[Update: Jay Burney, my friend and someone who for decades has had an immeasurable impact preserving and restoring WNY’s natural resources, sent me two links this morning you may want to click. The first is to Jay’s Birds on the Niagara Festival website, and the second is his video of Spring Birds 2020 (with helpful bird titles!). Enjoy seeing and learning from a professional videographer and lifelong naturalist.]
I desperately needed to not only get out of my house last Friday, but to experience something that contrasted starkly with weeks of living alone in my South Buffalo home, and wasn’t overwhelming. Mission accomplished. I drove 32 miles to Beaver Meadow in North Java, New York, and enjoyed “self-isolation” at its finest.
In case you’re not familiar with this 324-acre nature preserve, the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center – 20 minutes or so outside of East Aurora – includes meadows, ponds, wooded uplands, wetlands with a boardwalk trail, and eight miles of trails (as well as an arboretum and hawk watch). And, if the photos that follow inspire you to take your first trip there, or motivate you to revisit this ecological gem, you can quickly brush up beforehand on North America’s second largest rodent by reading the Ontario Parks blog post entitled, “The beaver in winter.”
One last comment before sharing images from my 60-minute walk. Except for the following sign upon entering the nature preserve:
and, the closing off of a small area meant for collaborative (and, creative) activities:
there were no reminders of the altered world I had left behind.
Time for a rest or to quietly wait to sight beavers at work. But, it turns out, beavers – while they don’t hibernate – tend to be more active at night this time of year. They also locate their den a distance from shore to help protect themselves from predators:
The currently-closed visitor’s center (but, the trails remain open!):
With All Due Respect,
P.S. By the way, Beaver Meadow nature preserve is a remarkable place to visit when autumn brings a change in colors. I’d like to think our world will have returned to some semblance of “normalcy” by then. Here’s a few images from perhaps 20 or 30 years ago: