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Archive for the ‘Misc. Nature’ Category

Notice the deer in the background. I didn’t see the deer until after I took the photo.

Hedge Bindweed…a wild Morning Glory

Dew-covered Foxtail

A specie of Warbler that I haven’t identified.

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I believe this may be a species known as the Grasshopper Sparrow.

It doesn’t take long to see the natural world moving quickly towards the autumn season. As a wildflower enthusiast I have learned to tell seasons by the blooms of various species of wildflowers. The end of the season will be upon us before one knows it. Currently the Ironweed with the brilliant purples is in bloom as the Goldenrods are presently emerging into their bright yellow hues. The various Asters will be blooming soon.

Ironeed

Bull Thistle

I was about three feet before possibly stepping too close to this Bald-faced Hornet nest. It, probably, would not have gone well for me!

Not one hundred percent sure of this specie of Dragonfly, but it is a beaut!

I noticed this Black Snake emerging from my landscaping this afternoon. I ran for the camera. In the couple of minutes, it took to retrieve the camera the snake had ventured out onto the yard. I fell to my belly to snap photos. Most were blurred too much for the snake was moving as I tried to keep up.

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Beautiful Fog

Very early in my hike the fog was obvious. The thickest fog was east of my position in the direction of the Allegheny River. I began this trek following an old gas well road within the confines of a state game lands. I did not travel very fall when the road was very obscure and covered with chest high grasses and timothy plants. I went about a hundred yards and decided to reverse course and hike another area. The heavy dew on this vegetation felt like a cold glass of water being thrown upon my legs with each step…uncomfortable feeling at best. I found some turkey feathers while walking out and wondered what may have occurred at the site.

Turkey feathers

The change in a more north-easterly direction eventually placed me along the ridgeline of a very steep “river hill”. The thick fog was being permeated with the morning sunlight. My positioning was perfect, so beautiful was this site, I sat down to enjoy the view. I took a number of photographs from this ridge. This was one of those, “I hope this never ends” moments.

The time in position allowed for a “spiritual session.” My emotions were that intense and I was sure thankful to be a witness. Ther are many times in today’s world when such feelings are needed.

However, the fog began to dissipate, and I, reluctantly, elected to move on. I hiked around the area until the heat began to be felt. Along with the heat the insect life increased.

Throughout the morning I would see around eight deer and many squirrels.

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Land Stage of the Red-Spotted Newt.

For a handful of days my allergy issues have greatly subsided. I am hopeful that this annual problem may be moving on allowing for some peace. We will see!

Of course, with that issue lessening I hit the early morning for a walk, you know in the cool of the morn. I like to get out early for sometimes some fog allows for dramatic phots, plus the annoying insect life may be decreased for a time.

The enjoyable walk gave me opportunities to see some wildlife, as well. I saw some deer, a hen turkey, and rabbits. I heard gobbling on the top of the ridge and worked my way up. Here I would watch four gobblers and a doe together. Unfortunately, the birds never offered a good photo due to terrain, but what the heck… I was seeing gobblers.

Of course, I enjoy looking at the various vegetation as well as wildlife. Also, I look for photo opportunities of interest.

I liked the contrast of these spruce cones against the deepened colors of the background.

Mountain Laurel…Pennsylvania’s state flower.
Squirrel of some kind.

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I was out early to listen for gobbling activity. I wasn’t disappointed for I heard two. However, they were on the recently lost land. This lost land was due to a hunting lease which began last spring. Their gobbling was over by 6:25. Last spring, on the first morning, I called a longbeard and three jakes into the huntable land, but failed to get a shot due to underbrush and/or difficulty getting the longbearded bird away from the other three.

I walked about on the land I was planning to hunt and would see four gobblers and a hen.

Seeing this bedded doe was a reminder of fawning season.

I would see lots of squirrels while tramping around along with about six deer sightings including the bedded doe in the above photo. I would see a few more turkeys while traveling back roads while heading home.

I stopped and visited the landowner and later, her son. We have become good friends over the many years.

Where hickory nuts go to die.

A field of Leeks. (Ramps)

A hen turkey in the field.

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Laurie the tree hugger.

