I've adopted a small area of Ithaca property that no one else seems to care about. It's on the west bank of the flood control channel, south of the island. Seems that the construction of the flood control channel piled up a mound of dirt cutting off a small pond. Let's call that body of water a "lagoon". Then the mound of dirt, my adopted land, could be called a "shoal".
Who owns this property? A few years ago, an employee at one of the nearby stores gave me a phone number for the owner in Syracuse. I never called. I imagine he owns this property in the same sense that I own the sidewalk in front of my house: he's got a piece of paper, the "title", but the local government actually has the last word on how the land is used.
Over the past few years, I've planted some trees on my Shoal. About a dozen evergreens so far, most of which have survived.
One fine spring afternoon in 2009, I noticed a mother goose nesting on my Shoal:
The goslings grow up in a hurry: they left the nest the next day. In the morning: