Insects, Mushrooms And A Frog, A Mid Summer Hike With My Macro Lens

It’s mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I’ve been spending most of my free  time searching for the many edible species I like to eat. Today, I wanted to get home early to watch the Eagles football game so I decided to take a quick hike out nearby Community Park and scenic Lake Irene with my macro lens. Lake Irene and clouds

It’s mid summer now the many insects that are found in our area are at their peak.  Dragonflies were darting along the lake and perched on the rocks, branches and plants on the shores. dragonfly perched on branch

There are not many flowers in bloom now, but the ones that are blooming attract a wide variety of insects, including a lot of bees, bee on flower

and beetles.beetle on flower

Most of the butterflies are now gone but I did find one of their offspring this caterpillar on ground

And there were many types of grasshoppers and crickets jumping through the brush. grasshopper on ground

I walked around the lake, sampling some of the many, now ripe, blackberries. close up of blackberry

And found the tea berries in bloom. There bright red berries will be found throughout the fall and winter. tea berry flowers

And the jewel weed or touch me not  was still in bloom jewel weed flower

as well as some other flowers I was unfamiliar with. flower in bloom

I didn’t see any turtles today but did find the leopard frog sitting near on of the many puddles and ponds along the trail. 

And I did find some mushrooms, which have been growing everywhere because of the plentiful rain we have had in Northeastern Pennsylvania, 

including this unusual one, an old man of the woods, 

and this milker mushroom. 

I wasn’t out long but, as I always do, I enjoyed exploring the trails along lake Irene , especially in the Summer. There is always something to see if you keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.
~Christina Georgina Rossetti



Share This:

You Don’t Need To Go Far To Enjoy Nature, Early Summer At Community Park

It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon this past week, and I decided to take a quick hike out to our local Community park to enjoy the early Summer sunshine. 

I enjoy my walk around Lake Irena since you never know if you many see an eagle, osprey or just some loons, ducks or geese. 

The Summer is now a week old and the low bush blueberries have ripened in the sun. I enjoyed a few handfuls on my walk.

 The mountain laurel have faded already, Summer passes so quickly. 

And I saw some of the first mushrooms appearing in the woodlands along the lake. It won’t be long until I am searching for the edible species that grow in our area. 

As I walked along the wetlands at the northern side of the lake I saw some tree swallows flying neat a tree stump and, discovered this nest of young swallows. 

I watched the nest for an hour, hoping to catch the parents feeding the young chicks. 

My patience was rewarded as I was able to capture mom or dad feeding their youngsters a meal of fresh dragonfly.  I was probably just as hungry as the chicks, but wanted to capture the interaction of the birds as they were fed.  Here is a link to some more photographs of the tree swallows.

My hunger overcame my curiosity and so I decided to head home, enjoying my walk through the woods as the evening sun filtered through the trees. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike.

I returned the next evening, another beautiful sunny day, with my 400mm lens hoping to capture even better photographs of the swallows.

 Unfortunately the swallows didn’t co-operate. They were either sleeping or had left the nest. It was still a nice day to be out and I took a few photographs of the many  dragonflies along the lake. 

As I have always said you don’t have to travel far to find the beauty of nature,  jus a hike in the neighborhood park has many secrets to offer, if you keep your eyes peeled and look for them .

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  William Shakespeare



Share This:

I Finally Found Some Mountain Laurel, Almost In My Own Back Yard At Nearby Community Park.

If you had followed my last two posts, you would know I  looked for, but  didn’t find any mountain laurel, our state flower, on my two hikes last weekend. It was a beautiful evening on Tuesday, the last day of Spring and I decided to hike out nearby Community Park and always picturesque Lake Irena. 

The sun was only one day from it highest point in our skies here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and already had ripened some of the low bush blueberries or “huckleberries” as they are know in these parts, growing along the shores of the lake. They

tasted very good. 

The park and lake were again crowded with families , fishermen, and walkers enjoying the delightful weather. 

I walked across the berm of the dam holds the waters of Harvey Creek and created the lake in the early 1960’s. e

As I walked into the woodlands surrounding the lake on it’s eastern shore I came upon large numbers of mountain laurels shrubs in full bloom. 

Photographs cannot capture the beauty of this flower shining in early evening sunlight. 

I walked the trail into the deeper woodlands and wetlands on the northern end of the lake and encountered even more mountain laurel. 

I was disappointed there were not more animals or birds in the woods but did see a few turtles, 

and plenty of dragonflies enjoying the sunshine. 

I walked along the other side of the  lake looking for frogs, snakes or some more turtles in  the many lily pads growing in the lake. 

It was after seven p.m. when I decided to leave the park. The sun was still high in the northwestern sky as it filtered through leaves of the trees along the lake. It was a perfect night to end the Spring.  I didn’t have to go far to find some fresh huckleberries and enjoy thre beauty of out state flower. You just got  to keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk.


