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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The Change, It Has Begun. A Late Summer Hike With My Macro Lens.

I headed back out to Community Park on another beautiful late Summer afternoon in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Still no bald eagle sighting but an enjoyable hike with my macro lens. macro-hike-18

There aren’t many flowers blooming this time of year but i found a few, including this one I have never seen before. macro-hike-1

And, without an abundance of flowers in bloom there are a lot fewer insects flying about. But I did manage to see, and photograph a few. macro-hike-2

I was surprised to see a couple of dragonflies still darting about, and you can see from the way this critter’s wings have deteriorated,  that they won’t be flying much longer. macro-hike-19

And like the dragonflies, the leaves are also showing signs of deterioration , and are beginning to show their Fall colors. macro-hike-9

It won’t be long now until all of the leaves join in the annual display of color.  macro-hike-10

The ducks and geese were still on the water and I came across a few feathers they have left on the shores of the lake. macro-hike-28

It was a pleasant evening but ended a lot earlier than it does at the beginning of Summer as we continue to lose a few minutes of daylight every evening and morning. We still have one week of Summer left and I am going to enjoy every last minute of it. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike tonight. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/macro-hike-September-13-2016macro-hike-3

 

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.     Sarah Helen Whitmanmacro-hike-26

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Late Summer: Mushrooms, Spiders, Toads And Other Cool Stuff In Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Sorry I have been neglecting my blog lately . There are two reasons, the first, I have been busy at the office and with some other matters and the second, it is mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.muchroom-hike-14

When it’s mushroom season I am out in the forests and woodlands looking for wild mushrooms. And, as anyone who has searched for edible wild mushrooms would tell you, we don’t share our secret spots. So I don’t take  landscape photographs which may give them away.mushrooms-30

I was fortunate to have had a Polish  father who knew a few edible species and who loved taking my brothers and I into the wooded strip mining areas and teaching us how to identify them.  I took the skills I was taught  and continued to learn and identify many species of edible mushrooms. I will not attempt to identify them  in this blog since an improper identification can lead to sickness and even death. Yes, many species are deadly, so please don’t try to identify any wild mushroom without the help of an expert. The mushrooms here are shared for their beauty only and please do not think the are edible. some, like this destroying angel will kill you.muchroom-hike-12

I did take my camera and macro lens on  a few of my mushrooms hikes , although it is hard to look for the wild mushrooms and take  photographs at the same time.  It has been a hot and  very dry Summer here, and the mushrooms are not as plentiful as they are some years, when we get plenty of rain,  but I still found many species on my hikes.  And I am proud to say with the help of my nephew Mikey, we have enough to keep alive my dad’s tradition of  drying some “red tops”, a species of bolete mushroom for  soup on Holy Supper on Christmas Eve, This is an old Polish tradition which brought so much joy to our family over the years.  Here is a link to some more  of the many species of mushrooms I found on my hikes these past few weeks. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/mushroom-hike-September-4-2016mushrooms-23

And here is another link to some more photographs of wild mushrooms I found this Summer http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/mushrooms-August-27-2016-

In addition to mushrooms I also find so many other things on my hikes. I feel like a child every time I leave my house, not knowing exactly what I will find. Yesterday, was a good day to be in the woods. It was hot again, it may be our last hot weekend of the year, and I first noticed the increasing number of acorns on the ground. A sure sign the seasons will soon change. macro-walk-22

The leaves on the trees are now showing their age and some are already donning their Fall colors. macro-walk-23

Since it was a dry Summer, there were not a lot of mosquitoes and other flying insects, and not nearly as many spider webs as there are some years, but I did run into a few. Spiders and their webs have always intrigued me, and as a child I would spend hours watching them, as I threw unfortunate ants onto their webs. Yesterday I was more kind and tossed some plant seeds but it sure fooled this orb spider, who thought it was a meal.  spiders-8

I also saw a few of these spiders, daddy long legs, we called them, on my hike. Here is a link to some more photographs of the spiders I encountered on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/Spiders-macro-walk-September-10-2016-spiders-15

There are not many flowers in bloom now, but the ones that are, including this late blooming thistle, still attract bees and other insects. macro-walk-8

I also saw quite a few toads on my hike. I have seen many of this species  of toads before. macro-walk-14

