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Archive for June, 2017

 

Bull Thistle

Tuesday, June 27, I spent some quality time fishing on the Allegheny River. I was limited with bait , but I had some great fishing experiences.    throughout the early morning on this cool and breezy day I hauled in three nice Smallmouth Bass; five Walleyes and a Rock bass. I missed several other hits. I watched a Great Blue heron fishing along the shore. The bird was very successful!

 

Bear Tracks

This morning I was off again to hike in the State Game Lands 137. My goals were to see bear if possible.

 

Native Rhododendron

 

Owl Feather

I began my trek prior to six in the morning enjoying the forty degree temperatures and the lack of pestering insects. I slowly    walked along looking for photo opportunities and wildlife.  I saw one doe, but she watched me intently. I imagine she had fawn)s) behind her, but she wasn’t taking any chances and she turned into the dense foliage.

Summer wildflowers were everywhere as I searched for critters. I saw some various warblers including the Hooded warbler.

Dew on grasses

Later as I walked a grassy area I bumped a hen from a tree only to walk upon another hen just ahead. I glanced around for poults, but failed to see any, but I feel confident some were nearby. I didn’t see any bear, but I found old tracks in the dried mud.

 

Butterfly Flower

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Black-eyed Susan

(Monday, June 26) How could I not hike on such a beautiful and cool morning? The morning was actually “fall-like” and I

Crane Fly

wanted to see what I could observe on such a fine day. I decided to travel over a few Cherry Run hills and hollows. Bear mating season is underway and I always search out opportunities to see those black beauties.                                                                   

I ascended a hill before leveling off across some woodland edges. I really enjoyed the coolness and peacefulness I was experiencing. Throughout the morning I would see twelve deer. Unfortunately, photo opportunities were few due to vegetation, distances and not seeing open views. Interestingly, I didn’t see any fawns this morning, but I am sure some were close by!

Daylily

 

Deptford Pink

I descended a slope onto an old timbering, but grass covered road. Suddenly, an explosion of fury erupted directly in front of me. A  hen turkey took to the air followed by miniatures. Yes, a number of turkey poults flew into the air in varying directions landing in trees. I estimated, due to their size, the poults to be about three weeks old. Wild turkey poults can fly short distances at around two weeks of age. I thought of setting down and calling them all back, but elected to continue on with the hike.

Milkweed Beetle

Moth Mullein

I circled the side of the hill unto a recently reclaimed strip job. I was struck in awe at the distances I could see. I sat down on some bare  ground to look about the distant hills. memories of my past could be viewed everywhere I looked. I started to visualize the turkeys and deer I had tagged as I looked those distances.  Lots of memories! I had bagged a gobbler on the one point just this past spring.              

I could see very far and I noticed a deer running across a field. I wondered what had made that deer run. Was the deer being attacked by horse flies?  IK could see a family of Canada Geese exiting a pond into the same field. Remember this distance is close to a half a mile! I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I was over a mile away from the jeep and time never stops for long.

Wildflowers, of course , are blooming everywhere. I took many a photo of them as I walked about the landscape. I am weird like that!

 

 

 

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Indian Pipe

The weather was markedly less humid and cooler than recent days. I gathered up my gear and headed to State game Lands 105 in

Fritillary

northern Armstrong County. This is property maintained by the Pennsylvania game Commission.

I am always hopeful of seeing bear, but I failed to see anything resembling a bear on this jaunt. I had two exceptions. I walked into two separate baby Porcupines. Maybe with a good imagination one could see a slight resemblance to a bear…maybe??? They have black hair on their bodies don’t they?                                                                       

The first Porcupine I walked on was a small little feller. I would have liked to have held and petted this critter, but my smarts told me otherwise.  I was within a couple of feet of this little guy and he instinctively would turn his backside towards me. This is a defensive posture. I walked on through the woods and heard and saw another young Porcupine. This one was slightly larger than the earlier one. This Porky, also, had more white coloring on the body. This one didn’t stay put and began climbing a tree for safety!  

I saw five different bucks on this hike. two sported sizable racks and with a couple of months of growth yet to happen. I saw a few doe as well. I impinge fawns were nearby, but dense grasses and such would not allow any sightings of those little ones. I saw three young gobblers moving across a clearing.

Plenty of butterflies were dancing through the air waves. I managed a few photos of them.

 

Tiger Swallowtail

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Crooked Creek

As a young fellow Crooked Creek flowed orange in color from past mining operations. Efforts were     completed and the waters normalized into a beautiful waterways moving towards the Allegheny River at Rosston, Pennsylvania. I remember seeing a greenish water in years past, however all the rocks and such were still orange. I, also, remember with these conditions showing my cousin a small group of baby Bullhead Catfish circling around the shoreline water. I said, at the time, this creek is becoming clean. And how the waters became clean! Time wasn’t long once the greens and blues became dominant and the orange acid left. the fisheries filled the waters rapid, too. Today many species of fish inhabit Crooked Creek.

I enjoy walking along the creek when I have a chance and I enjoy casting a line, too. This day, June 13th, was such a day. I fished some and I walked some.                                                                                                           

I caught a lot of Bluegills, a Hickory Sucker and a few Smallmouth Bass. Mostly I walked and took photos as a remembrance.

