Spring is coming to an end here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In only a few day the sun will be at it’s farthest north and we have our longest day here in the Northern Hemisphere.
We had some summer like weather at the beginning of this past week and I had the chance to take a few walks with my camera and macro lens.
The warmer weather has brought out more insects but I am still disappointed in the number of bees, wasps and yellow jackets I have seen. To some folks this may be a good thing, but, for all of us, in the long run, it is not. I suspect the overuse of pesticides is the problem.
I was able to still find a lot of flies and other insects on my walks. I am always awed by how this common insects, considered pests, look so complex up close.
As do the commons weeds and leaves on the trees we walk by and take for granted.
I was hoping to see more dragonflies or a frog, turtle or snake but it was very hot early in the week and there was not a lot of activity in the heat. I did find evidence that there still are snakes when I found this snake skin shed by what I believe to be a black snake.
The intricate scales are amazing up close.
And, you do not have to walk far to find cool stuff in the natural world. As I returned from one of my walks I found this mass of ants in my front yard. Here is a link to a video I uploaded to my YouTube channel . https://youtu.be/hpWBv25hh6w And here is a link to some more photographs from my walk with me macro lens. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Macro-walks-June-12-2017
And as is often the case in June, I was awakened early on Tuesday morning, before 5 a.m., by the singing of the birds outside my window. I usually have a cup of coffee and walk through my neighborhood and cemetery to visit my dad. On Tuesday I decided to walk out the railroad tracks near my house to watch the sunrise.
I walked on what remains of the “black road” an old road that lead to the deep mines in the area. The area was later strip mined and we spent many days as children exploring those strip mines and slate and culm banks. The area has recently been reclaimed.
I walked to the railroad tracks and hiked up to what used to be a large slate bank the local called “flat top” and we named “killer” because of the difficulty we had climbing it for the first time. The waning moon was still visible in the west.
I enjoyed watching the sunrise over West Hazleton, only a few days from when it will reach it northernmost point on the horizon.
It has been a long time since I was on this ridge this early in the morning, possibly the last time was when I was in elementary school and I was happy to find a tract of old trees that were not destroyed in the reclamation project.
I walked a path I had walked so many times as a child, searching for mushrooms, fossils, crystals or just playing games with my friends and our favorite toy, our imagination. We were soldiers, cowboys, superheroes and astronauts in these woods. Many pleasant memories on this ridge.
I had to get to work or I could have walked, and reflected all day. I took a slow walk back home enjoying the singing of the birds,
and observing the spiderwebs covered in the dew
and so many other wonders of the early morning. One thing I learned, there are a lot of snail on the cattail fronds in the morning. Hundreds of them. Should I ever find myself on an episode of Naked and Afraid in Pennsylvania I know a good source of nourishment, escargot.
Of course there were a few red-winged blackbirds in the wetlands near the reclamation area, watching carefully for intruders into their nesting areas. They are very territorial and squawk persistently should you approach, here is a male I saw
and nearby was a female
When I arrived home I found a few deer in my yard enjoying the new day too. I truly enjoyed my early morning walk and hope to get out in the woods at dawn more often this Summer. It is a wonderful place to be. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Morning-sunrise-walk-June-15-2017-
“Dawn is ever the hope of men.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien