Spiders, Insects And Other Late Summer Cool Stuff

We have had some remarkably  beautiful late summer weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania this past week. Sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures are not good for the wild mushrooms but have made for some pleasant hiking conditions. I took advantage of them with a few hikes with my macro lens. 

There are not many flowers in bloom now but the ones that are sure are attracting a lot of insects. yellow wild flowers in bloom

The ragweed, a nuisance to many, is a major sources of late season pollen for many species of bees,

wasps,

yellow jackets and even flies.fly sitting on ragweed

And insects attract spiders. I ran into a few of them on my walks this week, ranging in size from the tiny,gray spider on web

to the large,large spider

and some quite pretty when contrasted with the vivid colors of  the changing leaves,small spiders and shadow on leaf

or on the milkweed pods.long legged spider of milkweed pod

I also saw a lot of species of grasshoppers grasshopper on yellow flower

and ants busy preparing for their long winter sleep. 

There were still a few moth and butterflies fluttering about too, and they also were attracted to the common ragweed.

Most of the photos of the insects shown above where on paths in open woodlands. I also took a few walks in the deeper woods where I found many signs of Fall, including a very good crop of acorns.

I even found an unusual blackish one. 

There were a few mushrooms growing despite the dry weather including this poison pigskin puffball, 

and I believe these  are the beautiful, but deadly destroying angel mushrooms. 

I have come to really enjoy walking with my camera and macro lens. It has allowed me to explore nature from a new perspective. Even a simple leaf has such a complex beauty. close up of leaf

And, with the invention of the internet and social media, I am so glad I can share my discoveries  with so many people here on my blog. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hikes this week.  Macro photographs. 

close up of spiders eyes

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible”Oscar Wilde

close up of butterflies eye

 

 

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A Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron And More Late Summer Beauty At the PPL Wetlands

It was another mild late summer morning on Sunday.  I again decided to explore the paths and trails of the PPL Wetlands.  I  walked the Great Warrior Trail  along the banks of the Susquehanna River hoping to a  see a bald eagle or beaver as I have on my last few visits. trees along Susquehanna river

No luck seeing  either this time. It was  very quiet under the ancient trees since the song birds have headed south with the  the shortening day and cooler weather.  There were very few birds fluttering in the trees.  I did see this flicker which, I believe will stay here for the Winter.flicker on branch

Like the song birds the robins and a lot of the waterfowl have also left but I still heard, and saw,  a few catbirds, catfish on branch

and lingering red-winged blackbirds.

 I walked along the trail between the canals and ponds and found more signs of  Fall including the red leaves of the Virginia creepers vines,red vine leaves on tree

and the ferns which have now turned brown.brown ferns along tree lined trail

There were some  mushrooms on the forest floor, including these inky caps.inky cap mushrooms

I was disappointed I didn’t see any bald eagles along the river, or a beaver swimming in the water but, as always, the wetlands did provide me with another surprise.kingfisher on wire eating crayfish

As I walked to the to the riverlands, I saw this female kingfisher sitting on a wire and eating, or,  trying to eat, a crayfish.

The kingfisher was on the other side of a canal so I couldn’t get close enough to watch her struggles with the crayfish but I did take  these photographs with my zoom lens showing her efforts to eat what she caught. Here is a link to some more photographs. Kingfisher photographs. female kingfisher on wire

I also saw another interesting sight. At first the great blue heron I spotted was stalking food in Lake Took-A-While. Nothing unusual about that.great blue heron in reeds

But it spread it’s wings opened it’s mouth and seemed to just enjoy the late summer sunshine like it was relaxing at the beach. great blue heron basking in sun

I wished I had more time to watch the blue heron, and the kingfishers, which were still flying above the lake but it  was Sunday and September and the Philadelphia Eagles were playing at one o’clock so I had to walk back to my car, catching some more of nature’ s beauty on the way, including this late season butterfly, 

these late season flowers, purple wildflower at PPL Wetlands

and  weeds, well we call them weeds, the common ragweed that is such a nuisance to allergy sufferers this time of year, but still having a beauty to them. And food for many wasp, bees and other insects.

I also once  again observed these insects  still attracted to this milkweed pod.

