Thursday, May 25, 2006

Buckhorn Island State Park

Two days ago, I walked through Buckhorn Island State Park, at the northern tip of Grand Island, N.Y. The park is now full of sound and color. The flowering bushes are covered in pinks, yellows, and a variety of other colors. The bird songs come from high in the sky, from the ground, and from the water. Young green cattails are growing tall, amidst the dried out cattails of last season. Tiny bunches of grapes are starting to form on the vines that are intertwined with trees and fences. The grapes grow wild there and are full of seeds and sweetness.
At the end of the path, a small piece of land that juts out into the Niagara River, the birds congregate in large numbers. They are mostly seagulls and geese although a few blue herons can be spotted in the group. The seagulls take off in groups and fly in circles over the park and nearby Navy Island, which belongs, in title, to Canada, and, in reality, to the birds. The seagulls' screams fill the air, mingling with the honking of the geese. The geese all have families now. The two adult geese and the group of goslings swim in tight clutches, near the shores.
It is because of these birds and the songbirds that call out their melodious messages from the tops of the tall trees that Buckhorn Island State Park has been designated an Important Bird Area and a Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also a restored wetland. Much life teems in the park's waters. Occasionally, a small snake can be seen slithering across the path. Once, I found a snake sitting in the middle of the trail. I bent down to take a closer look. It permitted me to take its picture before it slid into the woods.
A snake that poses for the camera was a new experience for me!

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