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Archive for April, 2016

Spring Wildflowers

 

White Trillium

White Trillium

It is that time of the year when the woodlands are renewing with the

Purple Trillium

Purple Trillium

beauty of wildflowers.

Trout Lily

Trout Lily

I have seen the sides of a woodland hill white, as in a field of white, with thousands of white trilliums. This is a sight to behold. The purple trillium, or the Wake Robin, is much fewer in number.

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell

The Virginia Bluebells grow best near creeks, and water sources.  Harebell is a short wildflower fairly common in woodlands.

Harebell

Harebell

 

Forget-Me-Not

Forget-Me-Not

The Trout Lily, also known as the Dog-Tooth Lily is found in rich woodland settings.

Garlic Mustard is an invasive flower in Pennsylvania. The celandine is a naturalized flower. Of course the violets are very common.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

 

Violet

Violet

Celandine

Celandine

 

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Vultures!

DSC_0017 DSC_0021     I may be weird, but I have always been enthralled with the Turkey Vulture. (Also, known as the Turkey Buzzard.) I look forward with seeing the first one soar into Armstrong County, Pennsylvania each year. That date is around March 15th.

I enjoy the gracefulness of their flight. The bird opens their long wingspan allowing them to soar for a long periods of time in the thermal wind drifts. They are easy to identify. The vulture holds their wings in a shallow V-shape.

Sometime ago, I was exploring some rocky cliffs along Redbank Creek. I eased up and over some rocks peering eye to eye with a baby vulture with an irate parent missing my head by inches as the big bird exited past with the escape. Such a hissing sound from the young buzzard was experienced.

They are almost always misidentified as a hawk or eagle.   DSC_0020

The vulture usually migrates south around October 15th each year.

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Time Afield

DSC_0007 Monday, April 18th, found me walking the top of a hill listening for turkeys.

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

I heard two gobbling towards the point of the hill. The two birds at fly down moved farther away with an occasional gobble. I moved along with them just to see what would happen.                                            DSC_0022

DSC_0017 Suddenly, I realized after another pause in activity that the birds were closing in towards me. I heard hen chatter. At one time I believe the gobblers would be on my lap in moments. However, they began moving back up the hill. They entered a field on top where I had just walked across.  I eased up and saw both longbeards.     DSC_0002

DSC_0015   I maneuvered around to see a deer; rabbit, a Brown Thrasher, a pair of wood ducks on a pond, and squirrels.  Later, I heard a gobbler open up as I walked in his direction. he had clammed up for some reason. As I eased into the area he was gobbling from I saw the image of a large Fisher crossing ahead of me.

Dogwood

Dogwood

I tried calling for response. I called in a hen who was very vocal. A gobbler began gobbling again and was definitely coming towards me, and this hen. I saw him with four hens. One hen spotted me so I failed to get any quality photos.

This morning I was at a different place to listen. I heard five different gobblers. I saw a hen in the field. I saw a lot of deer this day. They sure were moving! I saw squirrels, one rabbit, and six mockingbirds.             DSC_0004

 

Toads!

Toads!

I fished in Crooked Creek for a time. All I caught were chubs. Toads were all about making their mating sounds. I could a lot of them along the shore along with strings of eggs.

Crooked Creek

Crooked Creek

 

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Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

Yes, spring is a glorious time to be in the woodlands, and fields.  I become struck in awe each spring as the new birth of nature becomes unraveled before my eyes!  I find nature amazing! Each year the cycle continues forth as naturally programed. I have kept records for years as to when the flowers bloom, migratory birds arrive, etc. The dates are always very close. variances may occur simply because I missed  being at the right place on any given day to see the arrival.

Wild Leek

Wild Leek

Friday, April 15th, I decided on a mid-morning jaunt just to see what I could see. The wild flowers are shooting forth in blossoms. I can’t help taking photos every year of God’s beauties! One area yields fields of our native, Wild Leek, often called Ramps.

