Cold And Snow: A Year End Walk At The Rails To Trails

The warm spell I wrote about in my last post ended on Christmas Day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Cold returned. Temperature plunged into the single digits this week. I had planned to drive to the PPL Wetland this morning to see how much ice developed on the Susquehanna River. A light but steady snowfall slickened the roads and changed my plans.snow covered highway

I decided to stay in town and hike out our local Rails to Trails.  A light powdery snow was falling as I began my hike with about a two inch accumulation already on the ground. snow covered entrance to Rails to trails

The temperature had actually warmed up to 11 degrees. It had been near zero the past few days. It was still cold enough to make the snow “squeak” as I walked on it. tree lined and snow covered path

And cold enough to make these two bears shiver. snow covered bear statues

I was the only one on the trail on my five mile hike although there were two other sets of footprints in the newly fallen snow. 

Other than the beautiful scenery created by thetree lined path in snow  fresh snow there was not much else to photograph. Although  the remains of the summer plants like this milkweed pod,snow covered milkweed pod

or this blackberry bramble were pretty covered in snow.snow covered blackberry branch

The only wildlife I encountered were the many black-capped chickadees that fluttered through the snow covered trees. black-capped chickadee in tree

I walked under the snow covered trees, enjoying my favorite, the pitch pines. pitch pine in snow

The snow continued to fall as I made my way to the picnic area near the now frozen Dreck Creek Reservoir.snow covered picnic area

It was about a 2 1/2 mile hike out to the reservoir but it sure felt longer in the snow and cold. I decided to walk back.

It was a lot harder walking in the now deeper snow, and the cold temperatures made for a difficult walk. I was tired when I reached the one mile marker and was exhausted when I made it back to my car. snow covered path

It was a struggle walking in the cold and snow but the scenery was pretty and much better than sitting inside watching television. Still I much prefer the greens of summer, and am looking forward to the lengthening days and approach of Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Rails to Trails Hike. December 30 2017snow covered woodlands

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” 
― E.E. Cummingspine cone covered in snow

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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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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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Insects And Some Other Cool September Stuff

I was out searching for wild mushrooms everyday this past week. It has been a cool and rainy Summer which has resulted in an abundance of wild mushrooms. I have found many hen of the woods, or, as they are called in my area, rams head mushrooms. hen of the woods mushroom

I have found many other species too and have been including  them in   some of my favorite dishes, such as shrimp, scallops, wild mushrooms sauteed with onions and garlic served over whole wheat pasta.dinner meal of shrimp, scallops, hen of woods mushrooms over pasta

I took my macro lens on some of my hikes and, in addition to wild mushrooms, uncovered some more of the beauty of nature up close. 

One of the most unique was this creature. I found it sitting on a milkweed pod.  heel bug insect on milkweed pod

It kept facing me, in this defensive pose,  as I approached from all sides. I have learned it is a wheel bug  ,  a member of the assassin bug family, and is know for it’s painful sting. Here is a link to some more photographs of the wheel bug.close up wheel bug on milkweed pod

There were many signs of the coming of  Fall on my walk. Many of the leaves are now changing color, especially members of the heath family, including the blueberry bushes. bright red bluebery leaves

And some of the red maples.bright red maple leaves

The woods are a lot quieter now, many of the song birds have already begun their migration south. And many of the insects, dragonflies and butterflies  are now gone. I still saw a few wasps and bees and this butterfly. moth or butterfly on tree

And some other insects I haven’t seen before.unidentified insect on leaf

I found this caterpillar suspended from a silk thread as it dangled it’s way to the ground in search of food before the cold weather sets in. caterpillar dangling from silk thread

Even though I only had my macro lens I was still able to get a photograph of this deer watch me walk by,deer in woods

and a photograph of this interesting reflection of the sun in the clouds. 

I don’t believe I have ever taken a walk in the forest  and woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania without seeing something new, beautiful or interesting.

I enjoy every one of my walks, and even more so during mushroom season, since I can take some of nature home with me and  add it to a delicious  meal. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hikes. 

