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Archive for the ‘Wildflowers’ Category

Purple Trillium

My friend Kip Feroce has beautiful lands around his property. Big timber, moss-covered logs, Mayapples in abundance may be

Leeks

found along the very steep  slopes. However, many of Pennsylvania’s native wildflowers were absent upon my time traveling about those lands. I have many species on my property planted to allow to spread and transplant to lands barren of them. More later.

I found not seeing many common species of wildflowers an issue with me. I mentioned this issue to Kip and he readily agreed to for me to reintroduce some native species of wildflowers. I hope to see them flourish and spread as needed to beautify the forest even more.

This morning, beside the plantings, found me needing to stop by another friend, Frank Maus. To further make all of these plans work best, it was decided to hunt turkeys until mid-morning. I made all of these ventures fall into place within half a day. Perfect!

I managed to stimulate a gobbler. The big bird was in posted property and over two hundred yards off. I didn’t have a positive thought, but the gobbler very quickly moved to about 80 yards of me. WOW! I had hunting related issues. The terrain between the gobbler and me besides being posted yielded a deeply cut gas well road that runs parallel to the property I was hunting on. Even worse between this gas well road and me was dense Multiflora Rose…and I mean lots of this terrible plant. I had only one card to play and to try to call the bird over that embankment and through the roses thickets.

Trout Lily

 

White Trillium

As I expected, the gobbler walked and gobbled that road back and forth. The terrain would have allowed an unethical and illegal shot, but that is not how I roll. I played around with this gobbler for about two hours moving five or six times in attempts to lure him to me. Well, off to Frank’s nearby home.

Frank and I shared turkey stories for, at least, half an hour before I left to transplant the wildflowers.

I planted approximately forty individual wildflowers on Kip’s property. I had just finished when I heard his truck coming up the lane. Now we need some rain to set those roots and bulbs. I imagine many years ago this may have been pasture land with years of cattle traversing the lands thus killing out many species of wildflowers.

The species I planted were: White Trillium; Purple Trillium; Jack-In-The-Pulpit; Dutchman’s Breeches; Trout Lily; Bloodroot; Virginia Bluebells and Wild Leek. Hope they survive and spread rapidly.

 

Virginia Bluebells

 

 

Leaf of Bloodroot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, the morning felt like the spring season has finally came to stay.  the woodlands certainly are looking like spring has “sprung.”

 

Wild Leek

Wildflowers are showing signs of a rapid spurt in growth. I checked past records of mine and many wildflowers at this time of the year were well on the way in regards to blossoms. Today’s jaunt had trillium species with buds, but I failed to see any in full blossom. Morels are non-existent, too. I have checked with other morel hunters across the state and few are finding any at this time.

The Wild Leek (Ramps) are up and doing very well. I checked on several large patches of them.  Mayapples are at different growth rates. Some areas show very young growth and other places have Mayapples around eight inches high. I have seen them much higher by this time of the year. The weather into April definitely affected their growth cycles.

Mayapples

I saw two male Ring-neck Pheasants this morning. I managed some photos of both of them. they looked beautiful with their colors. Their courtship is on!

I heard a distant gobble. Eventually, I was in the area and offered some yelps. Gil-obble-obble-obble was the response. I would hear three gobblers in short order. I called in all three of them. The underbrush caused only one photo. However, if the spring gobbler season had been on I would have filled out a tag.

 The one in the photo became alerted with my movement of trying to get a god focus. They all walked out uttering some alarm putts. They didn’t run away because the birds didn’t actually identify me as a man.

I circled a couple of hill and heard another gobbler at eleven o’clock. This turkey gobbled about four times deep within posted property.

I saw a Great Blue heron and two Canada Geese. One was at the nest.

Rattlesnake Flower

Chestnut hulls

Roadrunner

Handsome feller indeed!

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Wild Leeks or Ramps

This morning was planned to accomplish a number of items from my list. First in my mind was to be in the woods to hear gobblers at dawn. Surprisingly, I heard only one at this site.

  I had planted Wild Leeks, also known locally as Ramps, on my property. Last evening I dug up a few to transplant to an area where this native plant is missing. This area I often hunt and hike was in years past farmland with cattle and agriculture. This was way before my time. Today the area is a woodlands, however, those past farming practices often completely destroyed many native wild flowers. The Leek is one such plant.

