Trip 1: Sterling Nature Center

Panorama of Lake Ontario shoreline from Sterling Nature Center
Panorama of Lake Ontario shoreline from Sterling Nature Center

Location Information

Today, we visited the Freshwater Forested/Shrub Wetland habitat, "Sterling Nature Center" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service classification code: PSS1/EM1F). My objective was to gather underwater video and images using my phone and a waterproof endoscope. Once collected, I planned to gather interesting media here, as a kind of informal scientific log, and into a long-term video project that I will call "Shallow Water."

The approximately 1 1/2-acre site of our exploration,
mapped using the "Wetland Mapper" tool
National Wetlands Inventory (

If my Shallow Water film project serves a purpose, it may be to spread the fascination I have with what I discover and learn from these kinds of excursions. Currently, the projected release date for my finished "film" is Earth Day, 2024. I have chosen this because I imagine a positive by-product of my own fascination may be my audience's increased awareness regarding local/regional wetland and wetland-adjacent biodiversity.

Above: a link to the approximate are of this trip's video-gathering.
Below: a spot several yards from the lakeshore where I captured videos of frogs and insects.

Biodiversity Notes

I am very new at identifying anything that I find with any kind of accuracy. I recognize, too, that apps like the Merlin Bird ID app (screenshot below) - and any similar tool, requires some human verification. Nonetheless, I think the bird species identified on this trip seem accurately identified. The only bird that I did not see with my own eyes is the Sora, detected during one of my recordings.

Bird Species identified using Merlin Bird ID
Species identified using Merlin Bird ID

We also saw a snake, several frogs, ladybugs, other bugs, and seagulls.

Pollution Notes

While recording, we made reasonable attempts to remove any litter that we found. This included small pieces of hard plastic, extruded polystyrene foam, paper, light plastic (wrappers), and one Mylar (?) balloon.

Well, it used to be a balloon - though I don't know if it is Mylar.
The ink/printing has mostly worn away into the water where all sorts of creatures are living.
A spider was sitting on the balloon when we fished it out onto the ground.

Our collection for this trip, which I took (with our household garbage)
to the Oswego Transfer Station.

Videography Notes

I do not have much to report yet, except that a preliminary review of my videos suggests that I need to improve my methods. More specifically, I need to devise a more practical way to keep the endoscope from shaking and twisting.


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