Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

The RiverHag hails incognito from her office in Binghamton, New York.

Peace to All.

Little Pond

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Day

I love the lacework that left after the leaves fall. That's the Walnut Street Bridge in the distance.
I don't know what this is, but it's pretty peeking up through the dying grasses.
These are one of two last flocks hanging around the breeding island in the City of Elmira.
The windfall looks desolate in the winter, but there is life all around and inside it.
A view of the progressing of fall, green to yellow to bare, all set off by the levee.
Don't you just love the lacework? The birds move in an out of it, never missing a beat, never getting snagged.
Storms moving in from the West, coming down from the Great Lakes.

Finally, only the Mallards are left of all the ducks. They are safe from hunting season for now.


Little Pond

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Which Chemung River fish grows over two feet long, has thin tiger stripes (vertical, not along the length of its body) and hangs around in the shallows, hunting among the rocks.

I don't have the answer, and the river itself wouldn't sit still long enough for me to take a shot of it under the water.

It appeared to be silver colored with black thin vertical stripes.

I had to laugh, because two fishermen were moving here and there, up and down the river, without catching a thing. They were leaving, hiking back to the street, when I saw the big striped fish.

The fish was very leisurely poking around the larger rocks, flipping its tail out of the water. I took several pictures. When I got home, we figured it wasn't likely to be a perch, because of the size and shape. Not any sort of carp or catfish, because it was very bony.

Guess I'll never know, but if I were a fisherman, I know where I would throw a line.

Little Pond

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The fog ruins photos

I wanted to see what these were, so I shot them and checked when I got home. The geese are already done raising their goslings, so the ducks are now everywhere.
Notice how there is nothing, just nothing, in the background. The fog does that in the sunlight.
It's interesting how the rising mist is invisible to me, but not to my camera. Most of my photos were ruined.
The further away the kayakers got, the more the pictures were whitened by the fog.
Most of the time, there was no blue sky at all, but the sun was working its way through.
I love mirror type shots of the water, but I had to wait an hour for the sun to burn through enough to make them.
Even then, the clouds hung over the river. My face was slightly burned by the sun and fog. How strange, especially after a whole week of working in a windowless room!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gosh, the river is pretty in July.

It's beginning to get low, and that give us more places to go.
A whole new set of tree trunks hang onto the spillover after each big storm.
The lush greeness is going over to a golden tinge. A mirrored surface is a sure sign of peaceful weather.
And if you want lonely coolness, you have to find the feeder creeks and work your way up, towards the source. Stay away from the city neighborhoods, and watch for the bugs!

Monday, June 22, 2009

After all the rain

The Chemung River is running high. Every large tree that had planted itself in the bed is now perched on the spillover dam in downtown Elmira, NY, USA.
Even the geese are someone reluctant to swim out to the channels. Waterfowl can simply let the current take them downstream, no effort at all.
The Grove Street River Access boat ramp is more than half submerged. Humans do not take their boats on the Chemung when she's like this. In the past few weeks we have had a few full-scale rescues: lucky people who are now believers when we say the river is too dangerous for swimmers.
And yes, there are more uprooted trees floating downriver to replace the ones we lost this weekend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Riverfest Saturday

Well, no, we didn't attend. For one thing, it was a very sunny, bright day, and I hoped to find shade in the woods behind Pirrozzolo Park.
The Park itself was very busy with baseball games of various levels, all vigorously supported by adoring, very loud, families. The Trails, as we call them, were quieter, and we walked them, touching the river whenever it wasn't too difficult to climb down the banks.
All the while we watched, and were watched by, the Float participants. They were peering into the woods as we peered out.
The ruined bridge at Roricks Glen became a popular staging area, with paddlers waiting for their buddies in the shallows.
Except for a few fishermen, the paths were an almost silent refuge. Here and there, noise crows or blackbirds livened things.
The lushness of the vegetation this time of year never ceases to astound me. Deep, moist and utterly green, the hills of Chemung County tempt me to quit my job and camp out for the rest of my life.
If I could only do the sort of hiking required, I would almost never return home for more than a few minutes at a time. As it stands, I am only good for 90 minutes maximum, then it's back to base for a much-needed nap.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Sunday morning, around 10:00. I was wandering along the north shoreline, towards the downtown spillover dam. These birds were very far away, and there was no way to get closer.
Even if I went over to the other side of the river, they would still be too far for a decent closeup, at least with the Power Shot.
I believe I have a pair of cormorants. One may be a White Breasted, or may simply be an immature crested.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The usual.

I was just too slow to catch these babies as they hopped into the water. The whole family was hiding in the bushes, and came out just as another fledgling flock was preparing to set sail.When I checked back to the photo I shot of the first family, they were lurking in the scrub on the shore. The two groups struck an uneasy note, but stayed together just long enough for a spat or two and then they paddled for different parts of the opposite shore.

Little Pond

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Been a few times now

Down to the river to see how April will look. Woodlands are not green at all.
Amazing to think how the trees themselves create the most litter.
I'm thinking this is the tree that was caught on the water intakes. Not sure.
This is one of my favorite areas, and it is greening up nicely. Lots of water will do that.
Walking trails afford the best view, and you can meet nice people, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Still not much spring...

You see, there are still ice blocks here and there.
But the river is high with meltwater.
And yet, there are really not many spring colors.
Still, the river is different every day. There is a new perch for the water birds.
Just enjoy the gorgeous spring sky; it makes the water blue, blue, blue.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Midwinter thaw

This looks like trouble. The fallen tree is actually this long again outside the photo!
We can't see these in the summer, because the knotweed covers them. One down, the one next to it, in the back, is already fallen onto a nearby branch.
The river is different every single visit.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

No photo, but

Saw a harrier Sunday morning, downriver from the city.

There were geese across the channel from us, and they suddenly began to caterwaul. My dog and I exchanged looks: what the heck? We weren't bothering them.

I looked all around, but hadn't seen anything but geese, ducks and gulls the entire walk.

The darned thing shot like a bullet between the geese and us. It was mostly white with black wingtips, and kept them pulled in close. It opened its wings once it passed the geese, who were then screaming at it, and flew out towards the fishing access.

The geese settled down and the hunter banked and circled downstream.

I was impressed, and will be looking for harriers from now on.

Little Pond

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My lovely muse beckoned.

It's eleven o'clock in the morning and the shadows are incredibly long.

But the Chemung River is frozen over, with only deer tracks going completely across. I was itching to try to walk it.
And I did. Here we are looking upriver, west.

Look at the ice crunching up around the water intakes. Hope the pipes run really deep.

Finally a view downriver, towards the bridges of our tiny city.
BTW, I never could dredge up the courage to attempt to cross to the other bank. Never did I hear the ice crack or groan, but I'm still too scared, anyway, knowing that a fall through the ice would spell certain death.