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The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Birds, blooms, bugs & more - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
July 2012

Please join me for some peaceful times on the beach. This is up on Lake Ontario in New York, east shore, between Southwick Beach State Park and Eldorado Nature Preserve. The family has a little beach cottage built in 50s that my mom bought in the mid-70s for the scandalous price of $29,000. I guess you could add another 0 to that now but it's still just as it always was - rustic.

Mom's pride and joy was the front lot that we all helped restore to more natural condition over the decades. Well us and the wind and the waves and the rain and the snow. It's one of the few undeveloped beachfront lots along this 1 mile stretch of cottages between the parks.

Here is a typical sunset on the lake. Come along below for more sunsets, beach scenes and the basic ecology of this area.


This map along one of the nature trails shows the park with beach and dunes and interior lakes. The state park was established in the mid-60s and we started camping there then. It was wild! Before the park there were various holdings - one of our friends had a place in the dunes and I think there was a dance hall where the concession stand is now.

Here a shot looking south into park. This whole section of the eastern shore is sand deposits created during the last Ice Age. Polly has more on the dune systems here. What you can't see off to the right around the bend on the south shore is a nuclear plant about 25 miles away as the gull flies.

Looking north from in front of our cottage. The lake level fluctuates during the year. At times past it has been up to the trees and then recedes in late summer. Lately it has been lower from droughts in the mid-west and water being held back in the other Great Lakes. The latest plan is to let the lake get higher in the spring to flood the back lakes and streams. This is controlled by a dam on the St Lawrence river.

Another sign showing the basics of dune formation. When we were kids we climbed all over these dunes. That's a big no-no now since all those foot trails could lead to blowouts. My mom helped write a book on all this in the 80s and assisted in basic protections. Planting poison ivy was one idea along with dune crossovers and signs. This year the state had 2 young women out patrolling during the day, monitoring and documenting plants and wildlife while explaining things to beachwalkers.

This is the lake behind the primary dune. Actually there is a chain of these ponds & lakes starting behind our rear lot and going all the way down to "the cut" where Sandy Creek exits into lake.

A small creek running into the back lake along the nature trail. Lots of willow trees and grasses.

The highlight of every day on the beach - the sun setting off to the northwest. They can be very dramatic.

Zooming in for a post sunset light show. Sunsets can stretch out to 10 PM at this latitude.

A placid sunset and calm lake. Judging by the ripples there is a mild offshore breeze. Mostly the wind is from west off the lake but then turns east after sunset. Typical seabreeze pattern.

Here I was focused on the well-eaten cottonwood leaves framing the sunset.

Movement adds a nice balance - a gull looking down for a meal. This goes on all day but I have yet to capture a dive. However, most gulls are down at the park freeloading.

One of my favorite shots from last year.

What's a Bucket without bugs? This little leafhopper landed on my hat and let me take a dozen shots. Maybe 1/4 inch long. Didn't find it among the hundreds of photos at the Bug Guide but the colors look like a clownfish to me.

And finally me in my favorite position --  in the hammock in the shade of a few cottonwoods.

Another hot one here back in Rochester NY on the farm - supposed to be 90 and guess what? We got what could be called a smidgen of rain right before dawn. Whoopdewoo.... not even enough to puddle the driveway. So what's going on in your neck of the woods? Wherever that might be.....

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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