The PPL Wetlands provided me with another large dose of nature’s beauty both large and small. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike on Sunday. PPL Wetlands photographs.  

“The river is such a tranquil place, a place to sit and think of romance and the beauty of nature, to enjoy the elegance of swans and the chance of a glimpse of a kingfisher.” 
― Jane Wilson-Howarth

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Rain, Bald Eagles And A Great Blue Heron At The PPL Wetlands

The forecast called  for rain showers ending early on Sunday morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. However,  at 9 a.m. it was still raining pretty steady at my house. I knew it would be too wet to roam the deep  woods searching for wild mushrooms so I decided to head down one of my favorite well maintained hiking trails at the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. tree lined road to PPL Wetlands in Salem Township

Summer is ending here in Pennsylvania but the woods are still green and the rain added to that greenness on Sunday morning.  The leaves glistened from the rain and it looked more like the lush green of May than early September. 

As I was leaving my car, I heard a rustling in the tree branches overhead and watched two bald eagles quickly flying away. To quick for me to grab my camera. I walked down to the banks of the Susquehanna River to try and see them but they were gone.flock of tree swallows on river

I did see large flocks of these birds skimming above the waters of the river and I have since learned, from my birder friends, that were probably tree swallows.  There were hundreds of them in the flock as they made there way down river. wood ducks on pond

I walked back to the trails of the wetlands and these wood ducks enjoying the wet weather. tree lined trail in PPL Wetlands

The rain continued to fall and actually became more intense so I headed under the cover of the bigger trees along the river. As I came to an opening along the river I looked out and saw, on a branch just below my eye level, another bald eagle perched staring at the river. He or she hadn’t heard me approaching and, as I reached for my camera, it turned around. For a brief second we stared at each other but it flew off before I could have taken a spectacular photograph. This is the best I could do as it quickly soared away. I didn’t have a photograph but the experience, to come eye to eye with a bald eagle in the wild was amazing.bald eagle in flight

I continued my walk in the rain, seeing a few more ducks, catbirds and chipmunks. I am guessing these remains of a black walnut were a chipmunk’s or squirrel’s  breakfast. remains of a black walnut eaten by squirrel or chipmunk

I also saw the remains of some of the flowers of Spring and Summer such as this jack-in -the pulpit fruit,jack in the pulpit fruit

and these wild grape, wild grapes

and the fruit of the pokeweed plants. pokeweed berries

I walked over to the river lands and Lake Took-a-While and encountered this great blue heron, once again before he/she noticed me. great blue heron

I again creeped up on it and this time I had my camera ready.  As I approached, it perked up, and became more tense as I  neared. This time I was able to take the photograph above before it flew off behind some shrubs. Here is a link to some more photographs of the heron and some other birds I saw on my walk. Bird photographs. great blue heron in flight

It was now near noon and the rain was not letting up. I was soaked, so I decided to head back, walking past some of the last wild of the season, including these touch-me-nots or jewelweed flowers,touch-me-not or jewelweed with rain drop

and these common flowers which I can’t identify. 

Although the woods were still, for the most part, lush and green, there were some leaves changing color. leaves changing colors {red}

As were many of the species of ferns along the paths.tree lined path with brown ferns

I am enjoying every walk I take this time of year since I know it won’t be long until all of the flora and fauna of the wetlands disappear with the coming colder weather. I hope to get a few more hikes in, and watch the  changing colors and migration of the birds, before it does. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands. PPL wetlands photographs. 

 

“I love the smell of rain and growing things.” 
― Serina Hernandez

 

 

 

 

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My First Total Solar Eclipse And AWEsome It Was

I guess the way to begin this post is to say the total solar eclipse I experienced was not what I expected. I had visions of the moon bringing total midnight darkness to the middle of  day. Not how it happened. I t happened very differently  but still so awesome. More on this later but now first on  how and where I got to  observe it. corona of sun during total eclipse

I was up early in my $387 dollar a night Econo Lodge in Idaho Falls. Actually, although overpriced for the eclipse I had a  nice clean room and the staff was very friendly and  welcoming.  I was up early, around 5 a.m. and worked on a blog post until sunrise, around 7 a.m. here in southern Idaho, had a coffee and some oatmeal and was on the road heading north to Rexburg, a town in the path of the longest totality of the eclipse. highway with no traffic Idaho Falls

