An Unexpected Encounter With A Bear At The PPL Wetlands.

As any of you who follow my blog posts know, I love the Summer and I love hiking in the PPL Wetlands. The PPL Wetlands are about a 1/2 drive from my house and is home to many species of wildlife, flowers, trees and insects. I decided to hike there again on Saturday, hoping to see something interesting, and once again I wasn’t disappointed. wooded trail in wetlands

 As soon as I arrived  near  the parking area I saw this bird perched on an overhead wire, I believe it is a ruby-throated hummingbird. The skies were gray and overcast so I could not get a good photograph but I still wanted to share this somewhat uncommon sighting. humming bird on wire

I walked to one of the ponds where I saw the wood ducks last week and they were there again, this time a little further away. One of them was on a log but the other parent was swimming with the young ones in the duck weed covered water. They are a shy and reclusive bird so I was fortunate to see them again.wood ducks on pond

It was early when I arrived at the wetlands and there were not many dragonflies active yet. I saw a few but there were, once again swarms of mosquitoes  waiting for me. And many of them found me. dragonfly on reed

The Spring abundance of wildflowers is now over, but there are still some new flowers starting to bloom in the wetlands, such as the spotted wintergreen.wintergreen flower

And other which will be blooming soon such as this thistle. thistle on canal bank

And the delicate touch-me-nots were now in full bloom throughout the wetlands.  Their juicy flesh  helps sooth the sting of bees and bites of the many mosquitoes in the wetlands.touch-me-not flowers

The high bush blueberries are starting to ripen now and I was able to pick a few handfuls.  ripening blueberries

As I left the wetlands part of the preserve to head to the riverlands and Lake Took-A-While I turned a corner and walked into this big fellow.black bear on trail

I usually clap my hands loudly when I see a bear to scare them away  but I was to close to this big male and I didn’t want to scare him into attacking me. black bear on path

I extended my hands and legs and spoke firmly to him and he did, slowly,  decide to back away.  I have had many bears visit my backyard over the years but it is always a much more exciting  experience to see them in the outdoors. We stared each other down for a few minutes, and he turned around and made his way back down the trail and into the woods. black bear on path

I continued my walk, a little more cautiously now, toward the riverlands. However, I didn’t see any more bears, the biggest mammal I saw was this not so intimidating squirrel. squirrel running on ground

There were a number of birds about including the ever present catbirds.

And a number of flycatchers were darting over the warm waters of the wetlands and  now have plenty of insects to catch. flycatcher in tree

I was fortunate to see a great blue heron in flight across the waters of the lake. They are such graceful birds. great blue heron in flight

And the beautiful songs of the yellow warblers were heard throughout my hike. They now tend to remain in the thick leaf cover of the trees tops but a few got close enough to me to allow me to get a photograph.yellow warbler in tree

There were thunderstorms in the forecast and I was getting hungry after my four mile hike so I headed back to the parking area, this time walking under the large ancient trees that grow along the banks of the Susquehanna river.wooded trail on river

As I often do in this part of the trail, I wondered about the many generations of Native Americans who walked this same  trail, possibly while some of these same trees were alive.ancient oak tree

And this day I wondered how many of them may have had a close encounter with an almost 400 pound black bear and how many were as excited about it as I was. It was another great hike through the always interesting PPL Wetlands. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-July-1-2017-close up black bear face

“Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.” 
― James Rollins

 

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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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Back To The PPL Wetlands, An Early Start Was Rewarded With Wood Ducks And Kingfishers

It has always been hard for me to get enough sleep in the Summer.  The birds start singing  about a half hour before the sunrise, which occurs around 5:30 a.m. near the solstice here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  And evening twilight lingers for about an hour after sunset which occurs around 8:40 p.m. I don’t like  to miss either.  But I was up late Saturday night  so I missed the Sunday  sunrise. It was a beautiful sunny morning and  I  decided to skip my usual early morning walk through my  neighborhood and head down back  to the PPL Wetlands.

I arrived around 8 a.m., still too late to watch the wetlands awake, but early enough  to to see  some of the early morning activity of many of the birds and animals before the heat of the day set in. 

