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Snow Moon over North Hill by Cindy Schreiner

Dan Jordan’s Wild World: Wildlife Adventures at Mystic Water Resort

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My Wildlife Adventures at Mystic Water Resort

Anyone who follows my Facebook posts knows that a lot of my wildlife photos, including those of eagles, come from Mystic Water Resort, in Limestone, NY.  MWR is located along Tunungwant Creek and borders Allegany State Park.  It is a wildlife paradise, with lakes, streams, and grassy fields in addition to Tunungwant Creek, which is a major tributary of the Allegheny River.

Depending on the season, I photograph all manner of birds at the resort, as you will see in the photos later in this article.  I have also photographed deer and have seen beavers and muskrats.  There have also been bears on the property, although I’m still waiting for my chance to photograph them.  I see fish too, but they’re usually dangling from the talons of eagles or ospreys.

Tunungwant Creek flows in and out of Allegany State Park, on its way to the Allegheny River near Bradford Junction.  Tunungwant Creek/ASP has an active eagle nest close to the resort and the resident pair plus their annual batches of fledglings, make MWR their “home-away-from home”.  I have so many photos of this pair of eagles, that I can recognize the female by her unique markings wherever she may be.  I’ve photographed her as far away as the Village of Allegany, 15-20 miles from her nest.

All manner of waterfowl can be spotted in the lakes of MWR.  Swallows call the resort home.  A large population of killdeer can be seen running around the fields almost anytime I visit.  Ospreys come and go.  More on them later.  Kingfishers are a frequent sight, too.  Great Blue Herons can occasionally be spotted in the smaller lakes/ponds.  It is clear why MWR is one of my favorite hangouts.  It’s only a 15 minute drive for me, so that helps too.  Also, being near a back entrance to ASP is a bonus.  I do a lot of photography in the park, so I usually stop by MWR on the way to and from ASP.

So, let me share some photos.  The first couple of photos are of killdeer.  These little birds are of the plover family and I like to call them the “roadrunners of the east”.  They scurry about the fields and roadways on foot seemingly haphazardly, but with a purpose.

The next is of a barn swallow. This is one of my favorite photos in my wildlife collection.  These little birds are fast fliers and move in unpredictable directions. They are a real challenge to photograph.   I was able to freeze the motion of this swallow as it approached my blind.

The next photo is of a chance encounter with a great blue heron at the resort.  It was not in the water, where one would expect to find a GBH, but rather posed on a stump against a gorgeous blue sky backdrop.  This was a delightful photo op for me.

The next photo is of a pair of common mergansers.  Their sexual dimorphism is on full display in this photo.  They look like entirely different species, the female with her red head and grey feathers vs. the males mostly white feathers and dark green head.  Only their red beaks seem to be common features.

This male merganser seemed to be running across the lake on takeoff.  I never know what I will see when visiting the resort.

This photo shows a pair of ospreys both coming and going.  This odd capture happened in May of 2021 when the two birds were both landing on a structure, but on opposite sides.  It’s entertaining to watch these superb hunters/fishers in their activities. 

There is an osprey platform on the resort property, which at one time was home to an osprey nest.  As I’ve been told, the local eagle pair did not want the ospreys nesting there, so they dismantled the nest.  The osprey stand is where I often photograph the eagle pair, and occasionally an osprey or even a kingfisher.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share a couple of photos of the Tunungwant eagles in this article.  I photograph them so often that I am on a first name basis with them.  I have tens of thousands of photos of them individually and together.  Picking a couple of photos to share here is really difficult for me because I have so many excellent ones.  (For more, you can find hundreds of them on my FB page.  Also, Mystic Water Resort shares a lot of my eagle photos on their FB page.)  Here you go:

And lastly:

When you’re out and about, keep your eyes peeled (whatever that means) for a good spot to see wildlife and go back often.  When your travels take you to Limestone, NY, check out MWR.  And, say hi to Bill Rounsville when you’re there.  Tell him Dan sent ya!

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