I was surprised to find so little traffic, with the reports of traffic jams in Oregon and warnings from park rangers to avoid traffic and stay at my hotel and watch it. cars at parking lot southern butte Rexburg Idaho

I, of course, wasn’t taking this advice and, after talking with a few local photographers I met, took their suggestions that anything in the Rexburg area and particularly two buttes west of the city, would be the best place to view the eclipse.  I was told I may not get there with the traffic but I was surprised to find  my way to the town Menan and it’s two buttes with very little traffic.parking lot northern Menan Butte Idaho

There were two buttes the first I reached was private and they were charging $40 dollars to park. I was told the northern Butte was the better location so I drove on and found a large parking lot and no fee to park.parking lot Northern Menan Butte Idaho

There  were a lot of vehicles, buses and campers but no were near what I was expecting. I arrived early, around 8:30 am and decided to hike the northern Menan Butte before the moon arrived to block the sun.trail to Northern Menan butte summit Idaho

The local Idaho officials sure went out of their  way to accommodate the visitors. Police directed and slowed traffic, fire fighters and emergency folks were at the ready and rangers provided water, eclipse glasses and information about the eclipse and the natural environment of the butte. emergency tent at solar eclipse

I began my walk up the butte, were many folks were going to observe the eclipse.  Canadian couple waiting for solar eclipse

I decided, on my way to the summit, that after my climb, I would set up near this group of photographers and astronomers, who had the big cameras and telescopes, and observe the eclipse. photographers at Menan Butte Idaho for total solar eclipse

I walked up the sandy, slippery and rocky path to the summit of the butte, having to admit I took a few breaks along the way. trail sign for Menan Butte at solar eclipse

Aside from a few birds, including a hawk, the only critter I saw on my hike  was this beetle. beetle on ground on trail

There was a steady stream of climbers, of all ages, and from all over the country and world. trail up to Menan Butte summit

I was glad to see the many families struggling up the winding paths with their children, with some dedicated fathers even carrying infants. trail up to Menan Butte summit

The hike took about and 45 minutes to reach the top and I enjoyed the view on some rocks near the summit.View from atop Menan Butte summit Idaho

It was a much easier,  and quicker,  hike back down the butte and I returned to my car around 10:15 am. , 15 minutes before the eclipse was to begin. View from atop Menan Butte Idaho summit

I heard the excited voices of some Asian tourists shouting it had begun and put on my protective glasses to watch the moon begin it’s two hour journey across the face of the sun.  I took this photograph of some of the many folks who climbed the butte to watch the eclipse. People atop Menan Butte Idaho watching total solar eclipse

I walked over to the group of photographers and set up my camera equipment. I am not, by any means, a professional photographer, I let the cameras do the work fir me, and was worried I had purchased an incorrect eclipse lens. I did take a few photos of the start of the eclipse with this being the best result .Moon starting to eclipse sun

I spent the next hour taking peak at the ever diminishing disc of the sun through my protective glasses and watching a slight change in the intensity of the sunlight.moon eclipsing solar disc

It was amazing how, even at 95% of coverage of the solar disc, the intensity of the suns rays were still blinding without the glasses. Folks in the group next to me did  notice a change in the shadows cast by the diminished sunlight,shadow cast during total solar eclipse

and there was a slight noticeable change in the lighting  in the landscape.lanndcape during start of total solar eclipse

However at totality everything changed so quickly. It was wonderful and magical. view of sun during total solar eclipse

The skies rapidly darkened  and the sun became a black hole in the sky surrounded by a halo of bright light. It was amazing..view of total solar eclipse

Mars and Mercury appeared and a red sky, as seen on the eastern horizon at sunrise, and the western horizon at sunset, ringed the entire horizon. I was glad I was on the flat plains of Idaho to  view of horizon during total solar eclipseobserve it. 

There were shouts of joy from the group of people around me, dogs barked and babies cried. The temperature dropped and I reached for my IPhone to take this video, which can be seen on my YouTube channel at this link https://youtu.be/k0M_iZCyGv0I also reached for one of my cameras, my Canon 5D Mark III and took this and a few other photographs. 