“I pray that the life of this spring and summer may ever lie fair in my memory.”
–  Henry David Thoreau




Share This:

Finally Sunshine, And A Quick Hike Out Community Park

We finally got a mostly sunny day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.It was still a bit cool for me,  mid 70 degree temperatures.  I like it hot, 90 degrees would be nice. But it was beautiful and I decided to head out Community  Park and look for eagles and ospreys on the lake. 

The park was not as crowded as I expected, with just a few families at the playground,  a couple of folks fishing and just a few people walking around the lake. 

There were not many critters either. I saw a few chipmunks, a squirrel and only one bird, this robin and only for a few minutes until he/she flew away. 

I did see a few turtles on the logs in the water but they were hard to photograph because of the angle of the sun. 

I did notice on my walk that it won’t be long until the state flower, the mountain laurel are in full bloom. They will transform our woodlands into a magical garden.  I love walking in the forest when they are in bloom. 

Some of the sheep laurel, a smaller relative of the mountain laurel are already blooming. 

I walked around the lake and found the trails near the wetlands section flooded from the local rains. 

The skunk cabbage still are green, although they will soon start to fade. They are the first plants to appear in the spring but also fade  and disappear in early summer. 

The many species of fern are in their prime now. 

I found fresh signs that there are still beavers in the area, 

It was a perfect evening for a walk under the trees as the sun filtered through to the forest floor below. 

And it should be a great night to watch the almost full strawberry moon in the clear skies. I love this time of year. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike.

“On this June day the buds in my garden are almost as enchanting as the open flowers. Things in bud bring, in the heat of a June noontide, the recollection of the loveliest days of the year – those days of May when all is suggested, nothing yet fulfilled.”
–  Francis King

Share This:

Mid Spring At Community Park

The annual spurt of growth is at it’s peak here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Even the oaks, always the last get their leaves, and the last to lost them on the fall are clothed in their fresh green coats. Community park -20

It was cloudy and cool, but no rain, so still a nice afternoon for a hike out the nearby community park. Community park -1

Once again it was crowded with many people enjoying the trails, playground and picnic areas as well as fishermen along the shores of lovely Lake Irena.Community park -30

As I approached the lake I noticed another sign that the season is moving on, the flowering of the hawkweed. I remember  this weed in my backyard as a young child and knew it’s blooming  meant that the school was almost over. Community park -2

The abundant flowers of the low bush blueberries have now produced tiny berries. They should begin ripening near the Summer solstice next month. Community park -4

I took a  walk around  the lake hoping to  see the bald eagle, osprey, loon, or at least some water fowl I have seen in the past. No luck this time.  I did not a single bird of any kind but heard a few blue jays, robins and crows and spotted this fellow in a tree. Community park -32

There were also a lot of wild flowers blooming along the trails, including the pink azalea or honeysuckle,Community park -8

may flowers,Community park -21 

lady slipper orchards or  duck flowersCommunity park -35

and even a few painted trillium. Community park -23

And there was some wildlife, if you can call turtles wildlife. Community park -15

I saw quite a few along the logs, rocks and shores of the lake where it abuts a wetland on it’s northern end,Community park -17

including this snapping turtle. Community park -13

As I made my way back I even found some mushrooms growing on a log, not an edible species like the oyster mushrooms I had found on Sunday. not to my knowledge anyway. Community park -7

The woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania are so pretty this time of year, with the pink azaleas in bloom. I am hoping I can get out for another hike this week, although there is rain in the forecast. I will still hike in the rain but, unfortunately, not with my camera. But I am sure there  will be many sunny days ahead this Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike. park -28

“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Community park -24


Share This:

Up Close Or From Far Away: Everything Looks Good This Time Of Year.

The heat was on here today in Northeastern Pennsylvania Temperatures climbed into the upper 80’s.  I was hoping heat would bring out the insects so I took a short walk after work with my macro lens. Macroand community park -4

I enjoy seeing thing through the macro lens, it lets me look into an entire new world. I saw this insect on a windows in my house.Macroand community park -1

I left my house and walked through my neighborhood looking at flowers, leaves and weeds from a different perspective, such as this poison ivy leaf.Macroand community park -7

Or these comfrey flowers.Macroand community park -6

The peony flowers in my mom’s yard always attract ants but they sure lood different up close. Macroand community park -16

I was surprised, and somewhat alarmed, by the absence of the bees and wasps. There usually are a lot more buzzing around by now. Hopefully they will appear then the rhododendrons bloom in  few days. Here is a link to some more photographs I took with my macro lens. community park -11

Although I have a lot of garden work and chores to do I  decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and visit Lake Irena out at Community park.Macroand community park -24

