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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Rainy Day At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails

It was a cold, windy and overcast morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  The skies were red at sunrise and, according to the old rhyme, “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”,                                                              we were in for some stormy weather. Rain was predicated to arrive around noon so I decided to hike close to home and drove to our local rails to trails, about two miles from my house. entrance to rails to trails

Upon arrival at the parking lot I remembered this portion of the trail was closed for  some drainage  maintenance.entrance to rails to trails

 I drove to the another parking area on trail, near the one mile mark,  where I began my hike in a light rain and sleet. The temperature was 33 degrees, and must have risen overnight since  I found ice on the puddles on  path.ice on puddle on trail

I love walking this beautiful trail, although, during the warmer months I do not get here often because I am looking for huckleberries, mushrooms or photographs  of wildlife at the PPl Wetlands and other nature preserves. tree lined trail

The trail follows the path of the old  Delaware, Susquehanna and Schuylkill,  D, S & S railroad right of way.  There is more information on the history of this railroad in a few of my prior posts which can be found using the search application  here on my blog. trial information

The lush green leaves of summer are now gone and most of the colors of fall have faded too. The only color now is the dull red leaves of the oaks, red oak leaves

and the green leaves of the pines and mountain laurel. green mountain laurel leaves

The sleet and freezing rain ended and I noticed the many pitch pines that grow along the ridge above the trail. As I mentioned in my post last week I have always loved this trees and spent many hours as a child walking, playing and camping under their branches. pitch pine leaves on trail

I walked past the Dreck Creek reservoir and the rest area where a new pet rest and watering station was just built. structure on trail

I than followed the trail  out past the heath barrens heath barrens on trail

and  the old road that led to the beryllium plant that was located near here. old macadam road on trail

I encountered little wild life on my hike. I saw a blue jay, a few black-capped chickadees, a few juncos,junco on trail

and a flock of , I think, sparrows, feeding on some birch catkins. bird on tree on trail

Out near the heath barrens there were plenty of red tea berries,tea berries along trail

and I found a few witch hazel trees. These trees are the only native tree that flowers in the fall. witch hazel blossoms on trail

I walked out to the bridge that spans the still active railroad tracks. I discovered that the rain that fell area froze on the concrete on the bridge. 

And just when I  decided to begin my  hike back to my car it began to rain again. I walked the three miles back  in a steady cold rain. It wasn’t the best day for a hike but I still loved  being outside, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Pennsylvania woods. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today. Rails to trails hike November 18 2017 tree lined trail

“We believe that the place to start … is in our communities. Americans living together and joining in associations across the country–this is where the tremendous strength and vision of our people will be tapped. We recommend a prairie fire of local action to sweep the nation, encouraging investment in outdoor recreation opportunities and rededication to the protection of our great natural heritage. – PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors

 

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A November Hike On Penn Haven Mountain In Carbon County.

Last  Sunday was cold again  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not as cold as Saturday, but early morning temperatures were in up the mid 20’s,  still well below  normal. I wanted to hike somewhere new  so I decided  to drive south  and  headed to the Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County  As I drove past the small town of Weatherly I remembered  a tract of land recently added to the state game lands.  I had hiked here once before and  decided to return to  this area.I recalled that it  once may have been owned by   a hunting club.tree lined path in woods

I remember reading somewhere about the purchase of the land by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It is   located on the Penn Haven mountain about 2 miles south of the town of Weatherly. I tried to find the article for this post but was unsuccessful. If anyone knows the name of the hunting club please let me know. tree lined path in woods

When I hiked this trail once before a few years ago it was a cold Winter day with a deep snow cover and it wasn’t a good day to explore  the area. I hoped to see more of the trail and surrounding terrain on this hike.   I started my hike at a parking area across from the Weatherly Country Inn.waters of Indian run creek

The trail begins near India Run, a small stream that flows into the Buck Mountain Creek and eventually in the Lehigh River at Rockport. There is a small dam near the start of the trail which was covered with ice. It would probably be a good place to observe migratory water fowl in the Spring. tree lined lake

I am always curious about the names of streams. And Indian Run had me wondering if there were Native Americans in the area as I proceeded on the trail in the shade of some tall and ancient hemlock trees. large hemlock trees on trail

It was overcast when I set and there were few birds or other wildlife on the trail. It is a steady uphill climb  to a ridge atop the Penn Haven mountain. At first the woods were mainly chestnut oak and hemlock trees.

