Many of you readers may remember an article I did a few weeks ago concerning some unusual vegetation many of us have noticed sprouting up on the sand piles, or berms as they are sometimes refered to.
The smaller-sized round balls of green seemed to be planted neatly in rows and were in various states of growth. They resembled small tumbleweeds. I quizzed several sources who might have had an idea as the origin of the tumbleweeds with no results.
Last week I received a letter from Sam Mancuso, who resides near the area. Mr. Mancuso concurred that the vegetation is indeed a member of the tumbleweed family, or technically a member of the Amarantaceae family or cultivars that form the tumbleweed.
Tumbleweeds located along Wright Park beach near North Main St.
A stubby-tailed gray squirrel spotted on Pine St. in Dunkirk.
According to Mancuso, the plant came to our country from Asia in the nineteenth century in shipments of flax seeds. The weed is common in arid, sandy, dry environments, which is exactly how our area was this summer. Tumbleweeds and sage brush are often featured in Westerns in the desert areas. Tumbleweeds are an above-ground plant that matures and dries and blows away in the wind, spreading its seeds along the way.
Mancuso, like many of the rest of us, does not know how it arrived in Dunkirk, nor does he know what specific weed it is, but what he does know is that it does hold the sand down and keeps it out of his yard. "I would rather pick up a few tumbleweeds than shovel dumptruck loads of sand. In this case, I think it is a beneficial weed," said Mancuso.
Note that as we enter the Fall season, many of the weeds have blown away. How all the sand got moved to that area is another mystery.
Before reading the article in the OBSERVER about the squirrel population explosion, I happened to notice just how many black and gray squirrels are in the area, admiring their luxurious long tails, which I remember reading they use for balance. With Fall in full swing, the 'nutty' rodents are frantically searching for food to store for the winter. I spied this gray with an unusually short tail. I got within a few feet of him and noticed he definitely wasn't too happy so I got the shot and let him be. I guess size really does matter.
The SAREP Youth Fly Fishing Program will begins its 14th season of FREE fly tying/fly fishing classes on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Fredonia Middle School Cafeteria. Field trips will occur shortly afterwards. Classes are free and open to children and community members. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The classes will continue to meet every Monday until early summer.
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host turkey shoots at its club located on Ogden Road on Sunday, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. The events will start at noon and last until they're finished. These events will be held rain or shine. The public is welcome. All legal centerfire firearms are permitted. Ammunition will be provided for birdshot and deer slugs only. There will be .22 caliber shoots on the indoor range. Bring your own ammo.
If your club is holding a similar event contact the OBSERVER at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 5 p.m.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will resume its annual Hunters Helping the Hungry program. On Tuesdays Con Club members are urged to bring a non-perishable food item with them. All donations will be distributed to the needy in the community through the efforts of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Youth Organization during the Christmas season.
Fly tying classes have resumed on Monday evenings from 6-8 p.m., at the Sinclairville Free Library. Classes will continue until May. All tools and materials are provided free. For more information, call 962-3635 or 485-3919 or log on www.countrykidsonthefly.blogspot.com.
The Ellery Rod & Gun Club located on Pancake Hill Road, Bemus Point will host turkey shoots on Oct. 28, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11 . from 9 until noon. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. until noon. These events are open to the public.
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host its 65th annual turkey shoot on Sunday, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 from noon until finish. The club is located on Ogden Road .
The 2012 Arts of the Angler Show will take place on Nov. 10 & 11 at the Danbury Ethan Allen Inn, exit 4 on Route I-84 Danbury, Conn. This will be a little taste of fly fisherman's heaven, featuring the finest contemporary and collectible fly fishing including tackle and accessories, materials, books destinations, guiding, and services for the fly fishing community. There will also be a live auction on Nov. 10. For more information call 845-439-4810 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website at www.cffcm.net
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.