I wasn’t the only one with this idea and the park was crowded with families and young children at the playground,  folks at the picnic grounds and walkers and fishermen at the lake. Macroand community park -45

I took a quick walk around the lake noticing that the pink azaleas were just starting to loom up here on the mountain. They were blooming two weeks ago at the lower elevations at the PPL wetlands. Macroand community park -28

There were also a lot of low and high bush blueberries still flowering as well as an abundance of wild strawberries. Macroand community park -26

I was hoping to see the osprey or bald eagle again, or at least the looks and ducks that are sometimes seen on the lake but all I saw were two geese and this noisy  blue jay.Macroand community park -39

It was still a great way to spend some time on this hot, summer like afternoon and I  am looking to many more days like this in the coming months. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike at the lake. community park -3

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”—John MuirMacroand community park -22



Share This:

Finally Some Nice Weather For An Afternoon Walk At Community Park.

It was another cold start this morning, with temperatures near  the freezing mark. It was also mostly clear, and in  May, the sun is strong and it turned out to be a nice day. So I decided to see if I could find an eagle or an osprey out Lake Irena  at out local Community park after work. Community park -4

The cumulus clouds and sunshine made for perfect walking weather and the park was crowded with families, walkers and fisherman.Community park -6

I walked around the lake enjoying the profusion of new growth of the plants and trees. I again noticed a lot of flowers on both the low and high bush blueberries. It looks like their will be a big crop of berries everywhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

The many species of fern were now unfurling their  first fronds.Community park -16

As others were already unfurled.Community park -40

And the skunk cabbages, growing throughout the wetlands surrounding the lake,  were in their Spring green glory. Community park -18

I did not see an osprey or eagle and I was surprised, and disappointed,  to not see many water fowl or song birds. I saw a cat bird, a few crows and some mallards on the water but that was it. Community park -27

I did see this chipmunk,Community park -7

and a few turtles sunning themselves on logs on the lake but that was it. Community park -14

It still was a perfect day to be out and enjoy the scenery of the lake. Community park -31

And to see the trees putting forth their first leaves of the season.Community park -38

The delicate wild lilies of the valley were also blooming on the  trails along the Community park -8lake. 

Clouds moved in as I completed my walk but it was nice to see the sunshine for most of the day.  I  always  love a sunny day, but even more so during the  wonderful month of May.  Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike. park -21


“Stay close to the serenity of a lake to meet your own peace of mind.”
Munia KhanCommunity park -37


Share This:

A Short Hike Out Community Park. No Bald Eagles So I Had To Settle For An Osprey

After a chilly start the temperatures neared 80 degrees today.  I decided to take a quick hike out out local Community Park in Hazle Township after work  to see if the bald eagle that was seen a few weeks ago was still there. community park -1

The park was crowded with many families enjoying the warmth  and Some fishermen along the shores of  Lake park -3

However the weather changed as I began my walk  and it become windy and cloudy. It looked like we were going to get the thunderstorms they were predicting. community park -36

I hiked along the lake looking for water fowl, migrating birds and the bald eagle. I saw no wildlife but did notice many signs of Spring. including a lot of blueberry bushes, both of the high and low bush varieties, that were in bloom.  judging from the abundance of flowers it looks like it will be  good crop this year. community park -39

The was also a lush growth of skunk cabbages in the swamps and wetlands surrounding the lake. community park -28

And many ferns were now unfurling their fronds alongside the skunk cabbages. community park -26

As I walked the paths I was pleasantly surprised to see this critter perched on an dead tree branch. And it looked as surprised as I was. community park -12

It watched and stared at me as  I made my way through the brush to try and get a clearer photograph,community park -15

It decided to  take off as I got closer. community park -16

I watched it soar into the cloudy sky and was glad to have had this  nice encounter.  I was also glad I made the decision to visit the park after work. community park -21

I walked back to my car, seeing this pair of geese along the shore,community park -31

and these mallard ducks on the lake. community park -34

It was a short, but eventful hike. You never know what you will find once you leave your house and explore the outdoors, especially in Spring. You just got to keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this afternoon. park -22

I think he’ll be to Rome as is the osprey to the fish, who takes it by sovereignty of nature.”― William Shakespeare


Share This:

Community Park: No Bald Eagles, But Some Other Birds Have Returned

There was a cold wind blowing today but the clear blue skies and March sun made for a beautiful afternoon and I decided to take advantage of it and head out to our local Hazle Township Community park-1

I had heard there were recent bald eagle sightings and I was hoping to see one near Lake Irena. community park-16

I had no luck spotting an eagle as I walked around the lake but I did see a few water fowl who returned to  the lake now that the ice had melted. community park-18

I spotted this common loon   in the center of the lake and, as I watched it swim and dive I also noticed it had a friend. community park-6

I believe this is a bufflehead duck bit am not real sure. community park-10

And a few mallard ducks flew past me as i watched the loon and bufflehead duck community park-8.