As I reached the top of the ridge there were more  red oak and pitch pines. i love the smell of the pitch pine.  There are many of these trees on the ridge near where  I grew up  and I spent countless hours playing and hiking under their contorted limbs.I love walking over their fallen needles.  pine trees and pine needles on trail

There were also many red oak trees atop the ridge, still displaying there brilliant red leaves.red oak tree

The red oak is one of the last trees put forth leaves in the Spring and the last to loose it’s leaves in the Fall  red oak leaf

And there were widespread stands of our state flower, the mountain laurel. I imagined how beautiful it would be up here when this lovely flowers was in bloom in June. mountain laurel

At the high point on the ridge three trails converged and there was a large, old  excavation site on the side of the ridge.  I wondered why it was here and what the excavated earth was used for. trees and clearing in forest

I also found some old concrete pads on the ground and it appears there was once a cabin or other structure up here.  I tried to research the history of the area with no luck and would appreciate any help as to the owners of the club and what types of buildings were up here. concrete pad

I decided to follow a trail that lead down the westerly side of the ridge. It was steep and the sides of the trail had much more rock than the hike up. 

As I followed the trail down I caught site of the Lehigh River through the trees far below the ridge.  I hoped to follow the trail toward the river to get a better view but the land was posted.

Although I would have loved to try and see the river I respected the no trespassing signs and made my way back up the trail. It was much harder going up the steep trial than it was walking down. 

I made my way up the steep upgrade and rested atop the ridge before I began my return to the parking lot. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife on my hike. I saw a few deer leaping through the woods in the distance.  There were a few black-capped chickadees fluttering about in the trees,

and I saw this pretty oven bird on my hike down. 

As I neared the dam at the beginning of the trail I saw a few sparrows in the trees along the along the water. 

I am sure there is a lot more wildlife in the Spring and Summer and I hope to return next year to find out. Even without the abundance of wildlife as I find on some of my other hiking trails, I still enjoyed the peace and quiet of the woods on Penn Haven mountain and hope to return soon. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Penn Haven Mountains hike photos.

“It’s all still there in heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure–they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days and years to come.”
–   Edward Abbey  

 

 

 

 

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Turn, Turn Turn, To Everything There Is A Season

And turn life does. It has been over a month now since my life has so drastically changed as a result of the untimely and tragic loss of my sister and brother-in-law. During that time  I have continued my daily walks in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania, trying to find  the peace and comfort the beauty of nature has always provided me.  I had been doing a lot of reflecting on life, death and this most unexpected tragedy.Lake Took-A-While in fall

It has been difficult for me to gather my thoughts and share the beauty I still  find on my walks, despite the pain and grief I am feeling.  But I know  Linda and Charlie would want me to continue with this blog,  sharing my love of life and adventure, now,  from such a different perspective. So I will try to  continue my message to enjoy, appreciate and protect nature during this short time we are given on this wonderful planet.  We must protect it for those who remain after we are gone, and for all future generations to come.  red berries

So I will again try and  share  some of my thoughts, and photographs, of the beauty I found  on my hikes this past month. 

Although it was a very mild month, Fall still came and the leaves donned their  brilliant colors for a few weeks. I tried to enjoy  that color on a number of walks at one of my favorite hiking trails, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township.  The beauty of the fall foliage did provide much needed peace as I tried to understand the great loss my family suffered so suddenly . Here is a link to some more photographs from one of those  hikes. PPL Wetlands hike October 14 2017.tree lined canal covered in duckweed

This past weekend I again returned to the wetlands.  There was still some color but now most of the leaves  have fallen to the earth exposing  the bare branches of  trees and shrubs. So quickly the seasons turn. As can life.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this past weekend. PPL Wetlands hike November 4 2017. bare trees in PPL Wetlands

They will wear this  Winter  attire until the warm days of Spring return. Change is the one constant in nature and life.  And, as I have learned, sometimes it comes  slowly, like the seasons, and sometimes quickly  like  an unexpected event in life.  leafless black walnut tree

I took many walks in  the beautiful Fall weather and  took some  photographs of the majesty of the fall foliage and scenery  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania this past month. Most were at the PPL Wetlands but I also walked along the shores of  Lake Irene, at a  local Community Park near my home in Hazle Township. Here is a link to some photographs from that beautiful  hike. Community Park walk October 24 2017cloud reflection on Lake Irene

Although many of the robins, catbirds, and song birds had already left our area I still came across a number of  birds on my walks. kinglet in tree branch

Some were still in the process of migrating south. like this cedar waxwing,cedar waxwing in tree branch

while other will remain for the cold Winter that approaches including the downy and hairy woodpeckers.hairy or downy woodpecker on tree

On a hike at Lake Irene last weekend I was fortunate to encounter a number of water fowl still in our area, including this pie-billed grebe,pied-billed grebe on Lake Irene

that was  accompanying this cormorant on a cool morning swim. cormorant on lake Irene

I also saw this noisy pair of Canada  geese, mallard duckstwo canada geese on lake Irene

and a flock of bufflehead ducks that kept their distance. There were reports of a bald eagle in the area, the reason for my visit but I didn’t see it. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds.  from my hike at community park. Community park November 4 2017.bufflehead ducks on Lake Irene