I love the early morning sunshine and how it filters through the trees and lights up the leaves. It is a magical time of the day.

And I was soon rewarded for my early arrival when I found this usually shy and elusive mother wood duck sitting on a log with her ducklings. 

I also encountered many birds looking for, and some finding, a breakfast meal, such as this song sparrow and it’s dragonfly snack.

 As I walked  under the trees in  filtered morning sunlight I  spooked a deer, some rabbits, chipmunks and this curious red squirrel. 

I again walked past plenty of clusters of green blue berries and also came across many green blackberries 

as well as clusters of immature wild grapes. There will be plenty of food for the wildlife of the wetlands in the coming months. 

The duckweed covered water of the wetlands were also the gathering place of many turtles, 

and a few frogs that I was able to see. I heard the croaking of many more in the now warm ponds and canals.

I walked to Lake-Took-A- While where I was delighted to see, sitting on a power line, these two kingfishers. I remember first reading about this remarkable bird in an SRA reading program in third grade and always wanted to watch them catch fish as I had read in the story so many years ago. 

I didn’t see them catch any fish but enjoyed observing them and soon saw a third bird appear and knew it was the same family I saw the day before. A little later in the day one of these birds and I had an even closer encounter as it swooped over my head as I was photographing dragonflies. 

And once again, as the sun warmed the cool morning air, there were plenty of dragonflies. I had already encountered swarms of mosquitoes earlier when I first arrived. 

 

And the numerous insects  provided plenty of opportunity for the birds, , including this one, I believe a  great crested flycatcher , to find a meal.

 And there was plenty of  other food for all of the birds, including this pair of cedar waxwings  who enjoyed the fruit of this mulberry trees.

 The warm waters also had plenty of fish swimming close to the surface, including these large one which I can’t identify. 

The abundance of fish always provided plenty of food for the kingfishers blue herons and this green heron. 

I could spend the entire day exploring these woodlands but I was getting tired and hungry so decided to head home.  On my return walk I again encountered many robins, catbirds and the red winged blackbirds that frequent the wetlands, 

This is a male,

and always near by is a female. 

I was hearing the pleasant song of the yellow warblers in the treetops and I finally was able to see, and photograph one as I neared my car. Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw on my walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-June-25-2017

It was another great day to be outdoors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-June-25-2017-

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
Jacques-Yves Cousteau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer, And The Insects, Return To The PPL Wetlands.

 

It was Saturday, and, of course, it rained as usual  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.   We were lucky this past  weekend, the first of this Summer.  The rains ended early,  by 9 a.m., soon the clouds departed, and the  sun was  shining. And  I was off to visit the PPL Wetlands. 

The woods at the Wetlands  still have their deep green Spring color but there are many signs that Summer is here. One of the most noticeable was the increase in insects. The ponds, lakes and canals of the wetlands now had swarms of dragonflies and damselflies hovering along their  duckweed covered shores. 

I love watching them dart about, defending their territory, looking for a meal or  looking for a mate.

There are so many species each with their distinctive colors and patterns. They are complex and beautiful creatures. 

And there were also hoards of some not so beautiful insects, the mosquitoes, deer flies and gnats. I have many itching bites to prove it. There were also a lot more bees , wasps and some moths and butterflies. I think this is a common buckeye butterfly. 

As I walked through the trails of the wetlands I founds many other signs that Summer is here including quite a few wild raspberry bushes which provided me with a few handfuls of delicious berries. 

The high bush, or ‘swamper” blueberries are still green but it looks like they will produce a good crop in a few weeks. 

A lot of the plants of early Spring such as the mandrake or may apple and skunk cabbage have already started  to decay, 

But, like everything in nature they are quickly replaced, They are now overgrown with ferns, vines and other plants such as the elderberries which are now in full bloom. 

And these plants also are producing berries but I wouldn’t recommend eating them, these were produced by a large and old poison ivy vine. 

Even though the waters are now warm, and, in most areas, covered in duckweed, a lot of the turtles still enjoy basking in the intense June sun. 