But I have never seen one of these fellows, who was smaller and had a more reddish color. They sure can jump faster than their larger cousins. This one was actually about one third of the size of the one above. macro-walk-18

I found very few mushrooms growing yesterday, it is just too dry this year. macro-walk-16

But, I did spot this unusual creature sitting atop a log. At first I thought it was a leaf but, after taking a closer look, I noticed it moved! I had no idea what  it was at first but, after watching it for awhile, I decided it had to be some type of caterpillar. monkey-slug-caterpillar-3

I  learned, when I got home that it is a monkey slug caterpillar, and develops into a hag moth. I have never seen one before. Here is a link to a youtube video I uploaded of this  strange creature https://youtu.be/vaAz128JmFgmonkey-slug-caterpillar-4

After spending some time watching the exotic caterpillar I headed back to my car. I didn’t find any edible mushrooms yesterday, but I was, once again, happy to enjoy some of the many wonders of nature found in the  woodlands of Northeastern pennsylvania, including one I never saw before. Well, it’s  time to take another hike today, and, hopefully, I will find something new again. But, even if I don’t I  will be happy seeing  some of the  ‘old’ and familiar  critters, plants and mushrooms I have come to know and love. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike yesterday. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/macro-hike-September-10-2016-macro-walk-24

 

 

“Nature is my manifestation of God.
I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work.”
Frank Lloyd Wrightmuchroom hike -26

 

 

 

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Up Close And Far Away: Macro And The Moon. Both Perspectives Are Beautiful In Their Own Way.

I have still been busy at the office, and it has still been hot here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so I haven’t been on any long hikes or adventures, but still a lot to see, even near  your own backyard. macro -28

I walked about a block from my house yesterday with my macro lens and was, again, amazed at the variety of insect life I was able to find. macro -25

There are not a lot of flowers in bloom this time of year, but the bees, wasps, flies and other insects sure found they ones that are blooming. I found hundreds of insects visiting a patch of mint flowers. macro -15

It seems every time I walk with my camera and macro lens I find a new insect I have never seen before. yesterday it was this unusual fly. Here is a link to some more photographs of the insects I saw near my house. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/Macro-insects-August-18-2016-macro -27

It was a cloudy evening, and the clouds prevented me from watching the full moon rise, but I set my alarm , and awoke in the middle of the night and was treated to a cloud shrouded moon while I was serenaded by a chorus of katydids and crickets. full moon -6

It was a magical evening. Here is a link to some more photographs of the full moon. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/Full-Moon-August-19-2016-full moon -12

It was cloudy and a bit cooler this morning, but the sun broke through the clouds and it got hot. I decided to leave the office a bit early and headed to the PPL Riverlands with my macro lens. macro-1

Once again I enjoyed the complexity and beauty of nature up close. It is an entirely new world.Here is a link to some more potogrpahs from my walk.  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/PPL-Riverlands-macro-walk-August-19-2016macro-17

Here, like my yard, I found only a few flowers in bloom, but the one that were, attracted moths, butterflies and insects.macro-18

There are now more berries and seeds being produced by the many plants that bloomed earlier in the summer and in spring. macro-14

And,of course the ponds, canals and lake were active with the darting and hovering of the many species of dragonflies.macro-34

I could spend hours, probably days, watching and photographing these beautiful creatures. macro-30

They have been flying through the atmosphere of our planet before the dinosaurs walked the Earth. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies, which also can be found in my photograph albums page of my blog. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/Dragonflies-PPL-Riverlands-August-19-2016-macro-36

Even though the summer heat has caused the birds, amphibians, reptiles  and mammals to become quiet and inactive there is still plenty of beauty in the warm days of summer if you look up or down and keep your eyes peeled. macro-22

 

I am the dragonfly rising on the wings of unlocked dreams on the verge of magical things.” – Aimee Stewartmacro-35

 

 

 

 

 

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The Insects Don’t Seem To Mind The Heat

It was another hazy, hot and humid day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania yesterday. Temperatures again hovered in the mid 90’s. I decided to stay close to home, and took a few shorter hikes in the heat, the first at the local Rails to Trails, with my macro lens. Insects -15

There are not many flowers in bloom now, but the many species of insects sure were able to find those that were.  It was amazing to see the many types of insects attracted to the queen anne’s lace growing along the trail.Insects -23

