Coate

You can’t go for a hike without seeing some variety of mushroom or other fungi. I have seen many types over the years and have been fascinated by their many shapes, sizes and colors. So I decided to start taking pictures of them in hopes of someday identifying them. A couple weeks back I went to the library and checked out a book touted as “the most comprehensive mushroom guide ever, with over 1,000 color photographs.” The lady handling the checkout didn’t so much as bat an eye, for which I was grateful.

The book immediately gets your attention with a discussion of poisonous species, like the dreaded Death Cap, and of poisoning symptoms ranging from an array of digestive nuisances to coma and death. I’ll just focus on their pretty shapes, sizes and colors and not dwell on their more sinister side.

I decided to start my ID quest with the three photos I’ve posted today, all of which were taken this last September. After spending an hour scouring 1,000 photos I think I have it narrowed down to about 5 choices for each picture. Other than being much more cooperative about getting their picture taken, I’m not sure which is easier – fungi or bird identification. I’ve taken my best shot at the IDs, but I am not sure of any of them. If any reader knows the correct ID I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. Thanks.
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Early Morning Thaw


Another hard frost this morning.

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Hard Frost This Morning


Had a very hard frost this morning with everything with the most beautiful layer of white coated on top of everything!

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Canada Goose


Canada Goose are still in Red House Lake!! Photo taken back in 2007.

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Happy Halloween


Another old favorite photo of mine!! Happy Halloween everyone!!

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Texture


When the leaves fall off the tree . . . all you have left is the texture from the bark.

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Soaring Ravens

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Common Raven

By: Pat Coate

While in Canada last month I had several very fun encounters with a group of ravens. They hung out in the vicinity of the cottage where I was staying and seemed keenly aware of the comings and goings in the area. As I would head out for a walk with our dog, they would immediately make a noisy appearance. Then they would provide several minutes of entertainment, as they seemed to be just having a ball as they soared above us. They would chase each other, surf the wind currents, and ride a current seemingly to its peak like a cresting wave. The silhouette photos below capture some of their hijinks. My favorite is the second to last where I was able to catch a bit of their stunt pilot show, where they would actually do flips and briefly fly upside down.

Near the end of my visit, I heard a dog barking. Since the nearest neighbor is a couple miles away I went outside to investigate. Turns out it was one of these characters doing a very passable imitation. I had no idea ravens could be so boisterous and downright entertaining. Some internet research seems to indicate that this was a group of youngsters and the behavior I observed is not uncommon. Here’s hoping for an encore performance next year!
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beautiful is bliss


This photo is from 2002 but looked similar to the Pearl Crescent that I found flying around today here in Allegany State Park. Kinda worn but also later in the year than I normally see them. It is a very warm day today with many other Sulphurs flying around with the Crescent.

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Bridal Falls


More Fall Time Photos from my archives. This is a picture of Bridal Falls here in Allegany State Park.

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Green Darner up close


A friend of mine wanted to use this photo for a project she’s working on. Figured this would be a great opportunity to share it with the world. Up Close look of a Green Darner!!

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Witch-hazel in flower!


I just love October Flowering Trees

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Wood Ducks

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Wood Duck (male)

By: Pat Coate

North Chagrin Nature Reserve in Willoughby Hills near Cleveland is supposed to be one of the premier locations to photograph wood ducks. Last weekend, along with the wood duck photo ops, they sponsored a nature photography weekend. So with the allure of the wood ducks and the added bonus of the seminar, I decided to head to Willoughby Hills to check things out.

The keynote speaker was actually not a nature photographer, but a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist – Jay Dickman. His photos were fantastic as was his presentation on how he captured his shots.

As for the wood ducks, the weather wasn’t as sunny as forecast, but there were a few breaks in the clouds that provided some good lighting to try to capture these spectacularly plumed ducks.
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Administration Building in the Fall


I know the leaves are gone here in Allegany State Park but this was a photo I took in 2003 and one of my favorites of the Administration Building. This year the Administration Building had the new slate roof installed and should be completed this week sometime. It will be nice having our parking area returned and the building looking normal again.

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Fall Orange Sulphur


Bringing back some of my older photos . . . here is one of our October Fall Orange Sulphur’s (but from 2005) here in Allegany State Park.

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Red House Lake


Pulling up a favorite Red House Lake fall photo of mine. Leaves are currently burnt orange and are falling . . . . not to spectacular colors, so this will work as an alternative. Happy Fall Everyone!

