Jones Beach Owls

This is a public service announcement on my part. I went Jones Beach today and had shocking encounter with two people. They acted like I was too close to the owl. I was not. One claimed she was from the Audubon Society. She said the rule is 500 feet. I told her the signs at the park say 100 feet is the limit of how close you can get. She said there are no signs. I told her there were two I saw. She said the park did not put them up, someone just did that on their own. The man was yelling at me. First, they said I was closer than 500 feet. After I said the rule was 100, then they said I was closer than 100. I was not.

The owl got spooked twice when these people approached. The first time because two people approached from the side opposite me and at a pace that was too fast. I had been there a while and the owl had not moved. As soon as the two people approached quickly, he flew off. I was still and more than 100 feet away. The owl flew off to another dune. The second time the owl flew off was because the man started yelling again. He was standing right next to me. Again I was a lot farther than 100 feet watching the second dune he landed on. The man’s yelling spooked the owl. While he was yelling and the owl started flying, he made sure he got pictures though.

Sign one. It is poor quality due to weather fading, but clearly readable. 100 foot minimum. Department of Environmental Conservation. I was told by one regular photographer here that this is not even the rule at some other places. They post it here. I looked for info on the DEC website about Snowy Owls. A short search did not yield a 100 foot rule. I will still follow it as I have done.

I took pictures of the signs and went into the park office near West End 2 . I told them what happened and asked what the rule was. The lady inside at the desk said 100 feet. She said they put the signs up. She told me not to listen to those people and she was sorry that happened to me.

Sign 2. Clearly readable . 100 foot minimum. These are both at the entrances of the two foot paths to the beach. One is closer to the West End new building. It was on a snow fence. The other I believe was on a pole on the path walking from the building the restrooms are in.

I could say more about what they said and did, but I am trying to hold my tongue. Their actions later did not match up with their 500 foot rule needless to say.

Moral of the story, if you plan to go to see the snowy at Jones Beach follow the 100 feet rule. Do not let these two bully you. They are wrong. One would think yelling near an owl and approaching quickly from a second direction would be major issue if you really cared about owls.

Snowy Owl

Jones Beach is known for its 6.5 miles of white sand on the
Atlantic Ocean on New York’s Long Island. It is also known for its outdoor concerts in warmer months and drive through holiday lights display November through January. What is it also known for this year? It is known for some snowy owls who are visiting from a much colder climate.

The owl mostly slept all morning on top of a sand dune. Once in a while it would open an eye slightly.

Jones Beach is a barrier island encompassing 2,400 acres on the south shore of Long Island. It is a state park that includes the West End Energy and Nature Center at West End 2.

Eyes opened! Quick take a shot!

It has a variety of birds that can be seen at different points in the year including oystercatchers, terns, northern harper hawks, plovers, brants, and now the snowy owl. On the day I went I was told 2-3 were sighted there within a few days prior. That day I found one.

At this point in the day the weather would not look promising. Both eyes opened! Ocean is the dark area in the background.

I arrived around 10 in the morning, but took a long break in the middle of the afternoon to warm up in my car. I ended up leaving around 6 p.m. The light varied throughout the day from dark and cloudy to very sunny.

If you go to spot a snowy owl, know they are protected. Don’t make any unnecessary noise and keep a distance. I believe the sign at the entrance says to stay at least 100 feet away. It also stated there was a 250 dollar fine for violating that. I did see one person early on who I think was doing just that as he was low crawling up one side of the dune the owl was sleeping on. I have a zoom lens and these are cropped a lot.

This was later in the afternoon. I stuck to the shady side as it appeared to me the owl was facing this way most of the time. I hope to go again and have the sun to my back. I never heard a sound from this owl. The surf was high that day and it was windy. I think this was actually a yawn.

I was so happy to get this opportunity to see this owl. My friends Andrew and his wife Theresa let me know about this place to view the owls. Thank you Andrew and Theresa! I will post more pictures taken in the late afternoon and evening in another post. Happy New Year everyone!

The Last Days of Autumn

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. Author Unknown

The pictures below were all taken recently in the Hudson Valley of New York. Some animals stay here the entire year. Others come from regions further north to winter here. Hopefully, I will catch some of these winter visitors soon.

Found this guy on top of a power pole alongside a rural road.
Squirrel stuffing himself silly on a branch in the woods.

Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge

The next photos are from a short trip I took a wildlife refuge. I hope to return there this weekend weather permitting.

Two bluebirds in the field. They followed me around on my walk.
Possibly their nest was in the the hole of this tree.
This hawk flies fairly low over the field then dives to get its prey.
Hawk flying with the Gunks in the background

Fall unofficially ended today with a major snowstorm. We could get over a foot by the time it passes through. Did the animals know a storm would be arriving soon? Do animals sense these things? Can they forecast weather?