The most common now were the many types of grasshoppers. They seemed to be everywhere. Insects -5

The beautiful thistles are also blooming now. And they too attracted many insects, including these beautiful moths. Insects -42

It is amazing how many different types of bees and wasps there are in our area. I tried to photograph a very small, thin and unusual wasp but they would flee at the slightest move. Insects -11

And I came across these unusual insect, it seems to be some type of mantis with those large  pincers .  Here is a link to some more of the photographs from my morning hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/Insects-macro-August-13-2016-Insects -31

I walked for about an hour in the heat, returned home for some water and a break, and then decided to take another hike out to one of our many local parks and lakes, this one only a few mile from my home, Lake Irena at the Community Park in Hazle Township. Insects  community Park -1

It was now midday and the heat was intense but there were still a lot of folks enjoying the shade of the old oak trees and having a picnic or just getting out of the sun. The insect, however didn’t mind the heat or sun. Insects  community Park -9

I first walked along the shore  of the lake, and found plenty of dragonflies darting about. I didn’t want  to stand in the hot sun to try and get close ups, that will wait for some cooler weather. Insects  community Park -15

Again I saw a lot of grasshoppers jumping about and this poor fellow who jumped into the lake. He was really struggling and seemed to look at me for help, well probably not, but I helped him get out of the water anyway. Insects  community Park -11

And this strange insect flew into the frame of my glasses and didn’t want to leave. Insects  community Park -8

I left the lake, to get out of the intense heat and sun, and walked along a path under some ancient oak trees. The shade was refreshing, and  the many mushrooms I found growing there, also seemed to appreciate it. Insects  community Park -2

The heat was exhausting so I left the park. I really enjoyed having an up close look at nature and the world of the insects and may do it again today. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk at Community park. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/-Community-Park-macro-August-13-2016-

Insects  community Park -3

“In summer the empire of insects spreads.”
― Adam ZagajewskiInsects -32

 

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Mid Summer At The PPL Wetlands.

It’s hard to believe Summer is at its midpoint. Seems like only yesterday the skunk cabbage were just pushing through the snow at the PPL Wetlands. It has been a few weeks since I have been down to the wetlands  and I decided to head there  yesterday  morning.PPL Wetlands -9

It rained in the morning and  was still a warm and overcast day when I arrived. I parked at the Riverlands part of the preserve, near Lake Took -A-While. The lake is  lined with fisherman in April, and usually there are always a number of fisherman along it’s shores even in Summer . Not  yesterday.  I asked the lone  fisherman how he was doing and he said not a bite, not in a couple of hours. He also said he was fishing in the lower, cooler waters and still no luck. PPL Wetlands -6

I think the  oppressive  summer heat we have been having  has affected much of the wildlife. There was not much wildlife to be found. The birds, so active in the Spring, were now mostly quiet. I saw only a few sparrows and robins. Even the insects were quiet and inactive. Although there were a lot of these unusual wasps that live in the ground. They are here every year and although they have nest all along the path seem to let us humans alone. PPL Wetlands -44

The plant life has also changed and gone are the many Spring and early Summer flowers. It is, I think the most flowerless time of the summer, although there were still a few in bloom, as well as the first flowering of the ragweed. PPL Wetlands -10

And there were still many of the delicate touch-me nots in bloom.PPL Wetlands -5

Many of the plant, including the ferns, mandrakes and skunk cabbages, which heralded the onset of the growing season, are now brown and shrivelled up now. They are replaced by the longer growing, seed producing plants growing along the lake and paths. PPL Wetlands -7

The appearance of the pokeweed berries always reminded me of the ending of Summer.PPL Wetlands -11

I walked past the lake and into the wetlands area and immediately noticed how deep green the canals and ponds have become from the thick growth of algae and duckweed. PPL Wetlands -33

Again there were few critters stirring although I did spook a green heron and a few mallard and wood ducks including this group.PPL Wetlands -30

The logs and banks  of the canals were once covered  with turtles , but the waters are now very warm and they don’t need to bask in the sun, which had now returned after the clouds cleared up,   to maintain their body temperature. Still I did find an occasional turtle, covered in duckweed, who preferred to sit on a log. PPL Wetlands -21

And I did see this frog enjoying the intense August sunshine, although putting itself at risk of becoming breakfast for a blue or green heron. PPL Wetlands -13

