Green Ridge: A Reflective Walk On The Railroad Tracks.

It was a cloudy, but somewhat mild morning, here in the Green Ridge section of Hazle Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Sunday.  A “balmy” 29 degrees it was. snow covered path in woods

It warmed up into the mid 30’s when I decided to hike on  the railroad tracks near my house in  Green Ridge. Although next to  West Hazleton, it really was a “patch town” when I grew up here. .   I walked down what is left of the old “black road” and through some very old strip mines we called  “doggie dams”.snow covered "doggie dams" in Green Ridge

I spent many a winter day out here as a child. My friends and I played  hockey in the cold with sticks and cans on the frozen surface of the old strip mines. frozen and snow covered pond

It seems some critter was also playing on the ice. Well probably not playing but looking for some food.   Here is a closer look at the tracks. I am guessing maybe a coyote but not real  sure. Feel free to send a comment if you can identify them.possibly coyote tracks in the snow

The “dams”  are now privately owned and the owners are kind enough to allow me to hike out here. I walked past the  “doggie dams” and through the reclamation area that was once a  playground for the kids living  in  Green Ridge.snow covered path in mine reclamation area

We played in the deep strip mines and the coal silt we called the “black sands”. We looked for fossils, played army, camped  and just explored every part of this vast strip mined area.  They were good days. I have written about my experiences in a few  other blog posts that can be found in the archives.mine reclamation area

As I walked through the new growth of the reclamation area I stopped to watch a large flock of some winter residents in our area, the northern junco or “snow bird”. northern juncos in tree

Large numbers of these birds migrate to our warmer winters from their summer homes in northern Canada.northern junco in flight

I soon made my way to the railroad tracks. So much of the woods and strip mines of my youth have been altered over the years. I find great comfort walking on these tracks which remain a real reminder   of the wonderful memories I had growing up in Green Ridge. snow covered railroad tracks

As I had done so many times in my lifetime, I began walking west on the railroad tracks. The large slate and culm bank know as “flat top” and which my friends called  “killer” is gone.snow covered railroad tracks

But not the memories. I would hike up that large hill every New Years Day and take in the view of the homes in my beloved Green Ridge and the City of Hazleton in the distance. I would reflect on the past year of my life and what the new year would bring.  It was a sad year when “killer” was leveled as part of the reclamation project about 10 years ago. bramble thorn

Some familiar items still remain along the tracks, like this old telegraph booth that once stood here. ruins of old telegraph booth on railroad tracks

I walked west and soon came to the “tower lines”.  So many memories out here. Many a cool summer morning  found us out here picking “huckleberries”. We made our way, throughout  the day, over the ridge, past “Kress’s junkyard”, and finishing at the cold waters of “Shiny Creek”. We stopped for a cool drink and searched for crayfish in the fresh waters. Good days they were. pole lines in woods

The old “tower lines”were recently replaced with new pole lines again removing another treasured part  of my youth. pole lines on ridge

I continued my walk on the railroad tracks , crossing the bridge over the Cranberry Creek, or as we called it the “s–t” creek. It’s waters have not flowed for many year now. snow covered railroad tracks

I have been researching the origins of these tracks and it seems they were laid sometime in the early 1880’s. Here is a link to an article I found.  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/15778476/the_hazleton_sentinel/snow covered railroad tracks

I hope to do more research and post an article about the history of the Green Ridge railroads tracks.   On Sunday I continued my hike on the tracks as they curved northward around the ridge. Huge glacial boulders can be seen along the ridge. I explored every one of them over the years. snow covered boulders

I came to the location of where Shiny Creek once flowed under the tracks. I spent many days resting here. However, in the mid 1980’s the creek was  diverted and a beautiful wetland destroyed to build a factory. How those permits were issued still puzzles  me. snow covered railroad tracks

I was now near the Valmont Industrial Park. At the first railroad crossing I decided to  take a shortcut through the park since I wanted to be back to watch the  Philadelphia Eagles football team. railroad crossing in industrial park

I would often walk to the “mile high” bridges that span the Black Creek about a half mile further north. On Sunday I walked a short distance through the industrial park. crow in flight