All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child. Marie Curielady bug beetle on white flower

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It’s Still Summer, But Fall Is In A Hurry To Get Here This Year.

Today started out  cloudy, breezy and cool, with temperatures in the mid 40’s and, even though we still have some Summer left it felt a lot more like Fall.  I decided to again place my macro lens on my camera and take it along on my search for wild mushrooms. brown maple leaf sitting on ground

As I  walked in the mixed pine, birch and aspen woods in search of aspen scaber bloete or red tops, as my dad called them, I noticed a lot of the leaves are now beginning to show some color. bright red blueberry leaves

Many of the blueberry bushes, both low and high bush species, are turning a brilliant red. red blueberry leaf

And some of the leaves on the birch, yellow white birch leaf

and maple trees are also changing into their fall colors. maple leaf turning red

There were a few wild flowers still in bloom,  I don’t know the names of this one,purple wild flower

nor the name of this beautiful white late blooming orchard, white orchard in bloom

but I do know this is a species of ragweed, not well lied by those of us, me included, who suffer from allergies. insect on ragweed flower

I was disappointed I didn’t find any red top mushrooms but I did find a wild crab apple tree,wild crab apples

and sampled it’s very sour fruit. wild crab apple with a bite

I left the birch/ aspen/ pine woods and decided to search for some  hen of the woods or, as we call them, ramshead mushrooms. I didn’t find this one  in the woods. Some friends found it in growing in their yard and let me harvest it . These mushrooms grow mainly on old oak trees so the woods are very different. hen of the woods or ramshead mushroom

I usually hike second growth forests with a mixture of maple, oak, pine hemlock and the occasional ash and hickory nut tree. The ground is usually covered with many species of ferns, which are also changing color early this year. , close up of fern which has tuned yellow

and my mortal enemies,   brambles and thorn bushes,thorns on a thorn bush

and blackberry brambles which have caused me many scratches on my legs and tumbles to the ground when walking into them in the thick underbrush as I look for the old oak trees which may have a ramshead  mushroom growing on it. blackberry thorns

There were some mushrooms growing along paths, 

including what I think is a cauliflower mushroom and,

some old puffballs,

but, unfortunately I didn’t find what I was looking for, a ramshead mushroom. But there is always tomorrow and it is always good to be outdoors in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Macro walk 

Summer ends and autumn comes, and he who would have thought it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”  –  Hal Borland

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September Hikes With My Macro Lens. More Of Nature Up Close

It’s hard to believe it’s September already. It seems we were just anxiously awaiting the return of the song birds and the first flowers of Spring.  Seasons change so quickly it seems. It is almost fall now and here in Northeastern Pennsylvania late summer brings mushrooms. red top or aspen scaber bolete mushroom

I was out looking for red tops. or aspen scaber bolete,  (a nice specimen shown above)  these past few days. Like most mushroom foragers, I don’t  reveal my favorite spots, so rather than give hints to where I was,  I took took my camera with a macro lens to share some more of nature close up. close up of yellow jacket on leaf

The first thing I noticed, due to the cool weather we’ve been having, it was in the low 40’s a couple of mornings,  was the reduced activity of the insects.close up of wasp on leaf

I found many wasps, bees and yellow jackets almost motionless on the leaves and flowers on my walk. And I noticed many ladybug beetles also almost in a dormant state in the early morning cold. close up of lady bug beetle on leaf

But  many, including yellow jackets  are still active as the day warms up, especially when you step on their nest, as I did and got stung on my shin. Ouch!close up of yellow jacket on leaf

 My search for red tops mushrooms brought me to areas of new forest growth with younger, pine, aspen and birch trees. And, what my dad called  ‘mushroom bushes” also know as sweet fern. Here is a close up of a sweet fern leaf already changing colors as the summer ends. . sweet fern leaf

It has been dry and I was disappointed to find only a few mushrooms growing, mainly pigskin puffballs, or what my dad called, “shoe polish”. This one was too old to cut in half and explain the reason for that name, but, stay tuned, I will demonstrate in a future posts. close up of poison pigskin mushroom

