Grand Island, New York
"Nature's Bounty"
Naturalist Photographer Nathan Cook

Volume One

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Nathan Cook is a resident of Grand Island, NY

All photos have been taken on Grand Island, NY and may be clicked for a larger view.
Inquiries may be made to the photographer at

Beaver Island Sunrise: October, 2005
Sunrise over the lake between Grand Island and Beaver Island.

Willow reflections in the morning: October, 2005
Reflections of the large willow trees on the north edge of Beaver Island.

Morning at the point: October, 2005
At the southern point of Grand Island there is a gnarled tree with great character.

Foggy Morning: October, 2005
One of those dense fogs reveals the treeline along the south edge of Grand Island.

Dead Tree Meadow: October, 2005
Two dead trees grace a wetland meadow southeast of the Grand Island High School.

Quiet stream in the deep woods: October, 2005
The green canopy of oaks, maples and hickory allow only scant light to this quite stream located southeast of the Grand Island High School.

Deer track in the mud.: October, 2005
We see these so often on the trails, along the river and in the wood areas that we often don't even notice them.

Large dog track in the mud: October, 2005
Occasionally a set of canine tracks are found that are so enormous that we stop and examine them closer.

Menacing Caterpillar: August 2005
Clearly a case of Mother Nature saying "Don't Touch"!

Milkweed tigermoth caterpillar: July, 2005
I find these far more frequently than the monarch caterpillars more often associated with milkweeds.

Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar: September, 2005
Each year I find one or two of these eating the rue in my herb garden.

Monarch resting on Bonneset: August, 2005
This was a good year to sight adult monarch butterflies.

Paper Wasp: September 2005
A paper wasp visits a flower. It may be eating some nectar but could just as likely be eating other insects.

Milkweed Bugs: September 2005
These brightly colored true bugs may be found on milkweed pods sucking out the white sap. Their colors warn predators of their toxic nature.

Praying Mantis: September 2005
This large female praying mantis blended in well with the pine tree.

Praying Mantis: September 2005
This is a large praying mantis carefully climbing up a Madagascar Palm.

Juvenile Stink Bugs: July, 2005
A clutch of stink bug eggs hatched earlier on this tree's leaf and the young scattered shortly after.

Cicada Shell: August, 2005
After spending several years underground, the cicada young dig their way out of the ground, climb up any handy bush or tree, split their skin and emerge as an adult.

Bumblebee cluster: October, 2005
The bumble bee nest produces several princesses in the fall. These large bees promptly find a partner (or two as the case here), mate and then find a safe place to over-winter.

Life on a spotted knapweed bloom: July, 2005
These striking flowers attract all sorts of insect life. Here both a moth and a pair of beetles share space temporarily.

Hunting Spider: October, 2005
This type of spider is often found in wet areas and can scurry across the surface of ponds and streams.

Jumping Spider: September 2005
Blending in with the bark is a major advantage to this agile hunter. Its eight beady little black eyes don't hurt either.

Guard Toad: October, 2005
This very large toad guarded one of our basement window boxes all summer long.

Resting Midge: May, 2005
These emerge from the river by the millions in mid to late spring. Large columns of these may often be seen on West River in the early evening.

Yellow Iris: October, 2005
Though many German Bearded Iris are capable of blooming twice in one year, they often reserve this gift for more southern locations. Perhaps our extra hot summer provoked this single stock into performing its bow.

Touch-Me-Not: July, 2005
These fleshy, delicate flowers may be found in patches throughout Buckhorn and Beaver Island.

Pink Sedum Bloom: October, 2005
Though this plant has been growing for seven years, this is the first that it bloomed. Perhaps it is another response to our inordinately hot summer.

Periwinkle: October, 2005
This evergreen is often planted in shaded areas as a ground cover. It has been used for centuries as a folk treatment for diabetes and more recently for two powerful anticancer drugs.

Coral Rose: October, 2005
This rose plant bloomed all summer but seemed to go into overdrive this fall.

Coral Lilies: July, 2005
This large cluster of lilies bloomed for nearly four weeks in early summer.

Fallen Acorn: October, 2005
The acorns seem extra large this year.

Fall leaf in streambed: October, 2005
The dark red mottled leaf provides great contrast against the rocks and bubbling water.

Jack-In-The Pulpit Berries: September, 2005
Only a small percentage of all the Jack-In-The Pulpits that bloom will produce berries each year.

Bittersweet Nightshade Berries: September, 2005
Bittersweet nightshade plants are perennial and make an attractive vine. By early fall the plants sport myriads of blood red berry clusters.

Chokecherries: September, 2005
After producing attractive and fragrant blossoms in the spring, the tree completes its task with bunches of deep blue fruit in the fall.

Hawthorne Berries: September, 2005
Hawthorne is one of my least favorite of trees but they grow very well over most of the island. They have long vicious thorns that easily penetrate shoe soles and lawnmower tires.

Dogwood Berries: September, 2005
Dogwood is very successful here on Grand Island and the berries provide fall and early winter food for many bird varieties.

Wild Grape Bunch: September, 2005
If New York had a state vine, it would surely be the Wild Grape. They seem to be able to overtake the tallest trees in the woods with ease.

Marsh Mallow Bud: September, 2005
A large group of pink marsh mallow occupies the northwest edge of Buckhorn.

Pink Marsh Mallow: September, 2005
The marsh mallow colony starts blooming by late July and is finished by the end of September.

Rose of Sharon Buds: August, 2005
Rose of Sharon is frequently used locally as a yard planting. The bushes are attractive and will provide blooms for two months or more in the summer.

Rose of Sharon: August, 2005
Rose of Sharon is a winter hardy member of the hibiscus family. The marsh mallow pictured earlier is closely related; as is cotton and okra.

Wild Geranium: October, 2005
Wild Geraniums bloom in shaded wet areas of the woods.

German Bearded Iris: June, 2005
This was a good year for German Iris. Some varieties even managed a second blooming season in early Fall.

Joe Pye Weed: September, 2005
Joe Pye Weed provides the insect community with a major food supply in mid to late summer. Butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, tree crickets, katydids, crab spiders and grasshoppers are among those frequenting the plants.

Dobsonfly on coral rose: July, 2005
This dobsonfly was wetted to the point of drowning by a heavy rainfall. It was placed on the rose to dry out.

Woodears: September, 2005
Once we started to get some regular rainfall in September, all sorts of fungus fruited.

Woodear Crop: September, 2005
Once the woodears start to dry out they leave a striking display.

Tree Fungus Shelf: September, 2005
This fungal variety can get quite large and once dried is nearly as hard as maple. Occasionally arts and crafts people will collect and incorporate them into art work.

Another Tree Fungus: September, 2005
This fungal mass was still moist and growing when discovered.

Large Fungal Mass: September, 2005
This growth was nearly as large as a basketball and had an appearance of a rock formation in a cave.

Large Toadstool: October, 2005
A large, heavy bodied, gilled mushroom variety as found on a trail southeast of the Grand Island High School.

Bee mimic: June, 2005
This fly, likely in the same family as deer and horse flies, closely resembles a bee. This makes would be predators think twice before making a snack of it.

Sawfly: June, 2005
Sawflies are not really flies, but are members of the bee/wasp/ant family. There are a large number of these out this spring. The adults are not dangerous and the juvenile phases often feed on grasses.

Clear winged moth: June, 2005
Not a common sight, this slightly out of focus insect is a clear winged moth. Another variety of this family eats the centers out of squash plants; resulting in sudden death of the plant.

Superstition: June, 2005
This year was good for German irises. Pictured here is a dark blue/purple variety called Superstition. The photo was taken after a brief rainstorm followed by sun.

Dobsonfly: June, 2005
This was an unusual find on the outside wall of the Grand Island Memorial Library. This Dobson fly measured just over 2 inches in length. The juvenile forms of this insect are aquatic and voraceous pedators.

Floating Frog: June, 2005
Well camouflaged among the lilypads and algae mats, this frog patiently waits for a meal. The paved path along the marsh in Buckhorn offers many opportunities to watch frogs and other marsh residents.

Promethea Moth: June, 2005
If you scroll down the page, you will find a photo of a cocoon hanging from a twig. It is actually a promethea moth pupae wrapped in a leaf with silk, transforming into a moth. This large North American silk worm moth is the result of its eight month development.

Promethea Moth: June, 2005
Another view of a freshly emerged promethea moth. Last year these did not emerge from their cocoons until the end of June.

Promethea moths coupling: June, 2005
Shorlty after emerging and hardening of the wings, the moth uses pherhormones to attract a mate to it. The coupling shown here likely occurred less than 8 hours after emergence.

Promethea moths coupling: June, 2005
Note that the mated pair are different in colors. They are both the same species but exhibit distinct sexual dimorphism - where the male and female of a species are distinctly different in appearance.

Promethea moths coupling: June, 2005
Another photo of the same coupling promethea moths. Another note of interest, these giants of the moth world do not have mouth parts and cannot eat or drink. They live for just under two weeks. Their sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs for the next batch.

One last shot of the happy couple: June, 2005
After coupling for two hour or more the darker of the two flew off into the early evening sunset, leaving the remaining one (presumably the female) behind, on the apple tree.

Dead songbird: May, 2005
This songbird was discovered dead under the highlines on the northwest side of Buckhorn. On the same walk, chunks of dismembered skunk were also noted. In the case of the skunk, I believe it had been killed by a hawk, as there were hawk feathers with a strong skunk scent nearby.

Mating gnats.: Late May, 2005
Each spring and early summer, massive columns of gnats and midges may be seen along West River Road. This photo catches two mating while resting on a leaf.

New maple leaves: Late May 2005
With few exceptions, our trees have only really leafed out over the past two to three weeks. These very new maple leaves still retain their very shiny surface.