It was here I observed some of the only wildlife I encountered on my hike,  few crows flying overhead,blue jay perched on tree top

and this blue jay singing from high atop a tree top. blue jay perched on tree top

I walked along the right of way of  a pole line as it crossed through a portion of the  Valmont Sanctuary Bog. This valuable wetlands is  now owned, and protected, by the North Branch Land Trust. Rare orchids and other plants thrive here. It is a shame folks still ride their all terrain vehicles or quads through these precious wetlands. Here is a link to some more information about the bog. http://www.nblt.org/lands-we-own/valmont-bog

I now walked on the old right of way of the “third rail” It was an electric trolley line that ran to Wilkes-Barre and built in the 1890’s.  It later became  an active branch of the Lehigh Valley road. I remember watching many a train on these tracks.  The line was abandoned and the tracks removed about twenty years ago. The right of way is now the northern border of my property.trees and trail in snow

I walked the right of way about a quarter of a mile east and came to “Lipper’s Grove”   where we would camp and have cookouts when I was growing up.  I used to sit here for hours enjoying the peace and quiet of these woods. I am so proud and fortunate to now own this land. As I had so many times in the past,  I decided to build a fire on Sunday.campfire in snow

There is nothing as peaceful, comforting and reflective as a wood fire outdoors on a cold day. This year there was no way to avoid thinking about the recent tragedy in my life and how it has affected me. close up of flames in fire

As I watched the blazing fire slowly turn to smouldering ashes I reflected on the loss of my sibling,  and her husband. Such good human beings.  I miss them both. And so many  wonderful memories my sister and I  had of  growing up in Green Ridge that can never be shared together. But sharing them with my family, friends and followers of this blog does provide me with some comfort. burning embers in campfire

I walked the right of way back to West Hazleton.  As I climbed the hill from I came the Babe Ruth field, the Little League field and my alma mata West Hazleton High School. So many memories but that will be for another post. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Green Ridge railroad hike December 17 2017.sun obscured by clouds and fields

“Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?” 
― Sarah Addison Allen

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Walking In The Snow On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails.

It’s December and that usually means some snow here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. However, the past few years have been mild and we haven’t seen a lot of December snow. Well, that changed today. Snow was in the forecast, and it started around 9 a.m. this morning. I am not a fan of driving on snowy roads so I decided to hike on  the nearby Rails to Trails. snow on trail at Rails to Trails entrance

I arrived at the trail just as a light  snow began to cover the ground. It was calm and the 28 degree temperature did not feel to bad as I set off on my walk  in the gently falling snow. snow on leafless trees and pine tree trail

In my younger days I loved the snow and cold in Winter. I spent many hours in Winters past outside with family and friends, hiking, building snowmen and snow forts,  sledding, ice skating,  and skiing. Winter fires were always fun.snow covered oak leaf

Injuries and degenerative changes in my low  back, neck, shoulder and now hip have ended a lot of these activities. And the deeper snow and ice make it hard to walk. But I am not one to sit inside so I will trudge through even the deepest snow, although I certainly don’t enjoy it  as much these days. snow on pine cone

Today the snow fell lightly and it was not bad  walking. I enjoyed my hike on the trail  as the surrounding woods turned into a wintery wonderland. snow covered trail

There were only three other folks on the trail and almost no wildlife. I only saw a few crows flying overhead.crow in flight

I didn’t even see the usual winter denizen of our woodlands, the juncos and black-capped chickadees. Like most sensible humans they were probably waiting for the snow to stop. I was hoping to see a few deer or even a bear but no such luck, This  bear sculpture at the entrance were the only bears I saw on my hike . snow covered bear sculptures

I walked out past the picnic area and new pet watering station next to the Dreck Creek Reservoir. buildings at picni area on trail

The snow began to fall more heavily as I approached the three mile mark. I decided to head back as the depth of the snow began to affect the traction of my footing. snow covered trail

I walked back as the snow continued. There is always a hush in the woods during a snowfall and it puts me into a very reflective mood.  I reminisced on the  many pleasant memories of  my earlier years playing and walking in the snow.  snow covered trail

 

The snow continued my entire walk back to the parking area, and continues now. I have always been a Spring and Summer person but will have to admit, there is beauty in all seasons, even in Winter,  and I got to experience some of it today. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today. Rails to trails hike in the  December 9 2017.