 

Cut Leaf Toothwort

Cut Leaf Toothwort

I walked around a bend only to be met by a hen turkey. She wandered away, but not overly scared. I believe a nest was, probably, nearby. I walked along a field’s edge when suddenly three gobbler heads popped up in a slight terrain ravine. I watched as the trio exited the field towards the woodlands. later, I saw another gobbler walking about.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

DSC_0002  April 16th, found me walking a hillside in the pre-dawn minutes. My purpose was gobbler listening!  One of the first sounds I heard was the whistling wings of a Woodcock. I listened to the bird’s descent as well. The next sound is the “snipe” call as they set on the ground hoping to attract a female. I have enjoyed this spring scenario since my youth as my dad pointed this mating ritual out to me so many years ago.

I heard five different gobblers as I walked along. Later a couple of toms opened up on a flat . I moved in to listen. The big birds we not far at all, but multiflora rose leaf out prevented my seeing any turkey activity.

DSC_0001   As I listened a hen began clucking behind me as she worked along the hillside’s contour. A gobbler began gobbling. This bird gobbled occasionally as he went upslope towards the other two gobbling birds.  Things quieted down, as I theorized the hen with this gobbler reached the two birds above me. I imagined the gobblers strutting to impress her and each other. As I walked out the gobblers started talking again.

 

Swamp Milkweed (Last year)

Swamp Milkweed (Last year)

Later, I would see five longboards at another locale. No fishing foe me when there are turkeys to see, and hear!

DSC_0007  I saw ten deer, and two squirrels today, too                                 DSC_0009

 

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DSC_0043  Early Monday morning I was awakened by severe dizziness. Yes, the  vertigo was back after an absence since Christmas Day 2013. I have been doing therapy exercises, and was surprised to have two bouts along with the nausea, and exhaustion that accompanies this terrible condition. Monday was a wasted day. However, Tuesday, April 12th, found me feeling much better. A walk was needed for fresh air, and exercise.      DSC_0047

I left the house about 8:30 and began walking about just enjoying the cool, yet sunny morning. I was walking a right-a-way when I observed several gobblers about 250 yards away. One was strutting.

DSC_0050   I circled around and worked above where they were. I called and was immediately answered with a thunderous gobble. I move downhill and called again. Gil-obble-obble-obble! He was closing in fast!

In minutes I could see a gobbler approaching me. Shortly, I could see three more toms. A hen showed up, too. The other three gobblers didn’t allow for any photos. They stayed farther away and among some vegetation. The three were busy playing push and shove.

DSC_0044  I managed to take about six decent photos before DSC_0040the hen walked back with all four toms cold-trailing!

Later, at about 11:20 I heard another tom as I was returning to the jeep. I felt fairly well from my three hour excursion.                                                                      DSC_0048

 

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DSC_0030  I completed an entry here on March 4th with a title stating winter’s last hurrah! I guess winter didn’t read that entry for the last two days we have been seeing snow locally.  Approximately, two inches of snow fell overnight, and more is falling as I type this entry.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Regardless, of the complaints I hear the last two mornings afield were very beautiful. I appreciate being able to spend a few hour’s walking about and observing nature’s beauty.

DSC_0024

DSC_0013 This morning I was out, and about, rather early. I failed to hear any DSC_0011gobbling. However, as the day progressed I would see a number of turkeys. I saw some in the woods, and saw some in fields as I drove home.

DSC_0004Yesterday, April 8, I heard a gobbler and called the big boy in a strutting, drumming, and spitting. If the hunting season was in place I would have had a fine meal of gobbler burgers in line! Two hens followed him down the hill, too. I called these three birds a little later on, but I could not get any photos. The dense brush and snow-laden limbs obscured any possibilities of that.

DSC_0003 I saw four deer, and a gray squirrel, and two big fox squirrels.   DSC_0014

I took a number of photos of just the natural world on these excursions. Sometime in the future if I can not move about I will have these memory photos to rekindle my life as a woodland enthusiast.               DSC_0037

A few days ago, I took a walk near Adrian, Pennsylvania. I walked along a rural road and a railroad track. I saw a fox and discovered the den, as well. This day I would see some turkeys and two deer.

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