Laurie found out about this nature park and suggested we visit and hike the trails and explore. The park is called the Succop Nature Park and is located south of Butler, Pennsylvania.

We noticed a lot of children standing around in preparation for some guided tour. We had forgotten about this day being the annual Earth Day. We went in the opposite direction on a hike. We quickly learned of what lots of rain can do… create muddy areas. This fact would dampen the hiking for we continued but via different routes looking for dry trails.

The walking would bring us along two ponds. Here we would see bluegills, large koi fish, Wood Ducks and turtles. I saw some deer and squirrels, as well, but obviously not on the ponds…haha.

Lots of birch trees in the area.

The park, although small in acres, has a hundred-and seventy-year-old historic mansion on it. The site is used for events, such as weddings. The park is owned by the Audobon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Their web site is: http://www.aswp.org

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I have been out on hiking excursions as much as possible. I find with retirement I seem to have a lot going on. Here are some photos from these adventures.

Golden-crowned Kinglet.

These little birds can be difficult to catch in photos. they continually dart back and forth. Occasionally one gets the shot in the millisecond prior to the bird’s movement.

Turkey Vulture

Chestnut burr

Devil’s Walking Stick or Hercules Club

This tree has a covering of very sharp thorns covering the trunk thus the common names. If you ever reach for one without recognizing it be prepared for some intense pain. Birds love the purple autumn berries, as do the Black Bear.

Early spring greening!

This bottom photo requires some explanation. All the gray hues in the background is the water. This limb you are viewing is actually a refection on the water. The image is weird to observe until you know what had happened. The limb has broken off the main branch and is hanging over the water by a length of monofilament fishing line thus allowing for an eerie looking reflection.

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The morning was to be a nice one and I left early to try my hand with some trout fishing. (Later rain came but I had already quit fishing.) The stream was colored but not muddy and fast, but not overly rapid. Recent rains have been keeping the waters moving. The area I stopped initially showed much evidence of others at the stream’s edge. My attempts failed to catch any trout. Fishing pressure appeared hard everywhere I checked.

I moved to another area and found lots of evidence of fishing pressure including tents and such. I never had a hit in the two hours I fished so exploration was a must. I hadn’t traveled far when I saw a good on a small island rise up. Her nest was obvious, and I walked to the site for some photos. Ma and Pa Goose were very vocal about my presence. I continued upstream for a bit, and they believed their luring me away had been successful.

Although I failed to snag onto any trout, I definitely enjoyed my time out. I saw some deer, six turkeys and lots of squirrels.

Downed-lined Canada Goose nest.

Skunk Cabbage

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Upon wakening up on the morning of March 12 I quickly observed the snow-covered landscape. Yesterday, the temperatures reached into the fifty-degree range and this morning six to seven inches of snow could be viewed on the picnic table on the deck. Also, very windy gusts were the norm throughout the day. I would see many snow tornadoes throughout the walk.

i worked on a painting over the morning hours but felt the urge to dress accordingly and go for a walk. The urge overcame the warmth of the house and off I went for a trek.

White-throated Sparrow

The walk would prove to be productive one as far as seeing wildlife. I saw a flock of about seven gobblers scratching on a southern slope. I tried to get closer for some photos, but the birds would not have it. Later, I would see three “jakes” and take a few quick shots. These birds were not part od the gobbler flock.

In a secluded hollow seven or eight deer busted from the cover.

Water flowing under shallow ice.

I glanced up to see my first Turkey Vulture of the year. The bird circled me a few times hoping the old coot would drop. Finding food under snow isn’t easy for buzzards. Another bird observed was the male, Rufous-sided Towhee. He was thinking, no doubt, he should have stayed over a few nights farther south during the migration. I heard a few killdeers flying high. This specie has been around for a few weeks.

I would see many robins throughout the venture. The snow made searching for food on the ground difficulty. I dragged my foot along at times to open up the ground.

Hungry Robin

Typical of March were the quick changes in weather. One moment the sun would be shining with abundant blue skies and in seconds cloud cover would occur followed by brief snow squalls.

I was chilled at times. especially while in the windier areas, but overall, I was comfortable and enjoyed the time afield.

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Red Squirrel

Sycamore Tree

Deer feeding

Bobber in tree…last year?

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