I didn’t see any of my favorite mammals, the black bear, this past month but I did see plenty of deer, including this late season young fawn,deer fawn leaping along path

and many chipmunks, a few voles mice and moles, and gray and red squirrels. red squirrel on tree trunk

The cooler weather eliminated much of the insect activity in the wetlands but there were a few bees, wasp and yellow jackets struggling about  in the lower temperatures, yellow jacket on a leaf

and the few dragonflies I saw also were looking tired and worn after an active summer. dragonfly on a branch

At the beginning of the month because of the unseasonably warm temperatures,  I  actually heard a few spring peeper frogs. But, as the day got shorter and colder  they, too, were silent. The many turtles that were seen along the canals in the Spring and Summer  were now rare although I did find this fellow on one of my hikes. 

As you may tell from reading this post, although my life is forever changed, I still find great joy in my hikes in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I always have loved nature , since those first walks with my dad as a young child. Hiking in the woods and gathering mushrooms with dad  was  a “boys” thing. Dad loved walking in the woods with his four sons. I learned so much on those hikes.

But my dad   loved his only daughter, his   “little princess” and “birthday girl” They shared January 29 birthdays.  Their relationship was so  special.  Like me she was devastated when  he left us. And once again I am devastated losing here much too soon. .  We miss her and her husband so much. Life we never be the same for me, my mom and siblings, and the four wonderful children they left behind. 

I know how much they loved life and I want to let the world know this, and so as I  continue to share the beauty I find in nature, my  blog posts will now  not only be dedicated to  my dad, but also to Charlie and Linda.They loved life and each other and their memory will accompany me on all of my journeys now. Until we meet again. For we are all dancing on this earth for a short time.

 “My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” 
― Jandy NelsonThe Sky Is Everywhere

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Ducks, Birds And Some Beautiful Scenery Along The Lehigh Canal.

We had our first frost here in Northeastern Pennsylvania last  Sunday. I awoke to clear calm skies and a 34 degree temperature.  After my usual morning walk through my neighborhood I decided to drive to Weissport and hike along the  remains of the Lehigh Canal. I was hoping to see some migrating ducks and other water fowl along the canal or Lehigh River. . tow path on Lehigh canal

The sun had warmed it up by the time I arrived and I soon found some ducks, but not the ones I was looking for. There are a number of mallard  ducks, domestic ducks and geese living in the canal near the town.male mallard duck in canal

However, it didn’t take long to find some of the wild variety. I soon found this group of common merganser  ducks swimming and diving in the Lehigh River. pair of common mergansers in Lehigh River

I watched these beautiful birds for a little while before I continued my hike along the old tow path between the remains of the canal and Lehigh River. Here is a link to some more photographs I took of the common mergansers.common mergansers on Lehigh river

There were still a few wild flowers in bloom along the canal, providing some late season color to the dying  vegetation along the trail. flowers along canal

The flowers attracted a few late season insects, including wasps and bees. And insects attract spiders including this large one I found along the path. spider on leaf

I heard and saw a number of migrating song birds high in the tree tops but it was hard to get a photograph as the fluttered and sang high over  my head. I was able to get a photograph of this catbird who was no where near elusive as the song birds. catbird on fence

I also got a photograph of this downy or hairy woodpecker. downy or hairy woodpecker

I continued on the path and enjoyed the rushing waters of the Lehigh River, although, because of the lack of rain, the river was very low for this time of year. The path continued to narrow and I was now walking under a canopy of leaves allowing only scattered rays of sunshine  to filter through.tree line tow path

I walked out to the observation tower about two miles out and stopped to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Lehigh River winding through the mountains. view of mountains along Lehigh River

I then walked out to the railroad bridge that spans the Lehigh River. Unfortunately the tanker cars parked along the track detracted from the majestic view of the river and mountains. railroad bridge over Lehigh River

I still sat along the banks of the river for a bit and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the sounds of the rushing waters of the Lehigh River. trees along lehigh river

As I began my return along the trail I again saw a flock of migrating song birds fluttering in the tree tops. This time, after a number of attempts, I was able to capture one of the many birds in the flock. I think it is some type of warbler. warbler in tree

There were also a few lingering butterflies along the trail.butterfly on leaf on trail

And a few more wild mallard ducks swimming in the canal.  Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw on my walk. Lehigh Canal birds 

I continued my walk back under the shade of the many ancient trees along the Lehigh River. 

I enjoyed the early autumn sunshine as I made my way back to the town of Weissport , having enjoyed another great day in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

And as I approached the parking lot I noticed this critter on a fence railing. Always something interesting in nature if you keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Canal Photographs, 

“But just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside. And it is in the world that we have to live.” 
― Lian Hearn

 

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PPL Wetland Hike: What A Difference A Week, Or A Day Makes.