I walked around the lake, finding the paths to be very wet and muddy from the recently melted snow. community park-21

It was a  beautiful afternoon and I loved walking under the pines that towered into the deep blue skies. community park-14

As I walked along the lake i ran into a pair of Canada geese who I am sure were looking for a place to build a park-29

As the sun dropped into the western sky it got quite chilly and I regretted wearing only  shorts and a tee shirt. community park-39

And I was getting hungry so I decided to leave before the sun set, knowing there will be  plenty warmer days ahead now that Spring arrived. Here is a link to some more photographs from my short hike out Community park. park-37

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickenscommunity park-31

Share This:

A First Time Hike From Green Ridge To Community Park.

The forecast  this morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania called for freezing rain.  I didn’t want to drive far in case the roads got icy  so I thought about hiking in nearby Community Park. As I was getting dressed I recalled how my friends and I often wanted to walk out to the park when I was in elementary school. We never did. So today I decided why not?community-park-1

I checked Google  maps and it looked like a 1.75 mile hike from my house as the crow flies, probably about  a 2 1/2 miles through the woods. So I left my house and walked north  down the ridge through my property, passing beneath the “Coke”  sign tree. There was an old Coca Cola sign nailed on this tree  when we were kids. community-park-4

The trees under which I walked were now leafless on this cloudy and cold December day. . community-park-3

And the ground covered with there fallen leaves. community-park-2

I came to the old railroad track right of way, the northern border of my property and headed west to the tower lines, The railroad was abandoned, and the tracks removed about 25 years ago. community-park-8

When I came to the  electric tower line I headed north again, having came this way only a few times in my life. The tower line first borders the edge of the Valmont Industrial Park  and than a housing development on the west.  To the east  of the tower line. was one of the first shopping malls in the area, where, appropriately, one of the first stores was named Towers. community-park-1

I discovered I wasn’t the only one walking on these paths, as I found plenty of deer track in the now frozen

Once I came to the end of the shopping mall I was in unexplored territory. I walked down along the edge of the housing development to an old electric power substation along a major highway, Route

I thought i may have trouble crossing the busy highway but there was little traffic, maybe because of the holiday, and I leisurely walked across. It wasn’t so easy on the other side. I walked down into a wetland area and some thick brush. community-park-10

These wetlands, with tall growths of reeds and grass were along the Black

Near this creek here was some  of the first business in West Hazleton a sawmill and a gunsmith shop operated by the Horn family, one of the founding fathers of West Hazleton.  I hadn’t thought ahead how I would cross this creek and found it wasn’t going to be easy. I walked through thorns, thick  brush and briers along it’s banks until I came to a somewhat spot where the waters were somewhat  narrow for me to attempt a jump. Well I thought I could make it, and in my younger days would have, but today I wound up coming up shirt and winding up with a shoe full of water. community-park-14

I made my way up the bank, again through thorns and thick brush and walked up to the new road Hazle Township built along another abandoned railroad right of way. I had been here before, having hiked in from the east. I followed the road past another  new residential development and soccer fields. I was pleased to see a group of high school age boys playing football in the cold. community-park-16

I walked into the park, which was empty. past the tank memorial, playground and picnic areas  to the now frozen Lake Irene. community-park-18

I had hoped to maybe see the bald eagle that i saw a few weeks ago so  I walked along the lake. I realized the eagle may not be here now since the waters are mainly frozen on the lake. community-park-32

I didn’t see the flock of ducks or geese that were here all Summer and still here on my last visit a few weeks ago. I thought they flew south but, did see one duck fly off in the distance, and soon found it must have remained on some waters that still were not frozen, community-park-34

I did see about a half dozen of what looked like seagulls fly over the lake. community-park-36

I heard a few crows and a lot of the carefree  cries of the friendly black capped chickadees on my walk and was able to capture this house finch near one of the housing developments’ community-park-8

I didn’t see any, but I could tell there were some beavers near the lake that have been active by the number of small trees that were chewed on. community-park-28

And my hunter friends can tell you what kind  of animal did

As I finished my walk around the lake, it began to rain, and freeze, and my photography for the day was over. I was focused on making it back through the woods on the now frozen paths. it wasn’t bad walking on the leaves and grass but the exposed surfaces and rocks were treacherous.  The cold rain stung my face but eventually I made it back to West Hazleton were I found the roads to be even worse. This hills was a sheet of ice and not easy to

I did make it home, and although I was cold and tired I still was glad I finally can say I walked to Community Park. I hope to do it again,  in better weather  conditions,   in the Spring or Summer,  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today.–1community-park-5

When we lose these woods, we lose our soul. Not simply as individuals, but as a people.”
Kevin Walkercommunity-park-21


Share This: