Tag Archives: Nature in the City

A few things I saw while riding my bike today…

I rode my bike to Tift Nature Preserve this morning. And it is really interesting on a few levels. One is that the nature preserve is located within the city limits but when there you have the feeling of being in the country. And to get to it (by bike) one has to ride through an industrial section (which is also teeming with wildlife) and past the Outer Harbor. Anyhow, I took a bunch of photos, here’s a few of my favorites.

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while riding my bike today…

I rode my bike to Tift Nature Preserve this morning. And it is really interesting on a few levels. One is that the nature preserve is located within the city limits but when there you have the feeling of being in the country. And to get to it (by bike) one has to ride through an industrial section (which is also teeming with wildlife) and past the Outer Harbor. Anyhow, I took a bunch of photos, here’s a few of my favorites.

Urban Simplicity.

People in tents on ice, a feral black cat hunting, a herd of city deer, and a few other things I saw while riding my bike yesterday…with a brief but pro-bicycle commentary.

So first a couple things. One is that this post is a sort of continuation of this previous post where I went to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor in search of the elusive snowy owl (I didn’t see one either day). In the previous post I used a car to get there–which was great because it was dangerously cold and windy–but yesterday I rode my bike the six miles each way as the wind was less and the temperatures were higher (but it was still damn cold). I started to think that maybe I was a little crazy (people are always telling me this–either with words or looks–because I choose to ride a bike year round) but then I saw all those people in tents on ice–entire families–and realized I might be the sane one. Anyhow, and I’ve said this before, but I see so much more on a bike. When I took the car I basically saw the waterfront (the destination), but on my bike I witnessed–was part of–the entire trip there and back…and the area this is in, which is currently being developed, still has a sort of wild/industrial/feral/post-apocalyptic feel to it; many of the photos were taken along the railroad tracks that run along Ohio Street. A good example of this (seeing more on a bike) are the deer images…these are three of about a dozen photos of them. I had just crested a bridge and thought to myself, “I hope I see a deer or two,” as I’ve seen them in this area before. If I were not on a bike I would have never seen them, but I was close to the side of the bridge and sure enough I glanced over and there was an entire herd of them walking along the tracks. I stopped my bike and watched as they gracefully meandered under the bridge. When they came out the other side I got off my bike and walked to the end of a train that was parked there and watched them. They were so graceful and beautiful to watch; I must have watched them forage for food for about 15 minutes…how could I ever eat them, I wondered? Cars zipped past, their occupants unaware of this beauty right next to them. Then after a bit, and after I took a few photos, I tried to get closer and they ran away. On my way home I stopped at one of Buffalo’s newest hipster bars, Ballyhoo, which is on the far edge of downtown, mainly to warm my hands as I had my gloves off to take photos, and had a couple beers. By the time I left it was almost dark and it started to snow a little; the flakes and cold air felt good against my face the way that a winter evening does, and I stopped to take one last shot, this time of Chippewa Street, which is only a mile from my house. When I got home my middle-aged body was tired from pedaling into the wind (both ways it seems) while wearing heavy clothes. And even though I didn’t see a snowy owl I saw a lot more. I feel like I should carry photos with me so that the next time a person asks why I ride a bike year round (or they give me “that look”) I can show them the photos and say, here is why…this is why I ride a bike.

Urban Simplicity.

Stalking Lucille…

Okay. So first a couple of things. Lucille is not a person, it is this bird…a great blue heron. I posted about her somewhat recently here. And to be honest I am not sure if Lucille is even a female bird, I just named her that because she (it) looks so incredibly graceful. She nests somewhere on Bird Island Pier (click here to see a map). I first got a glimpse of her last year when I was out taking these photos of the Peace Bridge at night. I was riding my bike back up the breakwall and as I passed her she flew in front of me and I almost fell of my bike (its a bit creepy being out there by yourself at night). Anyhow, I went out there again today in search of her…and yes she was there. And she toyed with me (I really believe this). She would let me get about (I’m guessing) 50 feet from her, close enough to snap her photo, then fly off and land down the wall. And then the same scenario would take place. To get a clearer picture of this breakwall (if you haven’t been here), there is about a two mile “public” section that is somewhat maintained that runs parallel with the Niagara River and the Black Rock Channel and it juts out into Lake Erie. But where the public area ends it keeps going for another mile or so. And this is where it gets really interesting…sort of feral. I ride my bike to the end of the public area, lock it to a railing, and walk the rest of the way out. It’s un-maintained, crumbling, and full of birds (hence it’s name). It is narrow for most of the way (as seen in some of the photos), and you have to descend and ascend broken areas, but it widens out at the end (as pictured in the first image below). The photo below is taken at the very end of the pier looking back. Even though it is only about 1/4 mile off shore it is quite literally another world; it is quite breathtaking. I was so overwhelmed at its beauty all I could do was sit down and pray, mediate, and give thanks. When I opened my eyes after meditation I half-expected Lucille to be sitting next to me, but she remained elusive. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Urban Simplicity.

Stalking Lucille…

Okay. So first a couple of things. Lucille is not a person, it is this bird…a great blue heron. I posted about her somewhat recently here. And to be honest I am not sure if Lucille is even a female bird, I just named her that because she (it) looks so incredibly graceful. She nests somewhere on Bird Island Pier (click here to see a map). I first got a glimpse of her last year when I was out taking these photos of the Peace Bridge at night. I was riding my bike back up the breakwall and as I passed her she flew in front of me and I almost fell of my bike (its a bit creepy being out there by yourself at night). Anyhow, I went out there again today in search of her…and yes she was there. And she toyed with me (I really believe this). She would let me get about (I’m guessing) 50 feet from her, close enough to snap her photo, then fly off and land down the wall. And then the same scenario would take place. To get a clearer picture of this breakwall (if you haven’t been here), there is about a two mile “public” section that is somewhat maintained that runs parallel with the Niagara River and the Black Rock Channel and it juts out into Lake Erie. But where the public area ends it keeps going for another mile or so. And this is where it gets really interesting…sort of feral. I ride my bike to the end of the public area, lock it to a railing, and walk the rest of the way out. It’s un-maintained, crumbling, and full of birds (hence it’s name). It is narrow for most of the way (as seen in some of the photos), and you have to descend and ascend broken areas, but it widens out at the end (as pictured in the first image below). The photo below is taken at the very end of the pier looking back. Even though it is only about 1/4 mile off shore it is quite literally another world; it is quite breathtaking. I was so overwhelmed at its beauty all I could do was sit down and pray, mediate, and give thanks. When I opened my eyes after meditation I half-expected Lucille to be sitting next to me, but she remained elusive. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Urban Simplicity.

A Great Blue Heron and a Brace of Ducks…

This morning was so beautiful (as was/is the rest of the day. I had to work for just a few hours in the afternoon and evening and really didn’t feel like going in. To wash away the “work blues” I rode my bike over to Bird Island Pier to take a few photos. If you are reading this post from another area of the world, I have to describe this “pier” to you. It’s a break-wall more than a pier really, and it just out into Lake Erie. And if you hop the railing and continue walking out to where you are not supposed to (as I did this morning) it goes out even further (a total of two miles I am told) to the intersection of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Buffalo Harbor, and the Black Rock Channel (click here to see the map). It really is quite breathtaking when your out there. Anyhow, along the way I saw so many ducks, but also the great blue heron that is pictured. It would only let me get a hundred feet from it before it would fly away. But I did manage to get a few shots of it. It was quite magnificent to watch. Any how, I thought I’d share a few photos.

Urban Simplicity.

A Great Blue Heron and a Brace of Ducks…

This morning was so beautiful (as was/is the rest of the day. I had to work for just a few hours in the afternoon and evening and really didn’t feel like going in. To wash away the “work blues” I rode my bike over to Bird Island Pier to take a few photos. If you are reading this post from another area of the world, I have to describe this “pier” to you. It’s a break-wall more than a pier really, and it just out into Lake Erie. And if you hop the railing and continue walking out to where you are not supposed to (as I did this morning) it goes out even further (a total of two miles I am told) to the intersection of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Buffalo Harbor, and the Black Rock Channel (click here to see the map). It really is quite breathtaking when your out there. Anyhow, along the way I saw so many ducks, but also the great blue heron that is pictured. It would only let me get a hundred feet from it before it would fly away. But I did manage to get a few shots of it. It was quite magnificent to watch. Any how, I thought I’d share a few photos.

Urban Simplicity.

Pictures of a park at sunset, and a few words, too…

Okay. So before I talk about these photos I have to get on my high horse for a minute regarding bicycling (sorry, but I haven’t done this in a while). I had to run a couple errands this evening (which entailed going to a big box store at the very edge of the city) and the pictures you see here are part of my route there…if I would have taken a car I would have had to circumvent all of this beauty…for me on a bike it’s not always about the destination so much as it is about the journey. I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Anyhow, this is beautiful Delaware Park, located in the heart of the city. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed–among many others–Central Park in NYC). It’s an oasis, really. And I feel really blessed to have this available year round. On my way home the light looked just right–almost magical–so I snapped a few photos and thought I’d share. Click any for a slightly larger image.


Urban Simplicity.

Pictures of a park at sunset, and a few words, too…

Okay. So before I talk about these photos I have to get on my high horse for a minute regarding bicycling (sorry, but I haven’t done this in a while). I had to run a couple errands this evening (which entailed going to a big box store at the very edge of the city) and the pictures you see here are part of my route there…if I would have taken a car I would have had to circumvent all of this beauty…for me on a bike it’s not always about the destination so much as it is about the journey. I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Anyhow, this is beautiful Delaware Park, located in the heart of the city. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed–among many others–Central Park in NYC). It’s an oasis, really. And I feel really blessed to have this available year round. On my way home the light looked just right–almost magical–so I snapped a few photos and thought I’d share. Click any for a slightly larger image.


Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while riding my bike today…

After rushing around a hot kitchen today cooking and serving a Mother’s Day brunch I needed a little relaxation time so I went for a ride with my camera. I went to Forest Lawn Cemetery, and I know this may sound odd but it is really beautiful…and it is also an unofficial bird sanctuary. The image above, and the last one below, are of Mirror Lake. Those of the geese are pretty self explanatory. I also thought it was interesting in that while I saw a lot of geese walking around with their little goslin, there were also a fair amount of birds of prey hovering overhead (not sure what they were but they were large and looked menacing). The only grave I photographed is the one pictured below…and I chose this one because it made me think of a Hobbit grave. Anyhow, it was a pleasant ride and just what I needed. To see previous images from this cemetery click here or here.


Urban Simplicity.