As I  watched the turtles I saw this green heron on a log, stalking some prey, maybe a fish, frog or young  turtle.

I walked toward the Riverlands and Lake Took-A- While  and saw a few birds along the way, including this shy and elusive  a wood duck and a few of her ducklings. 

The trees were filled with the sounds of the song birds but it is so hard to find them in the thick foliage, I am sure I walked under hundreds of them until I finally was able to photograph this yellow warbler. 

I also saw many of the year long residents, the cardinals, robins, sparrows and this blue bird. 

And of course the were the  noisy red-winged black birds

 

and catbirds, they seemed to be everywhere.

The lake was not as crowded as in past weeks but still a few folks were trying their luck at fishing or enjoying a walk along it’s shores. 

As I walked along it’s shores I heard the noisy chatter of a kingfisher. I have seen this bird fly overhead for weeks now but could not get a good photograph. Yesterday I was lucky, as it flew across the lake and interacted what looked like other kingfishers.

I checked the photographs when I got home, and, after  cropped them, I discovered it  was a family of kingfishers. They aren’t the best photographs but check out my next blog post to see some more. 

I also saw a few canada geese with their goslings along the lake. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw at the wetlands yesterday. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-June-24-2017

The sun was heating up the water and the dragonfly activity seemed to increase with the heat. I decided to walk back to my car and get my macro lens and try to capture the intricacies of these ancient insects. 

I was able to slowly sneak up close to a few perched on a leaf or branch over the water. I was out for a few hours and the intense sun told me it was time head home. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies I sawhttp://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-dragonflies-June-24-2017-

I made my way back to the car under the canopy of leaves and enjoyed the sun filtering through to the woodland floor.

There is no question in my mind, I love the Spring and Summer a lot more than the Winter and I am going to enjoy getting outdoors as much as I can  these next three months, And I hope to share my adventures and photographs with all of you .Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-June-24-2017

 

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

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I Didn’t Find What I Was Looking For, Snakes And Bears, But Still A Nice Hike Out To The Penrose Reservoir

Summer came early to Northeastern Pennsylvania, and we had hazy sunshine and hot temperatures these past few days . On Sunday I decided to get some sun, look for snakes  and hopefully run into the mother bear and her three cubs that were  seen out near the Stockton Mountain. I thought I could do all three hiking up to the Penrose Reservoir near Weatherly.

I have been hiking  out here for about five years now and I have a few  blog posts about the long  history of the railroads tracks and the reservoir. 

I walked up the railroad tracks  from Weatherly which run along the Black or Hazle Creek. It was already hazy, hot and humid when I began my walk but the fast flowing waters of the creek provided  a blanket of cool air along it’s banks.  I enjoyed hearing the rushing of the waters and  the smell of the cool water was also refreshing.  Here is a link  to a video of the creek I uploaded to my YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ORKVARcPvQ

I saw a few birds along the creek robins, sparrows, crows and  this catbird.

The mountain laurel was beginning to bloom.  There is not a lot of it in this area but, hopefully I will get up to the game lands in the Poconos this weekend where it should be in full bloom. 

I saw a few of these butterflies attracted to the mountain laurel, I think they are called cloudless sulphur butterflies.

And, along the tracks,  quite a few of these too.  I think they are called silver-spotted skippers. 

As I followed the tracks I was hoping to find a snake in the many rocks that are found on the ridges next to the tracks. 

I din’t find any but knew they were there as evidenced by the shed snake skin.

I also noticed a number of fresh holes dug into the soil next to the tracks. judging from there size I guessed they were done by female snapping turtles who tried to get to the creek but were prevented from reaching it by the railroad tracks. 

I walked up past the bridge at Hazle Creek Junction and continued on to the Penrose Reservoir. 

I had hoped to see some water birds here but there were none on the waters  but I did see a lot of dragonflies fluttering above the water. 

And a few frogs along the shores. 

Unfortunately I also found this mess left behind by some folks who have no respect for the environment and property.  It is a shame that people could visit such a beautiful place and leave their thrash behind. .