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First day of frost


Today was the first day of frost up at the new house! This photo was
taken at Red House Lake this morning on my iPhone. Owl net not set up
yet. . . Hope to get that going ASAP!!

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Scenes from Saturday

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By: Pat Coate

I drove out to Randolph this past Saturday and these are some of the scenes from my day. It was a rather dreary day but I found some sights to brighten it.
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A Very Yellowthroat

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Common Yellowthroat Warbler (female)

By: Pat Coate

During my visit to Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland, Ontario I ran into a very cooperative female common yellowthroat warbler. I had seen lots of common yellowthroats – mostly males – at Tom’s bird banding stations but had not really had more than a quick look at this bird in the ‘wild’. So it was nice to have an extended look.

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Puff the Magic Cedar Waxwing

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Cedar Waxwing Pre-puff

By: Pat Coate

I love telecommuting and very happily spent the last two weeks on a working vacation up in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario. I spent a cool, rainy Labor Day visiting Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland. I had seen a tree full (~30) of cedar waxwings by Black Ash Pond early in the day but the lighting was tough for a decent picture. I checked back in the same area later in the day. This lone, inquisitive cedar waxwing landed fairly close so I decided to try a few shots despite continued tough lighting conditions. To my amusement, it “blew up” right in front of me. The pictures aren’t the greatest but it was a fun experience to see this sleek, attractive bird puff itself out in such dramatic fashion. Not sure if it was trying to warm itself or if it was a reaction to my presence but it didn’t stay puffed very long.
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Beggars

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Common Grackles (2010)

By: Pat Coate

From time to time we will see parents and fledglings coming to the feeder. It is always fun to watch their interactions and see the maternal/paternal instincts in action. The young ones are quite demanding and seem to unmercifully beg for food from the parent. In these two cases, the parents were accomodating.
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Birds of Prey

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Broad-winged Hawk

By: Pat Coate

Last Sunday the Canyon Camera Club sponsored its 8th Annual Photographer’s Dream Day at the Mount Morris Dam & Visitor Center. There were tours of and views from the dam and a couple of great seminars on photography in Letchworth State Park presented by Gary & Phyllis Thompson of Image City Photography (Rochester). There were many different subjects to photograph, including antique autos and bikes, and people in costume – a bagpiper, Seneca Indian, Mary Jamison, pioneers.

My favorite subjects to photograph, however, were provided by Ron Walker of Friends with Feathers. Friends with Feathers is an organization whose stated mission is to educate the public about birds of prey. Mr. Walker had on hand a broad-winged hawk, barn owl and barred owl that for various reasons cannot be released. It was fun to see these birds up close and learn more about them. Tidbits of information from the Friends with Feathers website are shown below in quotes.

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Trip to Milwaukee

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Marquette Golden Eagles

By: Pat Coate

We recently trekked out to Milwaukee to drop our daughter off at Marquette University. Situated on Lake Michigan, Milwaukee seems to be a vibrant city with an appealing waterfront offering biking/walking/jogging trails, parks, an art museum, Discovery World, ethnic and music festival sites. Milwaukee also offers a great variety of ethnic food and we enjoyed a Mexican restaurant, La Fuente, for dinner in the 9th (?) Ward.

The Marquette Golden Eagle was the most unique bird we saw. During our limited time along the waterfront, we only saw fairly common birds such as Canada geese, mallards, mixed flocks of swallows, ring-billed gulls, and pigeons. During our drive (near Crystal Lake, Illinois) we passed two groups of Sandhill cranes in the fields but not conveniently located for photo ops.
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Chickadees

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Black-capped Chickadee

By: Pat Coate

Over the past couple of weeks, the chickadee count at our backyard feeder has increased and their busyness and calls greet me most mornings. They are the first to the feeder after a refill, often barely able to contain themselves while waiting for me to move the requisite few steps away. They don’t seem to require this distance for our dog, who is often right under the feeder while they grab a seed and retreat to the nearby maple tree.
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Fun in Bermuda

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Great Kiskadee

By: Pat Coate

A couple weeks back, I had the good fortune to get together with my roommate and five other friends from college, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. We had a grand time cruising from Baltimore to Bermuda. While in Bermuda I spent a morning birding and biking. I had read that Bermuda had many of the same birds that we have in WNY and it was very true, but I did manage a couple exceptions.

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