Archive for the ‘Butterflies and Insects’ Category


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


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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Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

As August creeps along the wildflowers will, soon, be winding down their annual cycle, once again. As I was walking along today, I was thinking as to how the blooming is timed so precise.  I would imagine the blooming would fall within a two weeks margin every year.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow


Bumblebee on Swamp Smartweed

Bumblebee on Swamp Smartweed





"Skippers" on Purple Loosestrife

“Skippers” on Purple Loosestrife

Today, I walked along the Allegheny River seeking flowers, and anything else worth photographing. I wasn’t disappointed. The one specie I purposely ventured out in the heat for was the Cardinal Flower. This flower’s scarlet color is about a deep a red one can find. Today, reached 90 degrees. However, the river provided a course for a breeze, albeit a warm breeze.

DSC_0015 DSC_0003 Butterflies were very abundant this day. they darted about everywhere the flowers were blooming. Interestingly, there were a number of Longnose Gars in the shallows. I guess I could safely say I saw, at least, ten of the needle-teethed fish enjoying the sun. Getting photos wasn’t easy due to the breeze stirring up the surface water.


Longnose gars

Longnose gars

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DSC_0019   I had planned to go fishing, but sinus pressure was a little burdensome early in the morning. However, as the morning moved along I decided to take a woodland hike at a local state game lands.                                                                    DSC_0028

I listened to some friend’s CD we all created as I traveled to the parking area. The music had me keeping time with my fingers on the steering wheel!




The wildflowers are over abundant along the trails. The most common flowers are the ironweed;  the, up to eight feet high, Joe-pye; Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot); Boneset; Jewelweed and many others. My dad told me of his family making Boneset tea years ago.


The butterflies and bumble bees were common any place the flowers were exhibiting their beauty. Unfortunately, honey bees are scarce everywhere!




Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain

I visited a pond where I saw about six carp digging up the shallows. Maybe, I should have gone fishing!

At one area, I found some turkey sign. Some soft stool from a turkey was attracting about a dozen flies. A white-faced hornet kept busy trying to catch one. He failed in all attempts while I watched. I remember, as a kid, how I was intrigued watching hornets catching flies around my granddad’s farm. It doesn’t take much to thrill me!

DSC_0041  On milkweed I noticed a colored beetle. Unfortunately, my aging brain can not remember the specie, but I remember, again as a kid, seeing many of these behind the house. I thought how beautiful the beetle was then and I still do now. (Looked up the beetle: It is the Dogbane Leaf beetle.)

Great Blue Lobelia

Great Blue Lobelia

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    I have had a week with many aspects of it better off forgotten. However, I have some positives as well

My last entry, I wrote of, my upcoming trip to Old Bedford Village. The prints, of “The Wheatfield-Whirlpool of Death” were later being completed than we had expected. I rushed to sign and prepare packaging. These prints and the original were scheduled to be with Civil War historians and reenactors at the village. Plans were soon  changed!

I was approximately 15-17 miles away from Bedford when I stopped to enter the woodland area for a “nature call.” Upon returning to the car nothing happened. After some thoughts and time the car started , but, with flashing lights and a loss of power. I exited Exit 10 towards a small community . I stopped and the car wouldn’t start. I flagged down a state trooper and was given contacts. To be brief, the auto man couldn’t find out what was wrong. After discussions of options I elected to have the car hauled to the dealership near my home of Kittanning, PA.  The main computer modem had failed. Insurance only covered a third of these costs.                                




  Today, after a tooth was repaired, I walked about my park-like yard examining the wildlife; flowers and insects. Late August and early September see the final flowering of many specie. My yard is no exception. One flower of interest is called the “Turtlehead”. The flower actually appears to be an unopened bud.

The “jack-in-the-pulpit” of spring is now yielding its bright scarlet berries. They are quite attractive.   

"Pulpit" seeds

“Boneset” is a white cluster flower that my dad told me was used as a tea for a number of ailments in our histories past. I have never tried making a tea. As I age I might need some of that tonic!


   The “jewelweed” is in bloom now. I have the common orange and brown specie with a few yellow and white varieties along my stream. The hummingbirds enjoy these flowers. As a child, I would touch the ripened seed-producing pods to watch them explode their contents for next year’s plants. It didn’t take much to entertain a country boy! Some use the plant to soothe poison-ivy.