I also found some more unusual objects on my walks, including this oak gall, created from hormones injected by a wasp when it lays it’s eggs on a oak leaf. Pretty fascinating. oak gall

And not sure if I should get into this, but it is part of nature, I found, what I think is bear do do on the ground. Not positive but if any one knows please comment.possibly bear droppings

I do know this is deer do do and deer droppings

and this white substance on this leaf was droppings left by an unknown bird.bird dropping on a leaf

Well onto something more appealing, some left over blueberries,close up of blueberries

and some chokeberries. I just learned these berries, which we were taught were poisonous,  were one of the staple foods of Shoshone Native American tribe. chokeberries up close

And the oaks also had plenty of acorns this year. close up of acorn

As I wrote in my post from my hike last week, there were still some flower in bloom or about to bloom.    close up of wild flower bud

I didn’t find a lot of mushroom but it is always nice to roam the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania with my eyes peeled, you will always uncover some of the beauty of nature.  It is raining as I type, hopefully there will be more mushroom pictures in my next post. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hikes. Macro photographs. 

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” –Albert Einsteingrass up close

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Late Summer At The PPL Wetlands.

Last Sunday I got up early , on a clear and cool late summer  morning,   to try and find some wild mushrooms.  I was unsuccessful so I decided to head to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. It has been almost three weeks since I last visited and I miss walking along the Susquehanna River, the canals and ponds. two turtles on a log

Once again I found many turtles sunning on the shores, rocks and logs in and around the waters, a sure sign that the waters are cooling down because of the decreasing sun and lengthening nights. green colored pond covered with duckweed

Another sign of the end of Summer and the approaching Fall was the absence of the chirping of the song birds.  It seems many of warblers and other song birds may have already begun their migration south. I didn’t even see many robins or red winged blackbirds. But there were still a few catbirds fluttering about and making plenty of noise. catbird in leaves on tree branch

The calming sounds of the cicadas could be heard from the tree tops and there were quite a few dragonflies darting about. dragonfly on a twig

At first I thought, being late August,  that there wouldn’t be as many flowers in bloom as Spring. And there weren’t, but, upon closer observation I found quite a variety of flowers still in bloom, including these pretty cardinal flowers. red cardinal flower in bloom

There were also still a full thistles in bloom, although most of these have gone to seed.purple thistle flower in bloom

There were still plenty of jewelweed or touch-me-nots blooming along the trails including many yellow ones  which I hadn’t seen earlier in August. yellow jewelweed or touch-me-not in bloom

There were also many daisy like flowers growing,daisy like flowers in bloom

and these not too popular flowers were now starting to bloom, the allergy aggravating ragweed. yellow ragweed flower in bloom

And, as flowers do, they did attract many insects including bees, wasps and butterflies. butterfly on flower

The milkweed flowers have now turned into pods and even these pods attract certain types of insects.insects on milkweed pod

And  the jack-in-the-pulpit flowers have now produced their unique fruit. Here is a link to some of the other flowers I found on my walk. FLOWERS.

I walked along the trails to the riverlands and always pretty Lake Took-A-While and the many folks still fishing in or walking around it’s waters or picnicking near it’s shores. Lake Took-A-While PPL Riverlands

I walked back through the trails of the river and wetlands, hearing mainly the  serenade of cicadas in the trees but also hearing, and seeing a few birds, including this  large flycatcher, I think it is a kingbird, kingbird on branch

this smaller flycatcher, flycatcher on branch

a juvenile woodpecker, juvenile woodpecker on tree

and some wood ducks, a great blue heron and a few green herons. 

As I left the wetlands I saw this fellow watching me leave. I could roam these trails all day, so much flora and fauna in these wetlands, but I had to head home, knowing that soon Fall will arrive and the wetlands will begin to enter their long winter nap. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL wetlands photographs.

