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Archive for the ‘Misc. Nature’ Category

Refreshing Weather

 

We have had some very hot temperatures as of late and no rain! My wildflowers have dried up and the grass has a gray-green look from lack of moisture. This morning, however, was a  refreshing reminder of what the fall season should feel like. Comfortable! With that in mind I headed early to the woods to see what I could see and, especially, find some Sheepshead Mushrooms.  Another common name is “Hen Of The Woods” since someone believed this mushroom resembles a hen on her nest.

Future meals

The few hours I was out found some disappointment when I could only find one sheepshead. I began wondering if the weather has played a role on their production this year. Maybe, with some rain they will grow profusely. I have found them even into November so I am still hopeful. I harvested the one ‘room I discovered and later cut it up and washed the bugs out of the hidden crevices.

Dogwood berries

  I saw a lot of squirrels this day, both in the woods and roads. I can say the same for deer and turkeys. I saw approximately 12 deer. Three were identified as buck, but none appeared legal for the hunting seasons. Only one presented any good photo ops.

Allegheny River

Turkeys were the same. I saw two flocks. One was in a field behind some houses as I was driving home. The other flock yielded about 18-22 birds. A humorous event occurred with two of the birds. The two young turkeys were on a dead limb. I managed two photos when the limb snapped. The birds fell a foot or so before remembering they had wings and soared off.

I have fished a couple of morning before the heat became intense. I fished a game land pond where I caught a Carp and Bullhead Catfish. the river yielded a Smallmouth Bass. A second fish pulled hard and I set the hook. I felt weight and then the line was broken or cut. the fish felt big!

This guy thinks he is a fisherman!

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   I was asked to join some friends for an afternoon on the Allegheny River. Ted Duncan is a recent acquaintance. We met with our mutual enjoyment to play  music. Ted is a bass guitarist. We hit it off immediately. He, also, owns a pontoon boat. Words had been expressed a couple of times to get together and do a boat ride.

Judge J. Frank Graff Bridge

The original plan was to go on Lake Arthur, but appointment issues with my wife, Laurie forced a decision to attend some boating on the beautiful Allegheny River at Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Mutual friends, Dick and Danna Vernon were, also, on the ride. We had a lot of laughs and great conversation. Don Gaiser and his lady-friend were present, as well.

The September 22 weather was very warm and bright this day. Of course, boating in such weather is a good thing!                                   

The trip went south on the river and way up the lower Crooked Creek watershed beginning at Rosston, Pennsylvania. Afterwards we all went farther south on the river to Lock Number 6 before turning back north.

Wildlife spotted included Canada Geese Soft-shelled Turtles, Great Blue Herons plus a couple of Red-Tailed Hawks.

Thank you Ted!

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Jellyfish

The Jellyfish fascinated me at the zoo.  I took some photos. One is in black and white.  

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Saturday morning, September 16, expressed a desire to have my presence to walk under foggy skies. I ask you; How could I say no! I traveled to a state game lands to do the deed. Besides Ruger needed time afield, too.

At the time of arrival a deep fog engulfed much of the woodlands. the cool temperatures felt good on my aged, old, failing body. I enjoyed the elements as photo taking opportunities began showing themselves.                                                                                   *************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

  This morning, September 18th, proved to be another heavy fog. I traveled to Crooked Creek Park to search out Eagles and Ospreys. I saw various deer while in route to the park. I  didn’t dare stop for any of these because of the fog.

  I parked at the top of the hill and walked several trails and eventually worked down to the beach area. I did see one Bald Eagle and had several Osprey sightings.I saw Ospreys diving after fish, but I wasn’t close enough for any photos.  I managed two quick photos of another Osprey flying through, but they weren’t of the quality I desired.      

I saw additional deer while walking. A big flock of Canada Geese swept from the sky to land of the lake. Lots of squirrel and chipmunk activity was witnessed as the busy little rodents searched out nuts and acorns. I saw several groundhogs out and about as well.  I saw a lot od Mourning Doves and Killdeers. It was a good day for wildlife.

Killdeer tracks

 

Canada Geese

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Todd Nature Reserve

Recently, I had to be at Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania by 7:00 A.M. I decided to make a morning of this travel and hike afterwards  at the Todd Nature Reserve, formerly Todd Sanctuary. This wooded area complete with a rocky stream and a pond is located near Sarver, Pennsylvania. The trail features diversified woodlots. hemlock areas along the stream, big timber and forested areas obviously pasture lands in the far-off past. Some sizable rocks are scattered in some areas of the reserve.                                                                                      

The pond was filled with tadpoles. Two Green Herons were making some feasts on the tadpoles. A hen Wood Duck remained perched on some limbs emerging from the middle of the pond. She never left despite my presence. Bullfrogs serenaded me, or , at least, I think they were singing to me.

I saw a doe, turkeys in a field and a lot of chipmunks and squirrels.

The reserve has approximately five miles of trails traveling through the diversity.

  The Todd Sanctuary was from a man named W.E. Clyde Todd who passed away in 1969. Additional acreage has been obtained through the Audubon Society. There are 334 acres of land within the reserve. The web site is: http://www.aswp.org if interested in reading more on this area.

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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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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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