Newly emerged poison ivy leaves: Late May 2005
When poison ivy first puts out new leaves in the spring, their colors may be quite intense. The crimson leaves will soon turn the more familiar green but once the cold weather of late fall sets in they will again be this color.

Escaped lilacs.: Late May 2005
Feral lilac bushes may be found any number of places on the Island. Some of the best stands of these attractive plants may be found along West River and inside of Buckhorn, by the bird viewing blinds.

Woodland violets: Late May 2005
Patches of violets are now in full bloom along woodland trails. We also have white, yellow and light blue varieties on the Island.

Pink Tartarian Honeysuckle in bloom: Late May 2005
The pink variety of this escaped cultivar is starting to bloom on the north end of the Island. The white variety should start to bloom in another week or two.

Garlic Mustard Blooms: Late May 2005
Garlic mustard is one of the first plants to emerge each year. They are now in the 1-2.5 foot range in height with myriads of white blooms.

Gone to seed: Late May, 2005
Already producing seeds for a lawn near you. Dandelions get the advantage by not really dying in the winter. As soon as the ground thaws, they return to their nefarious plot of lawn domination world-wide.

Mayapple Patch: Late May, 2005
Though not yet in bloom, the mayapples are now up in force. This exceptionally large patch enjoys the filtered sunlight in Buckhorn park.

Spring Lady Beetle: April 2005
This orange/red beetle is taking advantage of the nectar on the small green blooms of this woodland bush.

Promethea Moth Cocoon: April 2005
The Promethea moth, one of the largest moth species in North America, will emerge from this well camouflaged coccoons in mid-June. Click "Here"for photos and more detailed information on this North American giant.

House Centipede: April, 2005
These creatures are thought to have been intoduced from the Mediterranean and Europe during the early 1800's. Warm, moist environments are preferred by these mostly nocturnal creatures. They feed on other creepy crawlers such as spiders, and silverfish.

House Centipede: April, 2005
Fast, 30 long legs, able to walk on ceilings and striped! It's just not right! Click "Here"for further photos and more detailed information on this multilegged nightmare.

Two Skunk Cabbage Blooms: April 2005
These blooms start to emerge as early as February and the plant actually may heat the surrounding soil to as high as 70 degrees in order to develope the bloom.

Skunk Cabbage Patch: April 2005
Skunk cabbage grows in shaded and wet, but not submerged, areas. The leaves become quite large and emit a strong skunk odor when broken or disturbed.

Wood Duck House: April 2005
A series of these "predator-proof" houses were erected thoughout the marshes and creeks in Buckhorn to attract wood ducks. Pairs of adults may often be seen resting on tops of these houses in the early morning hours.

Vine seedpods: April 2005
All that remains of last year's vines are these seedpods.

Emerging False Mandrake: April 2005
False Mandrake, or May apples, are one of the first woodland flowers to emerge. Note that the bud is on the top at this point. The leaves soon grow over it leaving it to bloom under the protective umbrella-like canopy.

Spring Foliage: April 2005
These brightly colored leaves provide a pleasing contrast to the brown, early Spring landscape of Buckhorn.

Late afternoon sun: April 2005
The clouds parted just enough to reveal the sun and golden lined clouds.

Beavers using wier to support damn: April 2005
The beavers have continued to be very active in Buckhorn. They have been using a manmade weir to aid in their attempts to make a damn in the marsh/Woods Creek boarder.

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle: April, 2005
Very alert, metallic green predaceous beetles found along paths and other sunny locations.

Garter Snake: April, 2005
Garter snakes are one of the first reptiles to make an appearance when it starts to warm up outside.

Coltsfoot Blooms: April, 2005
Probably the first wildflower to bloom in our area. The blooms emerge over a month before the folliage.

Coltsfoot Folliage: June, 2004
The bright green folliage resembles that of sandburr but never gains much height.

Surviving Rosehips: April, 2005
Most of the rosehips from last fall are eaten by birds and small mammals but a few manage to survive the long winter unscathed.

Late Winter Sumac: April, 2005
The sumac seed heads often cling to the fuzzy branches until mid-summer.

Alder Tree Catkins: April, 2005
The catkins (the pollen producing structure) of the alder trees first form in the fall, then overwinter only to elongate and open up to release myriads of pollen spores in the early Spring.

Floating Frog: April, 2005
Frogs are one of the harbingers of Spring. As soon as the snow has mostly melted away they awake and start singing throughout the wetlands.

Milkweed Pod Shells: April, 2005
Common milkweeds form large seedpods in late fall. After drying out and splitting open the seeds blow away leaving behind the tough, dried and empty pods.

Milkweed Bush Seedpod: April, 2005
The bush-like variety of milkweed usually waits until Spring to finish releasing the last of the seeds tightly stored inside the elongated pods.

Canada Goose Incuating Eggs: April, 2005
This Canada goose is incubating a clutch of about 8 eggs. She blends in well with the brush and has an aggressive mate to aid in protecting the nest site.

Resting Gull: April, 2005
An adult seagull rests on a rock located on the point of Buckhorn State Park.

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