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.Sarah Helen Whitman

 

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Mushroom Hunting With My Macro Lens

It’s August, and we have had plenty of rain this past month, and that means mushrooms,  here,  in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  king bolete mushroom

My dad taught me and my bothers how to pick two species of bolete mushrooms from an early age. I was about three when he first took me searching for red tops and cozie mushrooms.  Some of my most cherished childhood memories were on these mushroom hunts.red yellow or bi color bolete mushroom

I  have continued the tradition,  and hope to write more about it in a future blogs, check the archives search for past blogs about mushrooms. Today I will just quickly share some photographs of mushrooms I found, on my hike last weekend.  Some of which like this old man of the woods bolete mushroom I can identify. old man of the woods mushroom

I now eat over 50 species of wild mushrooms but will not identify which are edible and which are not here on my blog since many mushrooms are poisonous and can make you very sick or even kill you. These jack ‘ o ‘ lantern mushrooms are very poisonous.jack o lantern mushrooms

I would advise you not to eat any wild mushroom unless you are 100% it is edible.  Having provided that warning I not only enjoy eating them, I love the many colors, shapes and sizes that are found here in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. This is a milker or milky mushroom,milker mushrooms

so named because of the white latex like substance that oozes from the mushroom when cut or broken. milker mushroom

Some, like these coral mushrooms are shaped differently then the common mushroom.coral mushroom

The color range from bright reds like this species of russula mushrooms rusulla mushrooms

to the bright yellow chanterelle mushroom chanterelle mushroom

or the black trumpets. black trumpet mushrrom

I also came across some jewel weed or touch me not flowers and, as always is the case the insects found them too. bee in jewel weed flower

I again spent more time that I had planned photographing the many colorful insects attracted to the flowers.  beetle on jewel weed leaf

Like mushrooms, I am always amazed by the many  species, and their different sizes and color. macro of fly on jewel weed leaf

I also came across this tiny toad,young toad

this newt or red eft newt or red eft in leaves

and found this late season recently hatched egg shell but I am not familiar with the  birds that would best this late in the season. 

I gathered a nice variety of wild mushrooms , and enjoyed them for dinner. I love the summer and my hikes searching for wild mushrooms. Here is a link to some more photographs of mushrooms, insects and some other stuff I observed on my hike. Sorry but I am not going to tell you where I hiked, mushroom hunters don’t share that information. lol  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/mushroom-macro-hike-August-6-2017

Falling in love is like eating mushrooms, you never know if it’s the real thing until it’s too late.– Bill Balance

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A Hike In The Poconos But Still No Mountain Laurel.

It was another overcast Sunday this past weekend  , with some showers still in the area in the morning. I had planned to hike the Broad Mountain, where I knew  from past hikes the widespread mountain laurel , our state flower, would be in bloom. The radar showed some lingering showers over the Broad Mountain so I decided to drive further north and hike in State Game Lands 119, hoping to find plenty of mountain laurel in bloom.

As I drove on Interstate Highway 81 I passed many woodlands and  entire mountainsides covered in laurel and I hoped to find the same at the gamelands. Shortly after beginning my hike I realized this may not be the case. The wood were green and lush, but like the day before, may have been too overgrown  to support the growth of the state flower. 

It was overcast but still a nice morning for a walk.  There were some flowers in bloom, not as  showy as the mountain laurel, but pretty in their own way, such as the stargrass,

and spiderwort that were scattered along the path. 

The trees overhead were filled with the song of birds. I heard yellow warblers during my entire hike but this tiny birds were well hidden in the now lush green leaves of the tree tops. I did quite a few male eastern towhees perched high in the branches. 

I just learned that  the males  leave the safety of the underbrush , where I have seen many of them over the years picking blue berries and mushrooms, to find a high perch to sing and attract a mate. 

I saw, and heard, so  many other birds fluttering in the tree tops and scrub oaks but it is so hard to photograph them. After waiting for about 10 minutes I was finally able to capture a photograph of this common yellow throat. 

I walked past the gas line that was on the left as I approached from the parking area. I had followed this gas line down to the D & L trail on my last three hike in the game lands but this time I continued along on the trail that followed  an old railroad bed.

There were plenty of low bush blueberries along the trails, and I found a few that had ripened. I usually am picking my first ripe ones near the summer solstice. They were delicious. 

