There is not much about Leroy Island that would make it stand out among the several small islands and peninsulas dotting Sodus Bay.
It’s accessible by a pretty-much-one-lane bridge, where there are no signs blaming your GPS for misdirecting you; in fact, there is a sign welcoming you– as long as you are a fisherman who promises to take your trash with you when you leave.
I don’t fish, but I like to visit Leroy Island anyway. I may get quizzical looks as I turn around at the marina, but no one actually makes me leave.
Every season is a good time to visit the island, but I always visit several times during the summer. That is when life — wildlife and plant life — is at its very best.
Even before I got to the bridge I knew it was going to be a good day. When I turned off Rt 104 to head north, I encountered an osprey nest way up on a utility pole, with Ma and Pa Osprey perched on another one nearby. Maybe they just had to get out of the house for a while, or maybe they had some grown-up talk to do out of earshot of the young ‘uns.
Weeds or wildflowers? I suppose that depends on your point of view, or maybe on what mood you are in.
I don’t know how you will answer that question, but today, for me, I saw wildflowers. . .and not a single weed.
I’d like to call these wild daisies, but I am pretty sure the taxonomists prefer to call them Chrysanthemum lencanthemum — much easier just to call them wild. I like the idea of these pretty flowers, which grow quietly along the roadside, being “wild.” 😉
Buttercups. Now, these are reallyreallyREALLY wild! If you eat them, they can kill you. . . or at least make you very sick.
Don’t let your cows eat them, either! They could get just as sick or even die!
I remember when as children we would hold a buttercup under our chins — if the reflection was yellow, then you liked butter! I don’t think we ever found anyone who didn’t like butter when given that test.
Buttercups are just about as good as daisies for making a chain. There was just enough time during recess, if you ate your lunch real quick, to make a daisy-buttercup chain that you could wear on your head as a crown. What 10-year-old girl wouldn’t like that!
I don’t think kids do that these days. . .do they? They might be too busy tik-tokking or whatever it is they do on their cellphones.
Of course, I saw lots of dandelions, mostly in the seed stage. And now it’s the right time of year, if you are 10 years old, to make a wish! Close your eyes, make your wish (don’t tell anyone what it is or it will never come true. . .), and gently blow all the seeds from your dandelion stem.
Enough of the flowers. I also saw lots of wildlife. The kind with feathers, wings, feet, and heads and some with shells on their backs.
Turtles, even the relatively harmless painted ones, are known to be carnivorous at times, so I was surprised at this young swan family resting alongside a pile of them. I guess the cygnets are too big to become lunch at this stage of the game and besides, Ma and Pa were keeping a close eye on the turtles and the little ones.
These little ones don’t even have their wings yet, just tiny little “wing-ettes” that flap around when they walk. And they really don’t walk all that much, most of the time I saw them they were either resting or were in the water.
Mute swans are an introduced species not native to the United States. They are far from mute — get too close to a cygnet and they will hiss up a storm! Now that I think on it, mute swans are nasty creatures, especially to trumpeter and tundra swans. I once saw a single mute swan chase a pair of trumpeters clear out of the water. They weren’t trespassing near a nest, they were just swimming nearby, so I guess the mute did it just because he could. So he did.
Song sparrows are just about everywhere! This one allowed me to get unusually close before he decided to flee.
Song sparrows are pretty loud for being so tiny. But their song is pretty, and they aren’t as skittish as, say, kingfishers, so I generally have time to check my settings and get a decent shot.
I smiled when I saw this killdeer. When I first got a camera three summers ago, I took a ride out here to Leroy Island and photographed, among other things, a killdeer. I had no clue what it was until Google told me.
I’m glad this photo came out okay. . .at least it’s better than that first one was!
Oh, and I think it’s a female killdeer. Why? Because she obviously has to pee! REAL bad!
There are many, many great blue herons in western New York — too numerous to count, I think. You really can’t visit any marshy area without seeing at least one. And where there’s one, there are others hiding nearby, probably in the thick marsh grasses.
Well, I did find who one who was pleased to stick around long enough to pose, and then he was off. There is a wooded area as you go around the back of the point and up the hill , and I am sure there is a rookery there. That’s where I see most of the herons coming from and heading to when I come up here.
The road that goes through the woods isn’t heavily settled (unless you’re a heron), but the few people who do live up there are sick and tired of people looking for Crescent Beach. Because the road narrows before it dead-ends near the water, which requires that you turn around in someone’s driveway (unless you want to back out of a curvy, one-lane dirt road for about a mile or mile-and-a-half).
There are a couple of nice places that serve food and libations here (once the CoVid-19 virus scare dissipates), and there is a brand-new brewery here, too. These places are right on the bay, so you can either park your car or dock your boat. I am waiting for Phase 3 so I can visit some of these places!
Like most lakeside property owners, nobody here is pleased with the International Joint Commission’s plan 2014 meant to regulate the water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway. It’s had a negative (and expensive!) impact on Lake Ontario water levels.
All photos were taken with an Olympus OM-D EM10iii and the Panasonic O.I.S. 100-300. All photos are straight from the camera with post processing limited to cropping (where necessary). Maybe some of the photos could use a little tweaking, but I like them just the way I saw them. I am so pleased with this little camera!
A few more from today’s Leroy Island experience: