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Archive for the ‘Misc. Nature’ Category

 

Barberry

 

After staying home and raking and mulching leaves yesterday, I hit the trail this morning to hunt bear. To be honest, I called this hunt an exploratory hunt for I was traveling into new territory. I have been in a few areas of this same large tract of land, but today’s venture was to be new.

 

Black-capped Chickadee

I followed the ridgelines around the hollows periodically checking my topography map. I wasn’t still hunting in the strictest sense of this style of hunting, for I was walking more than standing. However, I did set down for a few minutes to eat some walnuts and drink some juice. I discovered a tree that offered a unique seat. I enjoyed the brief set to rest and eat.

This day had some light rain intermingled with snow flurries. Strong winds could be felt as well due to the wind chill. Because of this I could move very

Porcupine gnawings

quietly. I edged along a rim to spot a deer about fifteen yards away. I immediately saw the “horns.” However, I quickly realized something was amiss. The antler on the buck’s right side was down over his jaw. Something had happened obviously. Did this antler deformity occur due an early growth injury? Was the base of the skull damaged due to buck fighting?

As I stopped in my tracks I slightly moved a limb and the deer heard it, but didn’t see me. We played a watch and wait scenario for about ten minutes before he moved enough to allow for a photo.

   I saw several squirrels and heard some swans and a Ring-necked Rooster. I saw a lot of chickadees and juncos feeding heavily in the brambles. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I didn’t see any bear on this jaunt. On the positive side I did learn a lot more about the lay of the land. Upon coming home I checked my trail cam. Bucks…I get buck photos of three different bucks almost every night. I small-racked buck enjoyed rubbing my tress last evening.

 

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Headin’ Home

As stated from the previous entry I hated to walk away from these backwaters of the George B. Stevenson Dam. I have always loved the area of the   Sinnemahoning. Many years ago my brother-in-law, Bob Hudson. and I and my dad and a couple of friends hunted bear in various hills and hollows.  (Bob died in a work-related accident in 1987.)  Upon his passing the desire to go there left my heart for a long time.

This morning had become quite beautiful. The sun was shining and the air calm. I enjoyed watching the frosty, foggy morning evolved into a blue sky kind of day.

Many varieties of birdlife were active this day.  Canada Geese, Mergansers and Mallards were common and busy. I was hoping, as stated, to see some Bald eagles and I wasn’t disappointed.

My schedule, way to soon, was to leave the area close to noon and head towards Medix Run. I wanted to do some hiking to finish off the day.

As I approached Medix Run I felt the need to drive up dent’s Run to follow through with memories from the past. I saw several deer along the way.

At Medix Run I crossed the bridge to park at the Quehanna Trail. I chose to hike a new area that would circle around what is known as the Haystack   Mountain. I would need to watch my time closely for darkness can overtake one quickly this time of the year. I would need to be at the jeep no later than four o’clock by my plans. I walked the trail and at a certain time head back to insure this arrival, I saw about seven deer on this hike.

I traveled state forest land roads to come out to a small rural community of Tyler. Now homeward bound.

 

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Immature eagle

 Yes, the night was long since the valleys darkened early and the fact I sleep on average six to six and a half hours a night.  I entered the tent at dusk and began to write down some thoughts and read. I discovered, as I always do when I read, that I was becoming tired. I dozed off only to wake up after eight o’clock.

I exited the tent and added more wood to the four hour fire. It wasn’t long the flames were rising high again.  I had some summer sausage and would enjoy a burnt one for a late supper. After I ate I entered the tent again to try for some sleep. I had two sleeping bags and extra clothing so I was quite warm in the cold temperatures.

The next time I woke up the side of the tent was lightened up. The moon had finally risen over the top of the mountain across the Sinnemahoning Creek. I went outside to see better. The woods was bright and the stars shined bright in the clear and crisp conditions. It was beautiful! The clouds within a few hours had dissipated. Frost was going to be the outcome.

I laid in the tent listening to the peacefulness. I could hear the fast moving waters of the creek and the cracking fire. At one point I heard a Barred Owl and not very far off. Towards morning I heard a Great-Horned Owl hooting up the valley.

Around four in the morning I woke up to an extremely dry throat and mouth and a thickening sensation . The cold weather must have activated my   sinus issues. I drank some carbonated pop to lesson this issue. Since I had been laying fairly prone, too. I went to sleep the in the jeep with a slight incline. Sleep didn’t come well for I was wide awake. Eventually, I began packing up my things. At 6:30 A.M. I actually began to walk to await the dawn. I would walk for a few hours along the bottomlands parallel to the Sinnemahoning Creek.

The deer were moving and I saw several bucks and some does.

A frosty fog covered the mountain tops. the trees across the creek had that gray-white frost covering them.

The bottomlands had plenty of Sycamore trees to contrast the White Pines. Occasionally, the brilliant reds of Winterberries would be contrasting everything.

Midmorning found me close to the dam again. This was where I saw the eagle yesterday. I was bird-watching this time. I wasn’t disappointed. I saw a flock of Mergansers again busily diving into the cold waters searching for breakfast. Mallards were quacking and swimming on the opposite side. the drakes were brilliant with their green heads. A small flock of Canada geese landed and would, for some reason, fly downstream past me.

Two mature Bald Eagles flew to my side of the dam. They were always outside of good camera range. They landed for a time only to fly back across the dam. before I left I saw an immature Bald Eagle  fly over close enough for some shots. Other birdlife included: Belted Kingfisher; Bluebirds; Crows; Ravens and a Killdeer. I hated to leave, but I had a schedule to keep so I continued on towards Medix Run area to do an afternoon hike before heading home.

I saw more deer and elk as I moved along. I drove up along Dents Run since I hadn’t been there for sometime. Soon I would be hiking near Medix Run.

Raven

 

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Native Brook Trout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lick Island Run

I continued heading towards my destination of the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek of Cameron and Potter Counties, Pennsylvania. Immediately as I first glimpsed the Sinnemahoning I could see the waters were swift and high. very heavy rains occurred recently across much of the state.I knew I wouldn’t be fishing these waters. I pondered how fast and what the tributaries would be.

Upon reaching the George B. Stevenson Dam I stopped to walk along the top of the dam. Here one can see far up the watershed hollow surrounded by  high, steep majestic hills and deep hollows. This is very peaceful scene to reflect. The dam was releasing water.

I ventured upstream of a creek named Lick Island Run to search out some native Brook Trout. The waters of this stream were running fast and hill, too. The water was over most of the rocks embedded in the stream. I knew fishing would be tough under these circumstances. I did catch native trout, but I had to find rocks that were not covered with water. The run  under the lee side of the rocks was a sheltered spot yielding trout. However, these conditions needed to be sought out. I walked over a mile upstream enjoying an occasional trout and the natural beauty. Later, I would fish Brooks Run in the same manner. I caught some beautiful trout on this stream, as well.

Brooks Run

 

 

Pumpkinseed Sunfish with mesh

I stopped by an area of back waters of the dam. The water was high, but not as fast as the Sinnemahoning. This was water being held back. Normally, this  is a section of the watercourse considered  great as a warm water fishery. I walked along the mouth of Brooks Run and noticed a two and half inch

George B. Stevenson Dam

Pumpkinseed Sunfish near the water line.  It’s colors were vivid so I knew whatever happened to this little fish was very recent. Upon touching the little feller I noticed movement. The sunfish was alive! I immediately realized what the issue was. Recently, workers used a very fine green mesh to help stabilize the creek’s bank due to construction. This sunfish became entangled in the mesh when the creek was higher. I used a knife and cut the mesh and placed the sunfish in the water. It swam away! I wondered just how long it had survived in that situation. I am a hero!

In this area I saw a flock of mergansers and a Bald eagle. The next day I would spend time here again as a bird-watcher.

The rains began prior to noon. A few snowflakes fell, as well. The rain continued until about three-thirty, however, mostly the rain was light.

I erected the tent just as the rain was abating.  I had gathered firewood and now had my home secured.  By four o’clock I had a roaring fire going well. I might need this fire since the temperature was to drop into the lower twenties.  Hoping for a good night to sleep.

 

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New Country

  Finding new country in Armstrong County is becoming more difficult each year. I have known of this particular property for quite some time. In fact, I have walked about in a couple  sections in the past. Years ago, while active in the Pennsylvania State Chapter of the National Wild turkey Federation, I represented the group at a major event with the property owner and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Other wildlife groups were present as well within the big tent erected for this gathering.. Local politicians spent time giving their speeches, too.

The section I visited this morning was a first time for me. I enjoy exploring new lands and seeing what habitat is present and the natural world within.

The early morning venture featured a hard frost whitening so much.  The winds were calm. I hoped to find good bear sign or turkeys. I did see two bucks and two does.

I heard  and watched a flock of Canada Geese heading south. I, also, heard a Ringnecked Pheasant crowing in the early moments of the day.

The temperatures had reached about 43 degrees by 10:30 and I was heading out of the woods to head home.

Skunk Cabbage waiting for spring

 

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Shooting Rifles

 

Rain is coming!

Rain was on the way as I settled in the woods to watch a field for deer photos. It was dark, but a hint of illumination could be viewed along the eastern tree line. I had seen some nice buck at this site along with smaller ones. Most of the time I couldn’t use my camera for I was

White Baneberry

hanging onto a flintlock. Any moments would stand a chance to become known to the deer.

I could just see the shape of a deer in the darkness. the animal walked to within twenty yards of me, but the very early conditions failed to make a good visual on this animal. Later, a buck ran across the corner of the field. I never saw this buck again.                       

Around the time of 8:30 I was moving towards the jeep. My next item on the agenda was to do a little shooting. My Remington 760 just had a new scope installed since my old scope went south on me. I couldn’t adjust the crosshairs at all. The gunsmith bore-sighted the scope for me. I shot at fifty yards and the bullet was hitting nineteen inches low. I brought it up to the target.                      

I, also, shot my flintlock rifle, Old Jacob. I missed a shot that shouldn’t had been missed. At fifty yards I shot at a large sheet of paper with a deer I had roughly drawn onto it. Three shots and three round holes in the breadbasket area. I do not see, as well as I had in the past. I can’t deny that fact. The sites are hazy along those long-barreled flintlocks I use. the front site, I find, is hard to see if centered. I believe that is the reason for the misses with this rifle. I need to be conscience and try to learn to center that front site.

 

Old Fiscus Schoolhouse. My mother attended here in the mid-thirties.

I didn’t get around to shooting the smoothbore, Jeremiah.  I missed two deer with this flintlock, too, after passing some shots at fifteen-twenty yards or so.  The same problem exists with this sighting plane. I cheated and had a fiber optic sight placed on it. Without a rear sight I can fluctuate a slight variance on the horizontal plane.

I, also, shot my Remington 872  rifle. this .22 caliber was shooting well at around thirty yards. I may need to get a squirrel or two.      

Afterwards, I walked around the lower end of Cherry Run reminiscing of things. Many memories of this area from my life. The trout, bass and catfish I had caught. the deer and wildlife I had seen. My father and I spent much time together along this waterways.

Later, just prior to the rain I took a drive to a few areas I hadn’t been too in quite some time. More memories.

 

 

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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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