 

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.      Henry David Thoreausnow on pine cone

 

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Grape Run Reservoir Memories: A Walk Into My Past

The holidays will be difficult this year for me and my family.  They will never be the same after our tragic loss. We still gathered on Thanksgiving  and are fortunate to be as close as we are.  I spent a lot  time  these past weeks walking and reflecting on the event that has so changed my life.  And, on many of those walks,  found myself  near my father’s home in Crystal Ridge. haul road Crystal Ridge

On Black Friday morning I parked my jeep on the only road leading into this tiny coal patch town. I decided to  walk to the Grape Run Reservoir on the dirt haul  roads I have traveled since I was an infant. coal haul road

My father told me he took me out here for the first time to see a large “steam shovel” that was being transported to the strip mines in the area. I was only two or three years old. He said I was afraid and cried when I saw it. Here is a link to an article in the local newspaper on this “huge shovel” https://www.newspapers.com/clip/15616286/the_plain_speaker/  A few years later it was on these same roads that he took me and my brother John for mushrooms. It was here  that he first told us to “keep your  eyes peeled” as we looked for mushrooms, wild flowers or any other wonders of nature we may find. He was very happy out here.  . buildings of skyline of downtown Hazleton

So many memories came to my mind as I walked up the haul road through an area of strip mines that were recently filled and  reclaimed.  As the road made it’s way uphill I was able to see the skyline of Hazleton and recalled even more memories of my wonderful  life growing up in this city.

I walked past the large strip mine located right behind the homes in Crystal Ridge. I will have more thoughts  on my memories of  “Baisley’s strippin” in an upcoming blog post. 

I soon came to the area of the road that was “washed out” by the flood waters of the Cranberry Creek that were released by the demolition of the dam at the Grape Run Reservoir.  I was only 8 years old when it occurred but it seems like yesterday.  Here is a link to a newspaper article about this act of vandalism. https://www.newspapers.com/image/?spot=15335798

My dad drove through the washout a couple of times but, as the condition of the road worsened, it forced us to drive to  “our”  “mushroom woods” from the back road along the railroad tracks from Harwood. 

I continued my uphill walk on the haul road and recalled how I learned how drive a car on these rocky dirt roads, as did all of my siblings. Dad loved it out here and spent a lot of time with us in the “woods” and “strippins” of his youth. 

The road ends at the right of way of a railroad track. It was abandoned when we picked mushrooms out here but is now again active. . We spent many hours walking the banks out here looking for “red top’ and “cozie” bolete mushrooms.  It was on this railroad track the the explosion scene in the Molly McGuires movie was filmed. I still remember the foam coal props strewed near the filming  location. . 

I believe there was once a coal breaker out here near the railroad tracks at one time and there are a lot of old ruins in the area.

I next left the strip mine area and walked into the more wooded area where the old Grape Run Reservoir is located. 

I always get great pleasure seeing the clear blue waters of this reservoir. It brings back many pleasant memories from my own visits and the many stories my dad and aunts related to me about their childhood memories they had out here. shshore of Grape rune Reservoir

I was glad to see the remains of a recent campfire and how the folks who still come out here have kept the reservoir clean.shore of Grape Run reservoir

The waters of the reservoir were much higher  before the explosion. The dam that was blown up with stolen dynamite was never repaired. remains of Grape Rune reservoir dam

My dad often recounted how he would walk up here in the morning before work with his dog Count. The dog would always take a swim in the reservoir. My dad said he, and the other residents of Crystal Ridge wouldn’t swim here since it was their drinking water. He said the swam in a smaller reservoir nearby that used the water to wash coal. 

I sat along the shore of the reservoir, enjoying the November sunshine, and reflecting on the three generations that now, have lived, and died with memories of this small patch town. The fact that so many of them  can not now be shared  made for a  bittersweet experience. sun shinning through trees

I made my way back to my jeep, realizing none of us will be here forever and all that read these words will be gone in a 100 years.  All we can do is try and enjoy these brief moments we are given. For me, and my family, that will not be easy. But thankful for the wonderful memories we will always be. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Grape Run reservoir hike. 

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Yearschurch steeples in distance

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Looking For Wildlife? Even in November The PPL Wetlands Never Disappoint

It was another nice November  day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday.  The skies were mostly sunny and I knew the sunshine would quickly warm the temperature from the 34 degrees early morning start. I decided to drive  to nearby  Community Park and look for the bald eagles that have been  seen at the lake.  leafless birch trees and clouds surrounding Lake Irena

I was there three times last week with no success in seeing the eagles..  I walked around scenic Lake Irena and, once again,  no bald eagles. clouds and trees surrounding lake Irena

In fact, like on my previous visits,  there was very little wildlife at the park . I saw a few crows and heard some  black-capped chickadees in the woods.trees and clouds and lake Irena

And a  few small airplanes taking off from the nearby airport.small plane taking off above trees

I saw no other wildlife until I finally spotted a few chickadees feeding on some pine cones as I completed my walk around the lake . black-capped chickadee feeding on pine cones

It was still  a peaceful and scenic walk. However  I do love to find and photograph wildlife on my weekend walks so I decided to head to a location where I am almost assured to  see some  wild critters, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk out Community Park. Community Park November 25 2017. leafless trees along pond

Almost as soon as I arrived at the wetlands I saw, and heard a number of different species of birds in the branches of the leafless trees. There were a number of woodpeckers high in the tree tops including this red-bellied woodpecker. red-bellied woodpecker on tree limb

And this downy or hairy woodpecker.

The trees, thick undergrowth, and abundance of water  make the wetlands a good place to find wildlife even in the Winter. I found a lot of birds feeding on the berries of a plant humans avoid , poison ivy.poison ivy covered tree

This tree was covered in a poison ivy vine. And juncos, bluebirds and black-capped chickadees were enjoying the berries of this dreaded plant.black-capped chickadee feeding on poison ivy berries

Although most of duckweed in the ponds and canals has died from the cold some of the more sheltered ponds still have a thriving growth of duckweed  and thus still  some green color. duck weed covered pond

I did not see any ducks on this hike. The mallards left a while ago but there were still some wood ducks here on my last hike a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see a few cedar waxwings remaining in the wetlands. cedar waxwing on tree branch

As I walked toward the river lands section of the park I spotted a few birds adding color to the drab November scenery. First this blue bird,blue bird on tree branch

and then this cardinal. cardinal on tree branch

I also saw a few colors remaining on the now dormant plants and trees. The red oak leaves still have a little color. red oak leaves

As do the bright red  berries of this shrub, I believe a winterberry holly

and these dark purple berries also added to the beauty of my  hike through the  wetlands even in late November. 

I walked under the late autumn sunshine to the riverlands and scenic Lake Took-A- While. There were no kingfishers, cormorants or blue herons on the duck, only a  flock of canada geese enjoying the warmth of the November sun. canada geese on lake

As I began my return walk to the wetlands I heard the shrill cry of a red tailed hawk high overhead. It was being chased by a couple of crows and quickly flew away.  I also saw another red tailed hawk land in a tree. I watched it hoping to get a better photograph but it flew off hidden by the trees. red tailed hawk in tree

In addition to the many birds I saw on my hike there were a number of chipmunk, red squirrelsred squirrel with nut on tree branch

and gray squirrels scurrying through the trees and brush. gray squirrel on tree trunk

The reptile kingdom was also present on my walk. I was surprised to find this lone turtle sunning on a log in the now cold waters.  turtle on log

And I even found a few representatives of the insect world including this caterpillar, wooly caterpiller

and even a butterfly visiting a late blooming dandelion.

As I  approached my car I encountered a flock of dark eyed juncos. These birds spend their summers in Canada and return here in the Winter.  Hence they are also known as snow birds. Hopefully they will not see a lot of snow here in Northeastern Pennsylvania this year. Snow delighted me in my younger years but not so much these days.  Here is a link to some more photographs of some of the birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands birds November 25 2017.