I continued my walk to a pole line when the sun and heat made me decide to turn around.  It was a long way back in the heat but I hoped to still see a snake or a bear. 

I didn’t see either, only this squirrel who quickly scampered up a tree, 

I was hot and exhausted when I got to my car,  I didn’t find the bear or any snakes but it was still a nice day to be outdoors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Penrose-reservoir-railroad-tracks-June-11-2017-

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
Frank Lloyd Wright

 

 

 

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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. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Community-park-June-8-2017-

“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

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A Mink, A Muskrat And A Lot Of Mosquitoes: A Hike In The PPL Wetlands.

It was Saturday, so, of course,  we started the day off with a heavy rainfall. it seems it has been raining every Saturday this Spring here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. But like last Saturday the rain ended early,  and by mid-morning the sun was shining at the PPl Wetlands, were I again decided to hike. wildlife -1

The sun filtering through the wet leaves, the  song of the birds and the  heavenly scent of the honeysuckle made me feel I was walking in the Garden of Eden. wildlife -15

The June sun soon dried any of the wet leaves that were exposed to it’s now intense rays, but the leaves in the shade remained wet for most of my hike. wildlife -6

I walked along the familiar trails of the wetlands searching for birds, bugs, frogs, mammals or any other critter I  could find. The first one I saw was the ever present red winged-blackbird which appear to be everywhere in the wetlands now. wildlife -6

And the cool rain overnight, and the cool nights we’ve been having  brought a lot more turtles out on the logs, rocks and shores of the canals and ponds to baste in the sunshine this week.  I also saw a snapping turtle, or maybe two  snapping turtles in the water . Here is a link to a video.https://youtu.be/UFb4yOGpW7c wildlife -7

I  saw this furry critter swimming slowly through a duckweed covered pond. I am pretty sure it is a muskrat and not a beaver. wildlife -3

As I walked trails I found an abundance of small green high bush blueberries and  it still looks like there will be a good crop this year. All they need now is plenty of sun to ripen them.wildlife -16

I made my way to the riverlands section of preserve and Lake Took-A_While where I found plenty of folks fishing and cooking out. The smell of the charcoal grills filled the air. wildlife -24

And I was greeted by these fellows, a pair of domestic geese who came waddling up to me looking for a handout. I am sure they must have went AWOl from a local farm. wildlife -11

I found a group of their  wild cousins as I continued  my hike out the river tail  and to the Susquehanna River. wildlife -14

The river was high and it’s waters a deep brown from the runoff resulting from the recent heavy rains. wildlife -29

Most of the migratory birds have now passed through the area , but I saw a few of the ones that decided to stay such as this Baltimore oriole. wildlife -22

A little further on my hike I found this Baltimore oriole nest hanging right above one of the trails. I waited for around 15 minutes hoping mom of dad bird would re-emerge from the nest but I think they knew it and were not coming out. wildlife -23

I saw a few of the always beautiful yellow warblers and was able to capture a photograph of this one. wildlife -31

I was frustrated that I missed so many birds, many I could not identify and others, such as a red-bellied woodpecker and kingfisher I could. I know I had the experience of seeing them, which is satisfying, but I so much enjoy sharing them with my friends. I was able to photograph this blue heron standing along the trail.wildlife -9

And this red squirrel who seemed, like a lot of the birds, was gathering material to build a nest. wildlife -24

As was this  little fellow, I believe an eastern phoebe. wildlife -21

I enjoyed the warmth of the June sun as I continued my walk in the open areas of the trails, and also the way it filtered through the leaves under the ancient trees in the more wooded sections of the trail. wildlife -31

I came across a mulberry tree that was already setting it’s fruit. This tree  will provide a feast for the birds in a few weeks. wildlife -41

Along the wetlands I saw a few frogs in the lurking in the waters, waiting for insects, and trying to avoid being breakfast for a blue heron.wildlife -39

There is one inhabitant of the wetlands  I do not like to encounter, the mosquito. That wish was sure not granted. There were hoards of them, breeding in the many pools of water created by the wet Spring.  I have many bites to attest to our meetings yesterday, but you got to take the good with the bad.wildlife -11

