Saturday, October 03, 2009

Niagara Falls - long weekend, Sunday

Sunday was darker and wetter but we were determined to make the most of our time in the area. Our initial plan was to visit a small cluster of State Parks on the shores of Lake Ontario then head into Canada for the day. On arrival at Fort Niagara State Park it was obvious that Canada was hosting a 'no bird left alive' day judging by the continuous wall of gunfire so we decided against visiting the other side at all. There were a number of birds in and around the Fort area including various woodpeckers, finches, sparrows and chickadees, etc. but it was so dark and overcast that photography proved very tricky. Then it started to rain. That and the background 'Somme' drove us away and inland. We drove for around ninety minutes to Letchworth State Park, which was good a choice. At the of first half-mile trail we walked it stopped raining and we were able to enjoy a great view of the river that winds, via a series of waterfalls, through the park:

Further up the course of the river this bridge spans the gorge:

And here a view of the upper falls under the bridge:

And finally the middle falls:

One thing we found hilarious. The park has a pack it in pack it out philosophy (which most people seem to observe) but this means that if you buy a drink from the case in the visitor centre the visitor centre staff themselves refuse to take the litter. I wonder why there were so many discarded cups in the general area? We did see a few birds in the Park, though I suspect the park is more for humans to enjoy the view than wildlife. The tendency to manicured lawns only really works for Starlings rather than indigenous species of birds. This lone White-throated Sparrow was the star of the show:

As you can see here, we caught the start of the 'fall' foliage. According to the foliage forecasts (they really do) we were pre-peak in the area we were visiting:

The park was also home to some critters, including this aptly named 'Green Frog' was one of many we saw:

From Letchworth we stopped at Iroquois NWR as I wanted Helen to see the Gnatchatchers and walk in the old forest, which we did but then the rain started again in earnest and the afternoon was drawing in so it was time to head back again to the hotel and to pack for our respective flights on Monday evening.

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