The site encompasses 264 acres strictly for the conservation and preservation of nature. The land was reclaimed from its use as a landfill, which was home to two million cubic feet of solid municipal waste. The area was purchased from the City of Buffalo, then protectively encased in clay. It was then covered with soil excavated elsewhere on the property and seeded with wildflowers and grasses. The thick clay cap contains the seepage to the surface.
Animals from the greater regional area take advantage of the preserve’s ponds, swamps, marshes, thickets, and forested areas. The Mounds grassy fields are pictured above, never hinting at the previous use as a landfill.
The location, with proximity to the east shore of Lake Erie, and its isolation from other similar areas, make it an attractive area for migrant and resident birds. Sixty-five different species have been reported to breed here. Some migrant birds, shorebirds, flycatchers, and warblers have been sighted on their northward and southward passage. To see all the varieties recorded, go to this site.
There was a turkey vulture, shown above, it flew overhead, then quickly disappeared over the trees. I am not sure if it was a turkey vulture (it has a little head and big wing span, but I did not see it long enough to see if its head was bald) , but it was a huge bird. Also a hawk (not as big), but it also went into the trees, so neither photo is very clear. No time to change camera settings to adjust for the bright sky.
I rarely look up, and I just happened to right before both big raptors disappeared. Plus I did not have my 300mm lens on the walk either, it was left in the truck on the other camera. This place is known for bird watching too, I just was not expecting any to be flying around in the middle of the day. Heck, I did not see any birds other than robins before the turkey all but ran in front of me. All I could do to quickly focus on the scared bird. He must have thought I was scoping up my shotgun.
It is exciting at a nature preserve. I am very lucky to live near so many places that have natural wonders. It is far too bad that the manmade places are not as nice. But that is a rant I have on Niagara Falls. If only preserving the architecture had been a priority before so much was lost.
This frog did not move, so I got good photos of him. I guess he thought I could not see him in all the slime. All his relatives dove in like Olympic swimmers and quickly submerged, but not him. If I was thinking, I would have taken a shot of all the frogs making swan dives.
The Preserve is a very relaxing place to hike and take photographs. The architectural firm where I worked was part of this project in the 70’s and 80’s, a very long time before I was employed there or even a resident of New York. It is a project I would have loved to work on due to the uniqueness of the site. I did work on a reclamation, brown field site in a different town. It was a phenomenal experience located along the Niagara River.
You have to look close to see the Blue-Eyed Darner, above. Tiny, yet very vibrant. One thing about shooting bugs, the time of day usually plays into success. It is best early in the day or late in the day when insects are less active. At a preserve like this one, you are prohibited from leaving the trail. This is to protect the wild nature of the area. Many dragonflies and damselflies where flying, but not landing.
The Tifft Nature Preserve is administered by the Buffalo Museum of Science. When the museum acquired the property in 1982, it was called Tifft Farm Nature Preserve to reflect the dairy farm owned by George Washington Tifft. It was changed to Tifft Nature Preserve to better demonstrate the purpose of the site in conservation of indigenous plants and animals, plus the migratory species also.