Hay Bail Cow

Hay Bale Cow at McEnroe’s Organic Farm and Market in Millerton. NY.

I found another hay bale art piece. This one was also in New York. Some farmers wrap the hay bale in what looks like plastic. This farmer painted the covers for the hay bales. They made a cow. I guess this way the animals can still eat the hay because there is no paint on the bales. We have had a lot of dreary weather. Quite typical for November and December. Stay safe!

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday was started as a campaign to get people to shop at small, local businesses the day after Black Friday. Black Friday is said to be the biggest shopping day of the year and falls after Thanksgiving in the U.S. Some towns promote every Saturday as Small Business Saturday. Regardless, in this pandemic if shops are open, go out and support your local mom and pop stores if you are able. The chain stores saw most of the traffic yesterday. Help keep small, local businesses alive.

Millerton, N.Y. a small town in NY on the Connecticut border, had Santa and elves to greet people coming to their Main Street.

Pandemic Humor

From some memes:

“Sorry folks, the world is closed!”

“I’m not buying a 2021 planner until I see the trailer.”

“Not to brag, but I used soap before it was trending.”

Been busy over the last few weeks with work. I hope to get some pictures in the next few days. Stay safe.

Hay Bale Halloween

What do farmer’s do this time of year when they are bored? Some make hay bale art. What is hay bale art? When someone gets a bales of hay, arranges them to make an object, and paints them. The hay bales used can be cylindrical, cube, or rectangular prism-shaped. This art is more popular in farming states like Montana, but it is also popular in parts of Australia. Here are some examples I found in the Hudson Valley of New York. Happy Halloween!

This one appears to be made of rectangular prism shaped hay bales.
The rest of these are formed using rolled up or cylinder-shaped hay bales.

Paddling Fish Creek Ponds to Other Ponds

The Adirondack Mountains in New York has a lot of places to paddle where you do not have to get out of the water to go from one pond of lake to another. Others lakes or ponds may have cary paths between them. Fish Creek Ponds is another body of water you can access multiple bodies of water through without getting out of your canoe or kayak.

I actually launched from Follensby Clear Pond. The launch is near the Spider Creek Passage into Fish Creek Ponds. I launched from there to get two chances to see the loon baby and its mom. Going through Fish Creek Ponds after you go under the Route 30 bridge you see Fish Creek Ponds Campgrounds along the pond. These are paid sites. I could see a playground, beach, and fishing area.

Square Pond
On Fish Creek Ponds heading towards Square Pond
Square Pond Entrance

From there you can access Square Pond . I went in this body of water a short distance then turned and went towards Fish Creek.

Fish Creek

Fish Creek is a fairly wide creek in most areas. It is like a highway for canoeists and kayakers. Along the way you pass a dock to the canoe carry heading towards Follensby Clear Pond. The dock was too short for my 10 foot kayak to park at and the water next to the dock was too deep for me to step into. It was really more for canoes. This would be another way to get to Follensby Clear Pond avoiding a long paddle through Fish Creek Ponds, Spider Creek Passage and into Follensby Clear Pond.

Under this camp ground road leads into Fish Creek.
Once you went up Fish Creek a short ways, only boats with electric motors under 5 horsepower were allowed. This is great for kayakers and canoeists. It is also good for the wildlife.
Instead of paddling all the way back to Follensby Clear Pond from there a canoeist could pull up here and carry through a path to the pond. I tried to get out there ,but even on a sit on top kayak it was a no go. The dock was too short and the water right up to the land was too deep. I think it was actually about 2 1/2 to 3 feet deep or more next to the docks. It was all a very short area. I could not get close going head first or backwards to the dock in my over 10 foot kayak.
Copperas Pond
They actually had a sign up where you turn for this pond.

Next up was Copperas Pond. There are two primitive campsites on this body of water. They are across then pond from each other. Each has an open outhouse or privy. Behind the campsite I tied up at you also got a view of a another pond that had no outlet connecting it to other bodies of water.

Looking towards the opposite end of the pond. I saw an eagle flying towards another pond from here. The eagles in the Adirondacks travel from pond to pond or lake to lake.
This was looking towards the exit of Copperas Pond into Fish Creek.
Passage from Fish Creek into Floodwood Pond

Next I started paddling towards a Fish Creek passage that connects to Floodwood Pond and eventually Rollins Pond. Little Square Pond is beyond the entrance to this passage. It is unnamed on maps, but it may still be considered Fish Creek. At the entrance there was another primitive campsite. Floodwood Pond has several primitive campsites along it.

The water here was shallow.

I turned back before Floodwood as I had already paddled quite a ways from Follensby Clear Pond. I will save Floodwood and Rollins for another trip.

Wildlife
This was a long Fish Creek heading back. This is a beaver lodge. Beavers abound in the Adirondacks, but it appears this one, if still active does not dam the bodies of water.

I did see loons along the way. These ponds and creeks had more boat traffic due to the campgrounds on Fish Creek Ponds and Rollins Pond. Most of Fish Creek was not for power boats. Way back on Fish Creek beyond Copperas Pond I saw a loon who was quite busy fishing. I also saw a loon near the campgrounds at Fish Creek Ponds and a mother loon and her baby on the other side of Fish Creek Ponds near the private houses closer to Follensby Clear Pond.

In the summer there is more traffic on these bodies of water than others. It is due to two large campgrounds on Rollins Pond and Fish Creek Ponds. Both of those campgrounds allow caravans/campers. Despite that fact, it is still a nice place to paddle. I want to return to kayak from Rollins Pond to Floodwood Pond.

Paddling Jones Pond to Osgood Pond Via Jones Pond Outlet

Do you want an option to paddle multiple bodies of water without getting out of your kayak or canoe? Do you want a place to camp while paddling? Jones Pond and Osgood Pond in the Adirondack Mountains of NY are accessible to each other via the Jones Pond Outlet. Both have free campsites on or near the ponds.

I started at Jones Pond on this September Day. There are campsites along Jones Pond next to the road and off the road accessible by car. Jones Pond also has a boat launch that makes it easy to get in a kayak via water. Jones Pond is also accessible to Rainbow Lake via a carry path.

Kayak launch on Jones Pond. You can access this via a dirt road off of Jones Pond Road. It was not ell marked when I was there. Usually there is a sign at the road. The sign was at that time was easy to miss. You can get to Jones Pond Road via 86 near Paul Smiths or from 60 on the other end of the road. The road to the boat launch is closer to the 60 end of the road.
In Jones Pond going towards Osgood Pond.
Entering Jones Pond Outlet, a waterway/ stream between the ponds.
A beaver dam that I had to clear a couple of sticks from to go across. The Jones Pond Outlet is quite accessible via Kayak. I think canoeists may have slightly more difficulty navigating the beaver dams.
A hawk I saw along the way.
Where the Jones Pond Passage meets Osgood Pond.
This couple was part of a small group of canoes. They started at Osgood Pond and tried to head to Jones Pond. They decided to turn around at the beaver dam. There is a beach area to the right of the entrance to the lake. I have seen different groups taking lunch breaks on that small beach.

Other bodies of water are accessible via Osgood Pond. I will not put photos of Osgood here as I have a post from another trip detailing Osgood and the passage to another Pond.

On my return and eagle was circling over my head at Jones Pond. That pesky beaver had a lodge in the grass area near where the pond meets the outlet. The weather was nice, but windy so I got my exercise for the day.

I highly recommend this trip especially if you want to camp along or near one of these bodies of water. Bring a lunch and plenty to drink. It involves a couple hours each way, but it is worth the ride.

Franklinton Vlaie

Do you want a great spot to paddle in the Catskills? Fancy a nice spot to see wildlife along the way? One such place is Franklinton Vlaie. It is part of a wildlife management area south of Middleburgh, NY.

Vlaie or Vly is the Dutch term for swamp. This pond has marshy areas, woodlands, and farmland around it. It is viewable from State Route 145. This is a few miles south of Middleburgh. The pond appears on maps to be over a mile long in length. The pond covers 85 acres while the Franklinton Vlaie Wildlife Management Area that it is in covers 195 acres.

Access

There is a small parking area off of 145 on Gates Hill Road near the boat launch. Kayaks and canoes are allowed. Motorboats are not. They have a dock to launch a canoe from and an area closer to the road near it to launch a kayak from in shallow water. There is no camping on this pond.

One happy rescue puppy living a great dog’s life. I understand this dog has gone camping in the Adirondacks with its owners and hiked one of the high peaks with them.
Animals

I went because I heard an eagle can be sighted there. I did not see one, however it is documented on their site that there is a nest. I looked for a nest, but did not see one. Perhaps I will get the chance to return in late fall or early spring when the leaves are down to see if I can spot the nest. However, I did see my first kingfisher. I followed it as it flew from tree to tree along the water.

When I was there I saw a few other kayakers and canoers. People were fishing. Motorboats are not allowed, so it is a nice place to paddle. If you like a fairly traffic free place to paddle, this should be on your list.