Clearing the Decks

Over the past couple of months, several members of The Erie Canal Neighbors Association have been working very hard on the next stage of the Oxbow cleanup.

The project has slowed up considerably, mainly because of the winter weather, but our thrust has been to remove unwanted vegetation such as dead trees branches, and brush like honeysuckle. We’ve concentrated on opening up areas to make it easier to mow and keep tidy, and to ensure the area is in compliance with NYDEC regulations regarding regulated, illegal, invasive species. These include honeysuckle, bittersweet vine, wild grape and poison ivy.

A number of small saplings have been removed to allow the more established trees to flourish without being crowded out and to let the mower work faster.

Hopefully, in the spring, we’ll be able to save a few railroad ties that are in the stream bed, and make steps to go around the culvert.

Here’s a couple of volunteers, the one with white hair is our ‘branch manager’.

There are several large piles of brush now that will remain along the path until the brush removal project is completed in the spring. Hopefully the Canal Corp will bring a wood chipper in one final time to remove all these piles. We will use this to mulch several areas.

Daffodils have already been planted and hopefully we should get a showing of these in the spring.

The object of the project is as follows.

1. To remove all invasive species of vegetation as described by the NYDEC Leaflet.

2. Thinning of saplings to give established trees room to flourish.

3. Rototilling & planting of bulbs and flower seeds.

4. Mulching certain areas.

5. Mowing of Ragweed areas.

6. Install Bat houses and duck nests later in the year.

7. Make steps around the culvert more stable by cutting railroad ties to make the steps.


Double Trouble?

This morning, my dogs started yapping vigorously as they stared across my deck, looking down the frozen Oxbow Lake.

I wasn’t sure what they saw initially, until, in the distance, I spotted what looked like a fox trotting from the embankment toward the islands.

A few seconds later, he turned and ran towards us, infuriating my dogs.

Then there were two! The other one was already on the island (left). He came right up to our dock, and just stood there, oblivious to the racket my dogs were now making.

We were privileged to view them for a couple of minutes. I just wish I’d had a better camera with a zoom lens. I should have put that on my Christmas list!

They both look in wonderful condition!

Shortly after seeing them, our Siamese cat went missing. It was pretty cold out today, so we didn’t think she went out, but we were worried.

It took us an hour to find her, cuddled up over a vent hidden under a drape. Those foxes were lucky, because she’s good at clawing dog’s noses.

A dickens of a row!

My dogs suddenly started up hollering and getting extremely excited earlier this morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if some complained about all the ruckus coming from my back yard.

It took me a few seconds to figure out what the problem was, and here it is, sat quietly, ignoring my dogs and just surveying his territory.

I’m not sure what we have here. This is a fairly big animal, so is it a fox, or a coyote? He had a fairly bushy tail and a red look to him.

He certainly wasn’t put off by the dogs, and sat there for several minutes, then quietly stood up and sauntered off along the shoreline of the larger Oxbow Island.

It’s always a pleasure to see these wild animals in my back yard. Can anyone tell me, is it a fox or a coyote?

The culvert gets a hand rail

Due to the bridge being washed out earlier in the year, we’ve made a path around the top of the culvert to enable residents to enjoy the trail. The problem was the ground is very uneven, slippery when wet, and pretty dangerous.

We’re told there will eventually be a new bridge over the stream, but the NYPA has a tremendous amount of more important jobs currently, so we (The Erie Canal Neighbors Association -ECNA- decided to erect a rail around the path.

Over the next few days, we’ll add another rail, and cut the steps to make them safer.

Eerie Bird on the Eerie Erie Canal


A fairly mild, but foggy morning made the Oxbow scenery look rather different today. It’s always amazing how much more sound travels when the air is saturated like this.  The trains whistles were especially loud.

Our resident Blue Heron decided he wasn’t flying due to bad weather, and I was able to get up fairly closely to take these photos.

Note how he’s standing on one leg. Magnificent creature!


A path to Heaven?


Hmm!   That’s probably going a bit too far, but these days the Oxbow Trail is looking pretty sharp!

Our new trail has just been repaved with gravel, thanks to the efforts of the Canal Corporation  contributing the gravel.  They have pulled all the stops out to make The Oxbow somewhere everyone can appreciate.


The ‘before’ photo!

As the rainwater is running from Erie Crescent, I noticed it does linger a little at the beginning of the trail, but with a little more work along the edge, I’m pretty sure we can divert it to run directly into the canal.  Let’s call it ‘fine tuning’!

Our gofundme account paid for the spreading and leveling to be done, so if you like what you see and would like to contribute, here’s the web page  for that.

sign adopt-a-trail