Since I was a young child I have always been fascinated by the beauty of nature, especially of all living creatures. I have always walked the woods of my home here in Northeastern Pennsylvania looking for them.I  now get great pleasure sharing my discoveries on social media and here on my blog. It gives me great comfort in the difficult times I am trying to find my way through. And the PPL Wetlands and Riverlands never disappoint, not even in November. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands November 25 2017.

“No matter how few possessions you own or how little money you have, loving wildlife and nature will make you rich beyond measure.” 
― Paul Oxton

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A Few Short Walks Close To Home

It’s late November now and that means an early sunset here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The sun now sets around  4:40 p.m. Not much time after a day at the office to get out for my  walks with my camera. WW II tank and memorials at park

However, being a holiday week, and with the hope of another sighting the two bald eagles I saw out at our Community Park last weekend, I left the office early for a couple of short walks out Lake Irena this week. 

On Tuesday there was some sunshine and temperatures were around 45 degrees which is around average for this time of year.  There no water fowl on the lake and only a few folks enjoying the beauty of the lake.walks along Lake Irena

I took a quick walk around the lake before the sunset and was disappointed I  didn’t see the eagles. In fact the only wildlife I saw or heard were a few crows flying overhead. bridge over stream

It was still nice to get out and enjoy the late Autumn sunshine. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk. Community Park November 21 2017 gazebo in park on sunset on walks

I left the office early and returned the next day but this walk was in much different weather conditions. Lake Irena took on a much different appearance. It was cloudy, colder and windy at the park.bare trees and clouds at lake

I again took a quick walk around the lake and once again did not see any eagles.  And, as on the previous day, the only wildlife were some crows flying in the stormy sky.crow in flight

As I was photographing the crows I thought I was going to be rewarded with a bald eagle sighting. However, the large object flying in the clouds wasn’t an eagle. It was a jet flying low, probably on it’s final descent into the airport at Avoca. jet airplane in flight

It was blustery and cold on my walk. Once again I only walked around the lake twice. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk. Community Park November 22 2017.storms clouds and lake

 I took another short  walk close to home on Thanksgiving morning. I had to prepare some food for our Thanksgiving dinner so I decided to take a quick walk out the Rail to Trails path before I started. rails to trails entrance

The Broad Street entrance to the trail was open again. The drainage work on the trail being almost completed. 

It was a sunny, and colder morning with temperatures in the mid 20’s. The skies were cloudless and deep blue. I loved the contrast of the pitch pines against the blue skies. I spent many hours hiking under these trees over the years. pitch pines on trail

I was surprised, and happy, to see a number of people walking and running on the trail. They, too, like me,  were probably wanting  to burn  off some calories before the feasting that lay ahead. tree lined trail

There were also some wild critters on the trail on this cold Thanksgiving morning. I saw a few squirrels, chipmunks and a number of birds. including this tufted titmouse . tufted titmouse on branch

I walked out about two miles before I decided  to return, enjoying the beauty of the trail. Here is a link to some more photographs of my walk. Rails to Trails November 23 2017.tree lined trail

I am so glad we have this beautiful trails and parks so near home. They provide me with peaceful sanctuaries to walk and think, and were much needed in the difficult times of these past few week

I was so fortunate to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my nieces Kelly and her husband Ethan, my nice  Cassidy and nephews Charlie and Brandon. They carried on this tradition started by their parents. It was nice to share the day with our entire family. Of course, it was not the same, the void was deep. But we made the best of this situation as we could. And I know Charles and Linda were with us in spirit and were so proud of their children for keeping this tradition. 

“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think, when I’m exhausted and afraid and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks. It’s just one of those things I do. I walk and I walk and sooner or later something comes to me, something to make me feel less like jumping off a building.” 
― Jim Butcher

tufted titmouse on branch

 

 

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A Windy Walk At Our Local Community Park Was Rewarded With A Bald Eagle Sighting.

It was overcast and very  windy this morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I was unsure where I wanted to hike but stopped  out our local Community park before I made my decision. 

I have been visiting this park since I was five years old and recalled those happy first walks in the Spring with my dad and siblings. They do a good job maintaining the park and it is always nice to see picturesque  Lake Irene. 

