Editorial: Giving thanks for wildlife and nature

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo courtesy of Vince Flow – Kendall resident Vince Flow sent in this photo last winter of two Snowy Owls in a corn field on Lakeshore Road in Kendall.

(Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub is taking a daily challenge this week to express thankfulness for a different aspect to living in Orleans County.)

One of the most popular stories in the past week on the Orleans Hub was an article about the return of Snowy Owls. Ben Jones of Kendall got two pictures of one with his camera phone on Saturday in Carlton.

He shared the pictures with Orleans Hub, and the article quickly racked up the “likes” and “shares” on social media.

This week we’re counting blessings about living in Orleans County, and presence of Snowy Owls and other glorious wildlife are among the perks of living here.

Snowy Owls usually don’t fly down past Canada into these parts of the United States. But they have been showing up the past three years. Last winter was a historic migration, perhaps the biggest in a half century. The owls would hang out in corn fields, and sit on fences, telephone poles, you-name-it.

Many people were delighted to see one. They have been extra popular because they were so prominent in the Harry Potter stories. Harry’s owl is named Hedwig.

Photos by Tom Rivers

Not every place has a world-famous fishing attraction, but Orleans County can boast of the Oak Orchard River. You can also catch a lot of fish in Johnson Creek and some of the other Lake Ontario tributaries.

Many people from out-of-state flock to Orleans in the fall to try to hook salmon and trout. Even if they don’t catch any fish, just being outside in the river, with the blazing colors of the fall foliage, does a body and soul a lot of good.

We have a lot of geese around here with the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in the southern part of Orleans and stretching into Genesee County.

There are also a lot of geese in Lyndonville. They like to hang out in Johnson Creek. This photo was taken during a sunset in Lyndonville on Nov. 3.

You can also find a lot of geese along the Erie Canal. Many blue herons also camp out along the canal.

Deer season is underway for hunters and the animals seem to be in abundance. I “shot” these deer last Nov. 20.

I was out trying to get a picture of deer in a snow-covered field. These two deer were close to the road on the west side of Route 279 in Gaines, just south of Route 104. They held still for a few seconds before scampering away in the field and heading into the woods.

This county offers many picturesque views along the winding country roads past barns, orchards, corn fields and even rural, historic cemeteries.

This photo on Oct. 18 shows Zig-Zag Road in Gaines by John Long’s former dairy barn.

The sun was coming down and really lit up the barn and trees.

We have several really nice waterfalls in Orleans County. The one in Medina is probably the most powerful and breathtaking.

These waterfalls are by the Erie Canal near the Horan Road bridge. This was one of the toughest construction points for the Erie Canal. The Oak Orchard Creek runs along here. The canal contractors would use an aqueduct to provide a path for the Oak Orchard to run under the Erie Canal in Medina. Not long after, the creek plunges in a waterfalls.

This is a shockingly awesome spot, but it is difficult to view up close due to the lack of public access.

There are at least two good-size waterfalls in Holley. This photo shows one near the Holley Rod and Gun Club. There is also an old Medina sandstone building next door at South Holley Road and Pumping Station Road. The east branch of Sandy Creek runs by here.

If you like to explore and see some natural wonder, Orleans County is a great place to be.