I was hoping to find some mushrooms. Although it has been hot, we have had some thunderstorms and thought the rain from the storms may have produced some mushrooms. I was disappointed to find only a few scattered species during my walk. PPL Wetlands -20

I did find this unusual fungus or mold growing on the ground. There are so many species of fungus and they are instrumental in contributing to the decaying and breaking down of all the organic matter produced by the trees and plants in the forest. PPL Wetlands -23

As the sun came out the number of dragonflies and damselflies increased, although still not as many as there were when I last visited. PPL Wetlands -43

I returned by walking along the river where I scared a large buck, or should we say we startled each other, as I came around a turn in the path. He was too quick for my camera but a beautiful animal he was. The shade of the trees along the river made for a nice spot for a rest and a bit of reflection. PPL Wetlands -40

It was not sunny and hot and so I made my way back to the car. I was a little disappointed, I was hoping to share some more interesting photographs of some wildlife, but it was still a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. I am hoping to be more lucky on my hike today. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike yesterday http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/PPL-Wetlands-August-6-2016-PPL Wetlands -15

 

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John LubbockPPL Wetlands -24

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Some Hikes With My Macro Lens: An Insects View Of Summer

It was a beautiful Fourth of July weekend here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, cooler and less humid, with a refreshing breeze and plenty of sunshine.  Perfect for the picnics and fireworks.  Also great weather for hiking and checking the wild mushrooms and blueberries or, as we call them ‘huckleberries”. macro dragonfly-27

I decided to take my  macro lens on my hikes, hoping to find some insects and dragonflies, during my search for the berries and mushrooms. .  I think the cool Spring hurt the low bush blueberry crop. There were not too many to be found.  The high bush blueberries or ‘swampers’ were plentiful and  were just beginning to ripen. They should be abundant  in a few weeks.macro dragonfly-5

The ‘swamper’ blueberries get there  name since they grow in or near water and where there is water, there are insects, especially dragonflies. They are now darting just about everywhere there is even the smallest pond or  swamp. macro -18

I love watching these  most ancient  insects. They  predated the dinosaurs.  They are very territorial and are constantly chasing other dragonflies, and even humans, from their territory. macro dragonfly-30

There were many other insects visiting the flowering thistle, milkweed and other wildflowers. Some were as common as the wasps, yellow jackets and bees. macro -3

Others were far more exotic ones I have never seen before, like this beatle. . macro -28

it is amazing the variety of life that exit in our area which we never notice unless we take the time to look. macro -12

And when you find insects there are spider like this one that I lured out on it’s web by dropping some bits of leaf. macro -12

On one of my hikes I heard the shrill cry of a kill deer. It’s amazing how the blend into the background. Try and find it in this photograph . It isn’t easy. macro dragonfly-7

These birds often lay their eggs in the open ground and when you near their nest the pretend to have a broken wing and try to lead you away from the nest. This one, thinking I was a predator, pulled this deception on me. Here is a link to a you tube video. https://youtu.be/ZuxSyc5z1Vs  Her nest must have been in the area I was walking so, after taking the video, I left her alone. Here is a link to some more photographs of the killdeer. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/kill-deer-july-2-2016-1macro dragonfly-12

We had some rain last week and I was hoping to find some of the early miler mushrooms. No luck but I did find a number of different species starting to pop up. Hopefully, with the rain we are expecting tonight there will be a lot more growing, including some of the edible species I pick. Here is a link to some more of the mushrooms I found on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/macro-hikes-mushroom-july-2-2016macro -3

Besides the blueberries I also saw some other plants setting fruit which we will enjoy over the next few months, such as these blackberries .macro -15

And these grapes.  Here is a link to some more of the plants and young fruits i saw on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/macro-hike-plants-and-fruits-june-30-july-4-2016macro -14

On one of my walks, I came upon some tiny newly hatched fish darting about. I never seen  them this small beforemacro -34

And, unfortunately, I also encountered way too many of these pest. I must have pulled five ticks off me on my hikes. But they must have a purpose too. macro -32

And as beautiful as the world looked up close on my hikes, the scenery of the July woods on these clear and cool days was just as spectacular.  There is just so much to see and do  this time of year. I love  the Summer.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/macro-walks-insects-june-30-july-4-2016macro -7

 

~ The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE. – Ernst Haasmacro -31

 

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