Winter in the nature sanctuary, part one

On Sunday, Jay Burney, who writes a column called “Greenwatch” for The Public in Buffalo, came to the Riverside-Salem Environmental Chapel in Grand Island. He said, “We are one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.”  He described the biodiversity of the Niagara Region as being “truly first class.” For example, nineteen species of gulls have been found here. Many species of ducks, swans, and geese also make their way to this region. For these birds, when they migrate south for the winter, this area offers them their first opportunity to find open water for shelter.
Unfortunately, many bird populations are in decline.
The Niagara Region is a globally significant important bird area. A few of the others are the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, the Florida Everglades, and Yellowstone National Park.

It is amazing to have such an interesting treasure so close to home. It is a great opportunity, and I have tried to take advantage of it. In August, I started my 366-day photography project by walking to Buckhorn Island State Park, a wildlife sanctuary and restored wetland. After I looked at the pictures, I decided that I would visit Buckhorn Island at least once each season to photograph the scenes. In October, I took my autumn collection of pictures. Yesterday was a warm winter day, so I chose to take my winter series then.

The lack of leaves on the trees means that it is easier to see the shape of the branches. 

The water freezes over, and the ice creates interesting and unusual shapes near the water.

This is the bridge over the marsh. Since I was here in October, the guard rail was built.

Many people bring their dogs to the park. The dogs enjoy themselves and meet new friends, both human and canine.

This is where the marsh and the river become one.

This is the partially frozen marsh.

Here is another view of the partially frozen marsh.

This is an even closer view of the water, the old vegetation, and the pedestrian bridge.

From this angle, you can see Niagara Falls in the distance, on the other side of the river.

The starkness of the winter scene is beautiful, but sad. Everything looks dead but the land is just dormant. It is cold and quiet and gorgeous.

The ice forms in the water and breaks off in large chunks, floating freely in the river.

The shapes of the tree branches are truly a sight to behold.

There are so many shapes, just in a single tree.

The storms come and the trees fall. This tree, though looks as if it had been cut into logs.

I walk on the snow-covered trail in the forest. I look at everything around me. I see the tracks that the deer left but, on this day, I see no animals.

This is a view of the bridges that connect Grand Island to Niagara Falls.

Here is a view of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on the other side of the river.

I’m not sure if the Niagara River completely freezes over in the winter because the water moves so fast. But, for sure, there is ice in the river.

This rock formation is filled with snow.

This is Grand Island’s closest point to Niagara Falls.

There is a very small island near Grand Island. I’ve never seen people there but, in warmer weather, that island is covered with birds.

Tomorrow: The rest of the Buckhorn Island State Park pictures, as well as a little history of the Niagara River.

3 thoughts on “Winter in the nature sanctuary, part one”

  1. I rarely see snow in person. I love the way that you have captured how winter transforms the landscape by adding a blanket of ice and snow.

  2. Hi Alice,
    I could not find your contact form so apologies for posting here.

    I have been nominated for a Sunshine Blogger award and am spreading the 'sunshine' by nominating your blog as well. You have brought Sunshine to my day on many occasions simply by stopping by and liking or commenting on one of my posts. I have also enjoyed reading your blog posts and seeing your photos in return. I hope you will accept this award and pas on the sunshine to those that have made your day.
    Regards, Lee-Anne

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