The two minutes of totality went so fast,  I didn’t get a chance to take  any landscape photographs of the butte as I planned and I missed seeing some of the stars other folks near me said thy had seen. It never good totally dark, just a late twilight feeling. Still something you could never really exactly describe without experiencing it. 

It was a truly remarkable experience, but if I could do it over, and when I see my next one in 2024, I will  spend more time enjoying it and not try to video or photograph this fantastic cosmic event.  Here is a link to some more photographs of my visit to Menan Butte to watch the eclipse. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Three-Solar-Eclipse-At-Menan-Butte-August-21-2017

As soon as the shadow moon  moved  just past the sun it once again became bright and you now again had to use the eclipse glasses to watch the event. After about ten minutes I decided to leave this area and get to the highway to finish watching the eclipse there, in hopes of avoiding traffic. Unfortunately, the local police directed me, and others with the same idea, in a northerly direction where we ran into a lot of traffic. I decided to try a shortcut from looking at Google maps on my IPhone but soon came to a dead end.

A local resident explained to me that my best bet would to re-trace my path and make my way to the major highway. I did and found the major highway route 20 with traffic at a standstill. All back roads heading south were also congested. 

I decided to head back to the nearest town Rexburg, which to find something to eat and explore the town until the traffic subsided.  I found traffic in the town to be heavy and all of the restaurants with long lines of folks doing the same thing as me. I waited in line at a Thai restaurant where I had a nice lunch. 

After lunch I walked the streets of Rexburg for a bit and got back on Route 20 for my journey back to Idaho Falls. It was congested, but moving traffic for 15 of the 20 mile trip but traffic stalled again 5 miles from my hotel. I once again took to the back roads and this time did find my way to the hotel after driving some rural roads. 

It was late afternoon when I arrived, and after a meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant I was back at my hotel. With a long day planned early in the morning I was soon fell asleep reflecting on the marvelous eclipse I had experienced and thinking about plans to observe the next, visible much closer to my home in Pennsylvania in 7 years. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive back to the hotel. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Three-Drive-to-hotel-August-21-2017 

 

Nothing is there beyond hope
Nothing that can be sworn impossible
Nothing wonderful, since Zeus,
Father of the Olympians
Made night from mid-day
Hiding the bright sunlight
And sore fear came upon men.
[Perhaps written having seen the eclipse of 6 Apr 648 BC.] 

 

 

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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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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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Bald Eagle At The PPl Wetlands. Always A Magical Momment.

It is always exciting  to see our national symbol, the bald eagle  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Almost extinct in our Nation a few decades ago, they were reintroduced into Pennylvania and are now thriving along our rivers, lakes and streams of our Commonwealth.bald eagle in tree along river

 I usually see these majestic birds from  afar,  perched high atop a tree limb or soaring high above me. And I am sure they have an eye on me long before I see them. Not last Sunday.  I was hiking along the Susquehanna River at the PPl Wetlands in Salem Township when I saw this bird perched on a tree limb. 

I was sure he /she didn’t see me as I approached and proud of having been able to surprise him/her.  It didn’t take long for him/her to hear me and take off into the skies over the Susquehanna River.  bald eagle in flight

I probably interupted  his/her breakfast plans, a fish in the river perhaps , but I am sure it found another spot to wait for lunch. Here is a link to some more photographs of my bald eagle sighting. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-bald-eagle-July-23-2017-bald eagle in flight

I only planned a short walk throught the  PPL wetlands, it is now wild mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I am usually out searching for them in my secret locations which I won’t share here on my blog.Sorry but mushrooms hunters have always been a secretive bunch. polypore mushroom

As always, my walk through the wetlands and along the Susquenanna River didn’t disappoint. I was thrilled seeing the bald eagle  but I saw a few other birds on my walk including this green heron,green heron in flight

quite a few flycatchers ,enjoying the abundance of insects now flying throughout the wetlands,flycatcher on branch

a flicker flicker on tree branch

and this elusive wood duck. Here is a limk to some more photogrpahs of the birds I saw at the wetlands. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-July-23-2017-wood duck on log