There is so much to see out doors this time of year such as the blue flag, or wild iris which  were scattered about, adding color to the wetlands.wildlife -19

Even the many species of wild grasses have a unique beauty to them. wildlife -3

As I was nearing my car, and the end of my hike, I saw this critter in the distance. At first I thought it was a squirrel that scampered into the woods along one of the canals.  However, as I approached I realized it was a mink, who gave me, what seemed like a wink, before he or she disappeared under the duck weed covered waters. Here is a link to some more photographs of the wildlife I saw on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-wildlife-June-3-2017-wildlife -37

I have loved hiking in the woods near my house since I was a child. Each time you leave your house you never know what you will see, whether it is a new plant, flower, mushroom, tree, or bird, mammal, reptile or bee. I am so glad i can now share this adventures with you folks here on my blog. And, the sun is shining this morning as I type so time to fine another  place to hike. Here is a link to some more photographs of my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-June-3-2017

wildlife -15

 

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.  John Muir

 

wildlife -27

 

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No Bears, But Some Pretty Birds At The Rails To Trails

It was a sunny start Sunday  morning  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I was having a picnic in the afternoon and had yet to set up my lawn furniture.. So  I was going to hike close to home until a friend posted a photograph of a mother bear and three cubs out on the local Rail To trails. Rails to trails heath barrens -1

Well three cubs are rare and I was soon hiking out the trails looking for the bears and trying to think where the mom and her cubs may be. Rails to trails heath barrens -4

I have heard of bear sightings in  the pitch pine barrens near the beginning of the trail so I was soon in this beautiful section of the trails owned by a local  land trust. Rails to trails heath barrens -14

The woods were lush and beautiful this time of year especially in the early morning  May sunlight. Rails to trails heath barrens -10

This protected area is absolutely beautiful. I love how the pine and birch stand out among the lower heath, ferns and other lower shrubs. Rails to trails heath barrens -5

I didn’t see any bear but soon saw this yellow rumped warbler perched high in a tree top singing it’s song to the woodlands below. Rails to trails birds -2

And there were many other birds darting in and out of the lower trees, including the scrub oaks and high bush blueberry plants. It is so hard to photographs them but I was able to capture this one, I think it may be a female common yellow throat. Rails to trails heath barrens -18

As I walked back to the main trail a turkey vulture flew overhead.Rails to trails heath barrens -24

And on the ground I saw a few chipmunks and this squirrel. Rails to trails heath barrens -26

I also stopped to watch these busy creatures, red ants, scurry atop their nest. But there were no bears  in sight so. having little time, I decided to drive the entrance on the far end of the trail, near Hazle Brook and hike out to the bridge were the bears were seen earlier that morning. Here is a link to some more photographs of my hike in the pitch pine barrens. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-heath-barrens-May-28-2017ants-1

I parked at the entrance on the east end of the current trail and hiked under  an older forest of oak, maple and hemlock.Rails to trails birds -2-2

I was soon greeted by the sound of this beautiful birds singing high in a tree top, a scarlet tanager. Rails to trails birds -11

I have been fortunate this Spring to have seen quite a few of these birds this year. Rails to trails birds -17

I continued through the woodlands and to a more open section of the trail, where it winds it’s way through a former mining area that have been reclaimed. Rails to trails birds -21-2

I did not see a lot of birds in the still young trees along the trail , but I am confidant that the many trees planted here will provide food and homes for many species of birds in the coming years. Rails to trails birds -19-2

I walked out to the bridge where the bear and her three cubs were sighted earlier in the morning. Rails to trails birds -23-2

I didn’t see any bears, and continued my search and  walked to the heath barrens about a mile further on the trail. Rails to trails birds -28

As I walked back I saw this hawk fly overheadRails to trails birds -22

and this blue jay eating some type of insect in a tree. 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/Rail-to-trails-birds-may-28-2017Rails to trails birds -24

There were also some wild flowers blooming along the trail, including my favorite, the lady slipper orchid or duck flower, Rails to trails birds -27

and a  few may flowers. Rails to trails birds -26-2

And, a sure sign that spring is slowly sleeping into Summer, another of my favorite flowers, the daisies, are blooming. Rails to trails birds -16-2

I didn’t find the bears, and I now had only a few hours to put my lawn furniture out but it was sure worth the few hours of walking in the woods in the early morning May sunshine. Here is a line to some more photographs of my hike on the trail http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-Hazle-Brook-may-28-2017Rails to trails birds -33

 

“Details of the many walks I made along the crest have blurred, now, into a pleasing tapestry of grass and space and sunlight.”
–  Colin Fletcher

 

 

 

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Mosquitoes To Muskrats: A Lot Happening At The PPL Wetlands

We finally had a Saturday without any rain here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I took advantage of it by driving to one of my favorite hiking areas, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. wetlands -1

I found the plants and trees of the wetlands achieved their full Summer attire of leaves and are now a deep, lush green.wetlands -3

Even the oaks, always the last to put forth their leaves, are now clad in a coat of green. wetlands -4

And the waters of the canals are joining in the act,  turning a light green as the new growth of duckweed spreads through the wetlands. wetlands -2

Soon after setting out on my hike I saw this fellow covered in the new growth of duckweed, a muskrat.  He  didn’t sit still for long, quickly swimming away as soon as he noticed me. wetlands -14The trees were again filled with the songs of the many species of birds that have returned to our area including a number of the always beautiful yellow warblers. wetlands birds-20

I also saw a few Baltimore orioles, many among the flowers of the blooming locust trees. wetlands birds-33

As usual there were many catbirds in the trees along the rails,wetlands birds-1

as there were the  noisy and territorial red-winged blackbirds. here is a male,wetlands birds-25

and this is a female. wetlands birds-10

I was hoping to see some cedar waxwings since they, too, seem to be attracted to the locust blossoms. unfortunately I only saw one today and could not get a good photograph. wetlands birds-26

I saw a few of the tiny common yellowthroats in some of the thicker brush. This is a male. wetlands birds-27

And I believe this is a song sparrow but I am not certain since I am not very good identifying sparrows. wetlands birds-14

There were also some year round residents about, including this blue bird,wetlands birds-30

and this male cardinal perched high on the branch of a dead tree, singing for the entire wetlands to hear. wetlands birds-16

He didn’t like me watching him  singing and decided to find a more private perch to sing his song to the world. There were a few birds I had seen  and was  able to photograph but I couldn’t identify. I am hoping my birding friends will help. Here is a link to some more photographs of the many birds I saw at the wetlands. Please feel free to identify them if you can. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-May-27-2017wetlands birds-17

I also saw a few other mammals today, including this chipmunk,wetlands -30

this whitetail deer, wetlands -31

and this groundhog galloping to get way from my camera.wetlands -24

And of course the flowers and plants continue to bloom and grow. The  wild blue flag irises are now blooming adding contrast to the deep green of the wetlands. wetlands -8

The high bush blueberries are getting larger and it still appears that there will be a big crop this year. wetlands -9

And there are plenty of blackberry flowers blooming  so maybe they, too, will produce a bumper crop  this year. wetlands -10

There were also an abundance of mosquitoes which I did not enjoy. it seemed I was covered with them from the moment I entered the wetlands. They are now breeding in the warm murky waters, and breeding very well. Fortunately there were no ticks today.wetlands -13

 I also  saw a few frogs and turtles on my walk but they  now prefer the warm, duckweed covered waters of the ponds and canals and are not as easily seen. wetlands -19

I walked out to Lake-Took-Awhile where I saw many folks fishing along it’s shores or enjoying a cookout at one of it’s many picnic areas. wetlands -21

It sure was a nice day to be outdoors. I wish I could have stayed but I had to head home, so I took a slow walk back to my car, enjoying the many sights and sounds of nature along the way. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-May-27-2017-wetlands -5

 

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.     Aristotle

 

 

 

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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. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Community-park-may-23-2017-Community 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

 

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