Last Saturday it was sunny with temperatures in the mid 80’s when  I hiked in the PPL Wetlands and Riverlands. Not today.  It was mostly  cloudy, blustery and a cold  48 degrees when I started my hike early this morning. Hills across Susquehanna river

I again began my hike under the canopy of the old trees along the Susquehanna River, in hopes of seeing another bald eagle. trees along susquehanna river

I didn’t see any eagles  this week, but I did see a lot more birds as I walked to the riverlands portion of the preserve. I noticed  a few black-capped chickadees, year round residents in these  woods, andblack-capped chickadee on twig

I spotted this beautiful bird which landed in a branch above my head. I knew it was a migrating warbler, and learned, with some help from my birder friends, that is was a  female black-throated green warblerblack throated gree warbler on tree branch

I have never seen one before and I watched her  watch me until she  decided to continue  on her  journey south. Here is a link to more photographs of this beautiful bird. Black- throated green warbler photographsblack throated green warbler on tree branch

There were a few breaks in the clouds at the start of my hike making for some nice contrasts of colors on the green ponds and changing leaves. clouds and trees and pond

However the sun soon disappeared behind more clouds and a strong northwesterly wind making for more fall like scenery. duckweed covered pond lined with trees

I was surprised to see a few more birds including this red bellied woodpecker, red bellied woodpecker on tree trunk

this flycatcher, fly catcher on tree branch

and a great blue heron I spotted sitting in a tree across Lake Took-A-While. greet blue heron in tree

As I walked the path of the riverlands and wetlands it was obvious most of the insect activity of the summer is now over. I was not buzzed by one mosquito, didn’t see any dragonflies and saw only a few bees on the fall flowers now in bloom.blue flowers

I did see this same insects on this milkweed plant, the pod now going to seed, and the insects still feasting on the milkweed plant. insects on milkweed plant and pods.

I also saw these two turtles, who appeared during the brief period of sunshine. They were gone, back in the warmer waters, maybe not re-appearing above water until next spring. 

As I returned to the wetlands I scared another great blue heron on one of the ponds.

Followed by a few of these beautiful wood ducks.

And I heard the cry of a hawk overhead.

I saw many more birds on this hike than I did last weekend. I think it may be the cooler weather and soon all of the summer visitors to the wetlands will be gone. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Photographs of birds at wetlands. 

I saw many other signs of Fall on my hike including an abundance of wild grapes and 

many more leaves changing colors. The next few weeks will be some of the most beautiful in Northeastern Pennsylvania as the woodlands lose their leaves in one final burst of color before there long winter sleep.  I hope to spend many hours outdoors enjoying the changes, and some at the PPL Wetlands. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands photographs. 

Perhaps
the truth depends on a walk around a lake.” — Wallace Stevens

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Fall Arrives, But It Felt More Like Summer At The PPL Wetlands

Fall arrived last Friday at 4:02 p.m. here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. But it felt more like summer with temperatures in the mid 80’s. And it was even warmer on Saturday when I decided to hike again in the PPL Wetlands. path under trees

I arrived early as a thick morning fog was just burning off as I walked along the river and under the canopy of leaves of the large ancient trees along the Susquehanna. tree lined path

Although the temperatures quickly climbed into the 80’s,  and the trees still donned their summer green leaves, the absence of the sight and sound of the birds, turtles and insects made it obvious Fall was here. sun shining through canopy of leaves

I saw no birds for almost a mile as I walked under the many oaks, ash and hickory trees along the river. I did see a few chipmunks, andchipmunk on a log

gray and red squirrels gathering the many nuts and acorns that now covered the ground. red squirrel in tree

As I walked away from the river and along the canals and ponds I saw a few wood ducks,wood ducks on duckweed covered pond

 and a lot more color, as the ferns,  brambles and maple trees were starting to show their fall colors. 

Many of the plants and trees now were laden with berries and fruit. 

And I saw a few of the birds that will remain with us for our long winter, such as the crows and this bluejay, enjoying them. blue jay in brush

I walked over to lake Took=A-While and again found little wild life activity. I did find theses turtles enjoying the late summer sun. two turtles on log

There were only a few dragonflies darting over the waters, and a few wasps and bee on the wild flowers now in bloom, but theses insects were still enjoying the milkweed pods. insects on milkweed pod

I also saw quite a few grasshoppers in the now brown and dry grass along the trails.grasshopper on plant

The hot temperatures me decide to  head back to my car parked  at the wetlands section of the preserve. I didn’t see anything exotic but I enjoyed was the peace and quiet of the woodlands and the often overlooked little things that make nature so wonderful.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands.  PPL Wetlands photographs.

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien,

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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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