I continued my walk along the river and, as I always do, imagined the many generations of Native Americans who had walked along this same river, and maybe even under the same tress. trail along Susquehanna River

The recent rains created a lot of mud and I came very close to talking a nasty fall sliding in one of the muddy areas of the trail. footprint in mud

And I saw a lot of  these creatures, slugs, enjoying  the wet conditions. slug on ground

I  was saddened to see a large stand of turk cap lilies, which  had always attracted butterflies and insects, was prety much gone, taken over by the invaive alien and ugly japanese knotweed. This was the only lily left.turk cap lily

The trail left the river and passed through some corn fields, which are now laden with rapidly filling ears of corn.wood path leading to corn field

There is something so soothing walking amid the stalks of corn is a corn field, for me anyway.

As I made my way backe to the parking lot, signs summer was moving on were everywhere including the soon to be ripe blackberries

and an abundant crop of elderberries. 

I saw one last critter before I left, this rabbit who looks like it may have been having some issues with the many insects in the wetlands. I left the wetlands and sought out my mushroom hunting territories but those areas will remain secret. Here is a link to some more photogrpahs from my hike in the wetlands. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-July-23-2017-

 

We are eagles of one nest…the nest is in our soul.” – Led Zeppelin

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Insects And Other Stuff Up Close, A Hike With My Macro Lens At The PPL Wetlands.

It was another busy week, between work and looking for wild mushrooms,  and I’m  just now getting some time to throw together this quick blog post from one of my hikes last weekend at the PPL Wetland were I took some photographs of some insects. . tree lined path in PPL wetlands

It is now mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania so I spend much of my time exploring the woods looking for edible  wild mushrooms. Sorry but I am not going to share those locations here on my blog. like most mushroom hunters we keep those spots secret. I spent most of my Saturday looking for mushrooms, and found some, but also had some time to get a quick hike in the PPL Wetlands with my macro lens.dark green duck weed covered pond in wetlands

 I am continually amazed every time I get to walk with my macro lens, since it   always   allows me to see  beauty in almost everything in nature. close up of grape vine

The waters of the wetland are now warm and covered in a deep green layer of duckweed.  The frogs and turtles are harder to find since they can now stay hidden in the warm waters but occasionally I would still see a turtle or frog one a log or along the banks of one of the ponds or canals. turtle on log in duckweed covered water

It is now mid summer and the blackberries are now becoming ripe. 

And the black walnut trees,close up of black walnut

 and hickory nut trees will soon be providing food for the wildlife in the wetlands. I may gather a few of the hickory nuts myself, if I can get them before the squirrels. hickory nuts

I again took some photographs of the many dragonflies and damselflies that are now darting above the waters of the wetlands. dragonfly on reed

It seems, like snowflakes, no two, even of the same species are alike. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies I saw on my walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-dragonflies-July-22-2017-dragonfly on reed

Two weeks ago  I found the milkweed in bloom and visited by a wide variety of butterflies. Last week I found the thistle blooming and, like the milkweed, it too attracts a wide range of butterflies, bees and wasp and other insects. thistle flower in bloom

I took some close up photographs of this eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.  closeup of eatern tiger swallowtail butterfly

The delicate and intricate wings are amazing seen up close.close up of butterfly wing

There were also a number of different wasps, and bees  of all sizes and shapes visiting the bright purple flowers. yellow jacket on thistle flower

I spent much more time then I had planned observing, and photographing the many insects that visited this one thistle plant. Here is a link to some of the photographs. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-thistle-July-22-2017butterfly on thistle flower

I also encountered a lot of insect on my hike, including this large wasp.wasp on ground

And. with so many insects in the wetlands there were plenty of flycatchers and other birds perched on the branches waiting for an easy meal. flycatcher bird on tree branch

I also saw a few birds including the usual catbirds, robins red winged blackbirds and this great blue heron who heard me coming this week and didn’t wait around for a picture. 

And these elusive young wogreat blue heron in flight od ducks. wood ducks swimming in water

I wish I could have spent more down exploring this wonderful place but I was off to my mushroom woods to look for dinner. It was another great summer day, they all are. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlandshttp://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-July-22-2017-

 

 

“Around a flowering tree, one finds many insects.”
–  Proverb from Guinea 

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