 

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Great Blue Heron track

 

 

My dad and I would go to this area and gather “crabs” to go bass fishing. Of course those crabs are actually crawfish, but we  always called them crabs. Gathering these critters was as much a sport as bass fishing to us.

I only saw one Great Blue Heron on this excursion, but I saw several doe and four fawns while traveling to fish and walk.

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Carp Fishing!

  I went fishing especially for Carp. After loosing three riggings in six casts while fishing the Allegheny River  I made a decision to go for Carp in a pond. The choice was a good one for me.

I stopped at the house to exchange gear. I elected to fish with a fly rod.

The walk to this particular pond is approximately a mile through fields and forests so I actually gained some hiking time, as well. As the walk progressed I noticed something unusual. I thought I was looking at a piece of rubber or something. The object just was out of place. Suddenly, I realized what I was seeing. I was seeing a Snapping Turtle. The turtle’s shell was covered with mud thus it looked very smooth until I came closer to the image and saw other details.

The approach to the pond detailed some wildlife immediately. A Great Blue Heron was standing breast-deep in the water searching for something to eat. I managed several photos. A Wood Duck escaped my presence, as well. Carp were  everywhere surfacing and splashing.

Snapping Turtle

The pond’s surface was inundated with much moss. This surprised me since we seemed to have a lot of rain. The surface looked more like it was from the August dog-days. This made fishing difficult, but the edge of the water was open along the shore.

I fished  for a time hooking two Carp. The second one really gave me a fight on the fly rod tackle.

Other sightings of the day were a doe and her fawn and three separate hen Turkeys. Two of the hens had obvious poults and the third acted as if poults were in the area. The little ones were only a day or two since hatching.

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  A secondary place I had planned on visiting on my day trip was the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Fish Hatchery at  Tionesta. This hatchery is along the Allegheny River. I had not been at this hatchery in many, many years. We had stopped, as a family, while traveling to Kinzua Dam to see it and fish. I was a little fellow at the time. I remember seeing aquariums at the hatchery with live fish. I wanted to test my memory and reminisce.

Wild Columbine

The hatchery began operations in 1928. This day employees were working with Walleye and Muskellunge fry. Fingerling Tiger Muskies were, also, available for a future stocking. The workers were very kind and shared information on the process with me. Those little inch and a half Muskie fry will be ready to stock in October as fish around 7-9 inches, possibly more. That is a rapid growth.

 

Allegheny River at Tionesta

I walked down to the Allegheny River and enjoyed memories of fishing here those many years ago. Mergansers were in the area enjoying the sun.

Mergansers

I spotted some Red-spotted Newts in the still water areas. I had seen my first newt of my young life at this very place. I am weird like that for I remember being excited over seeing an amphibian.

 

Callen Run

I traveled cross country towards Belltown. I was heading to the Heath Pump Station Hatchery. This small-scale hatchery is run by the local sportsman’s club. Callen Run is on site. Years ago, my brother-in-law, Bob Hudson and I would always make a trip to see and sometimes fish for the trout. Bob would be killed in a work-related accident in 1988. I had not been there since prior to his passing. Many memories surfaced.

 

A live Muskie…Frankie’s Pal!

I walked along the Clarion River while visiting the hatchery.

 

Ready to bloom!

Pennsylvania’s state flower is the Mountain Laurel. Although some were in full bloom, another week from now would be been

Mountain Laurel

better. These flowers should be about in full array in another week.

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Ostrich Fern

I remember hearing of Buzzard Swamp in my teen years. The words I had heard were from grizzled old hunters stating of people becoming lost in the area in times past. Now I can see why. The area minus the trails and man-made ponds loos the same in all directions. the land is primarily flat.

Beaver Dam

 

This morning I left the house about 4:30 A.M. for the trip north to Buzzard Swamp. This land has been managed for wildlife through efforts of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the United States Forest Service. The location of the site is near Lolita, Pennsylvania and south of Marienville.

   I arrived on site around six in the morning to a balmy thirty-eight degrees. I shuffled around getting my gear organized when I  remembered to turn my cell phone on. I was immediately warned of a message. I was stunned with the words from my friend, Galen Braddy from North Carolina. The message was a mutual friend Ken Crummett of West Virginia being in the hospital. Ken had had a stroke. As I type this entry I am awaiting details and further word of Ken. A few weeks ago I spent time with Galen, Ken, and Kip Feroce during the first week of gobbler season. ken and Galen both bagged gobblers locally. The news sure dampened the hiking mood for me, but I tried to make the best of the situation managing to spend some time walking around a wildlife propagation area and beyond.

 

Tree Swallow

Deer were everywhere! I have no idea just how many deer I had seen here on site and while traveling. I was blessed to see three  fawns, too.                                                                                    

Like deer, Canada Geese were very abundant. I could see a lot of goslings about, as well. I witnessed some Mallards and Wood Ducks, and later, I saw some Mergansers. I saw some gobblers and hens at various locations, too. A lot of birdlife used the area. Swallows, Bobolinks, robins, warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds…  Next entry will include some places I visited. The areas were sites that were important to me in years past or have special memories.                                                                          

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