I decided to visit this morning since I thought the wind may have brought some migrating water fowl to the lake and I had heard reports of a bald eagle sighting this week. As I walked along the lake the ducks, geese and cormorant I had seen on my last visit where gone. However, the lone pie-billed grebe I had seen was still here, swimming and diving by itself in the cold waters of the lake. pie-billed grebe on water

I walked around the lake in the strong wind and threatening skies. The trees are now bare and made for a somber walk, not like the delightful walks I have take during the Spring and Summer.leaf covered path

I didn’t see them  but there are still beavers in the area. fallen tree chewed on by beavers

I also was surprised to find a few mushrooms still growing in the cold temperatures. yellow mushroom in moss and pine needles

I had just completed  my walk  around the lake and was going to leave when I saw what appeared to be two bald eagles soaring high overhead. bald eagles soaring high in sky

I am not a raptor expert, so I wasn’t sure at first, but, after taking a photograph, and enlarging it, I was sure they were two juvenile bald eagles.  It was amazing to see how rapidly they moved in the wind, They circled the lake and took off in the distance to the south. 

I now decided to remain at the park and walked around the lake and surrounding  park for the next two hours. juvenile bald eagle

I walked the trail that lead past the Hazle Township Babe Ruth field.ballpark and trees and cloudy sky

I walked down to the new road that was builr on the old railroad right of way. I had only hiked this area once before the road was built about ten years agoroad and clouds .

I wanted to find the path down to the Black Creek that flows near here. However I  couldn’t locate it and made my way, now walking into the strong northerly wind, back to the lake. oak trees and clouds

I walked around the lake a few more times but the eagles did not return. There were two men fishing and I had a nice chat with the friendly park caretaker who told me the two eagles have been seen regularly at the lake.  The only other wildlife I saw was a few crows.crow in flight

And a flock of northern juncos in the shrubs along the lake. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my walk. Community Park hike birds.

It was near lunch time and I was hungry and decided to leave. I was disappointed the eagles didn’t return but,  as I have said before, it is always a good day when you see eagles soaring in the skies of Northeastern Pennsylvania. And as always my hikes in the woods help so much in dealing with the great loss in my life.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Community Park Hike. 

“A boy’s will is the wind’s will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Last Day Of Summer At Our Local Community Park

The dry, warm and  sunny weather continued throughout this past week. Thursday  was the last day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.  I decided to take a late afternoon walk out Lake Irena at our local community park.pavilion in trees

I have posted a  number of blogs about this pretty place and they can be found in the archives. I found that, despite the summerlike temperatures this past week there were many signs of fall, including a lot more color in the trees surrounding the lake. trees showing fall colors along lake

I found a number of Canada geese gathering together in anticipation for their flight south for the winter. canada geese on lake

I also observed this unusual sight, birds not of a feather flocking together. If you look carefully at this photograph you will see a cormorant  among this  flock of mallard ducks. cormorant with mallard ducks on lake

I watched the ducks and their friend the cormorant for about a half hour as they seemed to enjoy each other’s company. cormorant in weeds

I tried to approach to get a better photograph. The birds took off, the ducks flying one direction,mallard ducks landing on lake

and the cormorant off on it’s own. It swam through the waters with it’s snake like neck,cormorant head out of water

until it perched on this stump. cormorant in rock on lake

I walked under the large oaks along the shores of the lake hoping to find some wild mushrooms but the dry, sunny weather we have enjoyed is not good for the fungi. tree lined path along lake

There were still  a few wildflowers in bloom. I may have, in a prior post misidentified this as ragweed. I know believe it is golden rod. .butterfly on golden rod flower

And they attracted some insects and this beautiful butterfly. butterfly on goldenrod flower

It was the last day of summer, and the sun is now setting around 7 p.m. here in Northeastern Pennsylvania so I had to end early but it was another enjoyable walk taking in the beauty nature has to offer us, even in our own backyards. Here is a link to some more photos from my walk..  walk.

tree lined lake on last day of summer

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.Helen Hunt Jackson

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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.green 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 hikehttp://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Macro-walk-Community-Park-August-17-2017-

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

 

 

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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. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Community-Park-Tree-swallows-June-27-

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. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Community-Park-June-27-2017-

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

 

 

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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. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Community-Park-June-20-2017-

 

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

 

 

 

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