The Leek is an interesting plant. Each bulb send up a couple of leaves that reach about six inches. This happens in April and by June the leaves are withered away and a stalk of small white flowers grows. The bulbs can be eaten for they have a onion-like flavor. In fact, some places actually have festivals and special feeds to commemorate the plant. I jus\t think the plants look great in the early spring woods. I know of some sites where the Leek grows dense and covers a large area.

Later in the morning I began skirting the property and planting a stalk at various places. I have hopes that in the future large areas of growth may, once again, find these hills home.

 

Canada Goose on nest

Another agenda item was to erect a bird house I recently made. Actually, I made three with leftover remodeling wood. I had one left and today the box was to find a home.

  I needed to visit my cousin, Donnie so I incorporated my traveling to stop at his home. I saw a number of turkeys at  several sites. Deer were everywhere!

I located a nesting Canada Goose. She stayed tight as the mate circled about giving me the evil eye. Two Mallard Ducks swam about as I watched.

 

 

 

 

 

Milkweed

 

 

 

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    I admit I didn’t make the hike as early as wanted. I had to “slap” on some paint on a new painting  just to get the direction in order. Also, I needed to  record a track on a CD I have been working on.

Water Snake

I was trying to make an important decision, as well. Should I go carp fishing along with a hike? Or should I just go on an “explorative” hike?  I decided to explore and take photos. After all North Korea just may blast a nuke into Pittsburgh and I should check out as many places as I can.

Cardinal FLower

 

 

Wood Turtle

I needed to drop off a Cd at a friend’s home so the decision to hike and explore Patterson Run was made since the drop off home would be in route to this

Damselfly

beautiful stream.

Patterson Run is an approved trout stream in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I have hiked along some northern sections of the stream at various times, but I never explored the lower section. That would be my goal!

Bumblebee on Blue Vervain

I walked down over a hill to the stream and began to walk with the flow of water searching for photo opportunities and wildlife. And yes the stream is beautiful! I had on boots that went to mid-calf and much of the time I could find a route to avoid wet feet. Several times I needed to go over the embankment to circle deeper areas. I saw only one trout. The water was low for the most part and deeper holes were scarce.  The water was clear and only the deeper holes failed to see bottom, well.

I saw two deer on the walk. One fawn was bedded down in stream-side vegetation and erupted only when I was about twelve feet from the bed. A second deer was wading the creek, but tree limbs avoided any chance for a pic. I would see two hen turkeys with poults. Just how many poults is anybody’s guess since all I could see of them was moving vegetation.

I located two different Wood Turtles. One I removed from the creek bottom and waited for the inquisitive critter to emerge from the shell and head back to the creek. The second turtle was walking along the sandy ground. two handsome water Snakes were viewed on limbs prior to the falls into the water.

I saw a lot of Cardinal Flowers growing along the water course. This flower grows deep along creeks and rivers, but I didn’t see any more than ten feet from the water’s edge. That seems to be the norm from past encounters. I saw a lot of Damselflies fluttering along the vegetation. the actual name for this species is Ebony Jewelwing.

On another hike earlier this week I saw five deer, three of the deer were buck with nice racks!

Wood Turtle

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Turk’s Cap Lily

Lots of flowers coloring the natural landscape. I always take photos of these beauties to share to those appreciating seeing them.

The Turk’s Cap Lily is a beautiful lily native to Pennsylvania. This stalk of the flower may reach to eight feet in height. These flowers are commonly found along

Blue Vervain

watershed areas such as marshlands and along streams.

The Downy Skullcap doesn’t have a name that sounds very attractive, but the flower is attractive in it’s unique way.  The plant has these blue flowers on a stalk reaching three feet high. Common in western Pennsylvania in woodlands and clearings.

 

 

Downy Skullcap

The Blue Vervain, shown above, grows as high as three feet. Individual flowers are dainty. The Blue Vervain is found in damp areas and field edges or abandoned fields.

Teasel

Teasel is not a native flower. This flower was introduced from Europe.  The stalk can grow as high as around six feet. This flower is common in old fields and along pastures and roads. One common

Swamp Milkweed

use for Teasel is the dried flower head is often used in crafts such as decorative wreaths and such.

The Swamp Milkweed can grow up to six feet, but is most commonly found at two or three feet high.

 

Horse Nettle

 

Chickory

Chicory is a vivid blue flower that was, also, introduced to Pennsylvania. These flowers grow along roads and waste areas.

Bee Balm, or Owego, is a plant that can be used as a tea. This flower is often discovered in damp areas near streams.

 

Bee Balm

 

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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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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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