Also blooming now is the fly poison, this pretty white flowers are actually very toxic and was used by American colonists to kill flies. 

The trail crossed over the head waters of the Little Nescopeck Creek.

And there were quite a few robins in this area. 

The trail was almost a continuous, but slight upgrade. As I approached the top of a ridge the trees became older. There were some nice old oak and hemlock trees up here.  

I hiked out about three miles. Just as I decided to turn back the sun broke through the clouds bringing out the many shades of green in the lush new growth of the woodlands. 

As I walked under the trees I heard the high pitched call of an osprey and sure enough saw this one fly overhead. 

And I also saw a pair of Baltimore orioles fluttering in a tree. 

They flew from branch to branch  and I think they must have had a nest in the tree. 

I continued to hear the sounds of many different songbirds in the trees but had a hard time finding them in the leaves. I was able to see, and photograph this catbird  who had captured a caterpillar. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/State-Game-lands-119-birds-June-18-2017

I walked back to my jeep in the brilliant June sunshine disappointed that I wasn’t able to find any stands of our state flower, the mountain laurel. Still it was a nice hike in these game lands which, I am growing to love more with each hike I take.

I drove my jeep on the long dirt road from  the parking area to the little quaint resort town of Penn lake. So many beautiful places here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and not enough time to explore them all. But I will try. Here is a link to some more  photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/State-Game-lands-119-June-19-201

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

 

 

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Cumulus Clouds, Wind And Sunshine: A Pleasant Birthday Hike At The Rails To Trails.

I circled our sun one more time yesterday, and one year older as I write, but, thankfully I am still able to explore the beauty of this planet I was born on. rails to trails-18

After a few hours at the office, and a nice lunch with my nephew and partner Charles, , I left  work early to take advantage of the beautiful June afternoon. rails to trails-22

It was a perfect day for hiking,  puffy, cotton-like clouds floating in a deep blues skies, with a strong  northerly wind bringing us cool, but refreshing weather.rails to trails-2

I decided to hike out, and take another look, at the pitch pine barrens near our local Rails to Trails, and the birds I saw there on Sunday.   rails to trails-20

This area reminds so much of the pitch pine wetlands I hiked as a child. I would have hiked there yesterday, I always did on my birthday, except for the fact they are now underneath  an industrial  park and residential development. I am so glad some folks on our planet realize how precious our environment is and seek to protect areas like this. The Land Trust and Rails to Trails folks must be given all the credit they have earned for keeping these areas preserved and letting folks visit them. rails to trails-17

Unfortunately. I only saw a few birds on my hike in the barrens, a nuthatch scampering down a tree, rails to trails-10

a sparrow along the trailrails to trails-3

and this elusive fellow, I think a hooded warbler that avoided me for 15 minutes singing, and hopping, among some scrub oaks.rails to trails-13

I continued my hike along the trail, finding this late blooming lady slipper orchid, or duck flower. rails to trails-24

And seeing these coming attractions of Mother Nature’s net display, our state flower, mountain laurel buds. They should be in bloom net week. rails to trails-5

And plenty of these plants, which in a few months, will attract many butterflies and insects, milkweed. rails to trails-31

I hiked out about a mile and concluded no cool birds or animals will be seen on this hike, when I heard some fluttering above me. I saw two blue jays attacking a bird. This is a common sight, birds chasing each other from their nesting area, but what was unusual here was the bird being chased, a beautiful scarlet tanager. rails to trails-40

And, they chased it almost directly into my face! The blue jays flew off, leaving the scarlet tanager to rest in the trees and let me get some photographs. rails to trails-37

This is why I have love the outdoors. Since my dad took me on hikes when  I was first able to walk I have loved this planet. And I love walking and exploring it. . You never know what beautiful things you will see, or what type of critters, from ants to bears, you will encounter. Hopefully, I will have many more years left, to, as my dad taught me, keep my eyes peeled, and walk many more mile on this wonderful world we live. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike yesterday http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-Trails-hike-June-1-2017rails to trails-34

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
W.B. Yeats

 

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