I planted a winterberry shrub some time ago. I like the deep red berries that hang on well-into the snow season. This allows for a nice contrast against the dreary grays or whites of late fall and winter.

Monarch caterpillar

  I planted milkweed plants years ago too for the monarch butterflies to eat. This year is no exception for I have the colored-striped caterpillars eating the leaves. They will eventually be those bright orange and black butterflies.

Let us hope a better week is in store!    


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     I had a couple of errands to do and Laurie and I decided to go for a walk along the Allegheny River at the park in Kittanning. The morning hours were beginning to become rather warm as we walked north and south on the river banks or in the park. Few people were involved at any park activities.    

I carried my trusty camera along for I knew wildflowers and waterfowl would be present somewhere along the banks.  I wasn’t disappointed as a lot of colors were to be observed.

    We, also, saw some mallards and mergansers on the water. We saw some chipmunks, one of which was at the amphitheater and hadn’t a quick place to dart into to. He ran the total length to escape.

We chatted with some friends and strangers before heading home.

Male mergansers


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Sexton Beetle (Carrion)

  Yesterday I found a tick in the early stage of feeding on me. I eliminated her in a bad way. This brings me joy! This morning I have a welt with a dark center. I will need to monitor this bite for a while. I certainly do not like the idea of Lyme’s Disease.

Strangely enough I have seen ticks far worse than I have this spring. I have quit counting as I approached thirty ticks crawling over my clothes and hands. I eliminate them all!

Bob removed one from his arm prior to the spring gobbler season. He still has a mark too.


Gobbler sign

   The gobbler wasn’t where I had hoped this morning. In fact, he was across a township road. I headed in his direction, but discovered he was located within posted property. I tried to lure him the 300 yard expense of woodlands to no avail. he headed up and over the hill. I relocated in the area later in the day hoping he would begin calling on his own.

           I did have the opportunity to observe four deer at close range. They were feeding on leaves. One doe lovingly licked the back of one of fawns from last year. My cousin, Donnie told me he found a new-born fawn today. I saw a hen, several squirrels and a grouse today. I, also, saw a red fox puppy!

I searched for some morels for mom while waiting for a turkey to gobble. I ate some of my stash once I returned home. Yummy! 

Rattlesnake Weed


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Foggy sun

I left the house early while the fog was heavy along the Allegheny River and intersecting hollows. The air was clean and cool and I determined a few hours would be just what I needed to allow the stress to escape into the atmosphere.               

The climb through the hemlock rich northern slope was beautiful with fog and hints of light filtering through the canopy. I anxiously  continued on pondering what critters I may encounter. The morn was a success as far as I was concerned. Any day afield is a day of joy. It wasn’t long when I rounded a bend and spotted a doe with her two fawns feeding along. Unfortunately, she spotted me fumbling with my camera and sounded the alarm. I had eight deer sightings by the time my three-hour hike was completed.

While searching for anything worth viewing, among berry-laden autumn -olive groves I heard the “honking” of geese. I prepared the camera, but the V-shaped flock rapidly flew across just above the tree-tops. Their speed and the uncertainty, as to where, they would show failed me a photo.

Thousands upon thousands of dew-rich spider webs covered every step I took. My father would comment  on the various colored spiders as we walked in years past. When I was 4 or 5 I walked behind the house and gazed at my small torso and a huge garden spider that was twenty inches in size was walking on me! I quickly brushed it off and ran screaming to the house. Today, I do not kill spiders around the house. ( I remove them from within the house whenever possible.) I understand their good qualities of “bug” control. However, I do respect them because of my youthful experience. 

The webs sparkled with prism-like rainbows as the sun gradually burned off the dew. These creatures are surely amazing.

Eventually, I approached some corn fields. Wow, lots of damage from bear. I imagined a sow and cubs romping around playing and eating on the corn. They can do much damage!   

bear damage

I noticed plenty of various fungi throughout the woods. I watched for “sheephead” mushrooms, but, I didn’t see any. The hike ended after 10:00 with chores and art to work on. (By the way, that twenty inch spider was less than two inches across. It seemed that big to a small boy.)

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