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Archive for the ‘Wildflowers’ Category

  I was out for a couple of mornings over the last few days. The purpose was to complete several things. One was to listen for   gobblers. Another was to take photos of spring and various things of spring. One more item was to search for the elusive Morel Mushroom.                                       

I really enjoy this time of the year. The rejuvenation of the woodlands always inspires me. I have hope when I see the greens and yellows explode with new leaves and vegetation. Of course, those who know me understand how I appreciate the numerous and varied wildflowers. they have been emerging with rapid growth.

  A recent morning was foggy, but the turkeys were already down. I walked up on two and later walked into about eight birds. I

Non-native: Mustard Garlic

crossed a very steep and deep ravine because the White Trilliums are thick enough to almost resemble snow. I wanted to observe.  Wild Leek is common in places. Other flowers were the rue Anemones; Spring Beauties and Purple Trilliums.                                                                    

As I reached the opposite hillside I could hear a hen yelping behind where I had come down over the hollow. I called some when I heard a distant gobble in a field behind me. I would ease to the field’s edge and see what I could find. I saw three toms and one hen way out in the field. Occasional gobbles came from these birds.                                                                                          

I would find eight Morels but I only picked four since some were small. I failed to find any others as I traveled about. 

This morning was at another locale and was saddened at first when I failed to hear any gobbling. A dark cloud bank was coming in from the south and I believed that darkness may be interfering with the turks.  However, two Canada geese flew through honking away and their noise caused a distant gobbler to explode twice.

I walked a field and heard nothing as I watched the sun sneak from the east. I walked back the same way planning to turn into an area with vines to   search for morels when one tom gobbled close. I entered the tree line to observe the field. Another gobbler, and yet another began gobbling to my left. The bird up front crossed the field to the other two gobblers. I watched them exit the field. Back to morel hunting. I found only one!

  In another area from where the other turkeys were I could a gobbler. Soon, A couple of more gobblers joined in.                                                                              

I set down and enjoyed their singing. Some of us consider gobbling to be musical!

I continued circling around and watched two Great-Horned Owls flying about. I managed one photo albeit the quality isn’t the best.

Virginia Bluebells

As promised I needed to go my cousin’s place to help with his fish pond. I brought to my creek about seven frogs.

  While traveling I saw three longbeards and a hen and. later six turkeys far off in a field. I would see four deer today and a couplemof squirrels.                                                                                      

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  I need to ask how one can be so stupid! I filled up my hands and began walking down the slope to fish. I

Dutchman’s Breeches

stooped to pick up a worm that was on the dry trail and realized I had forgotten my fishing license. How stupid is that?

 

 

Immediately I turned to plan B. I was going to fish a few hours before hiking along with taking photos. I drove to the site I had planned to walk and it was still only about 6:30 A.M. The sun was up and the atmospheric conditions were perfect. My bad luck of forgetting my fishing license allowed  for

Spring Beauty

some great photos.

  The route I took to hike was covered with early spring wildflowers. Spring Beauties; Dutchman’s Breeches; Rue Anemones; Violets and others could be found in plentiful numbers. Trilliums were soon to bloom. The Skunk Cabbage was growing quickly.

Rue Anemone

I searched for morels at times, but failed to see any of those morsels.

  I saw some Gray Squirrels and one Fox squirrel. I saw Great Blue herons and Belted Kingfishers. I sat down on a log to enjoy the beauty when I noticed  movement in the air. A mature bald eagle landed about seventy-five yards from me and began to make shrill calls. I took a couple of photos even though I knew the photos wouldn’t be the best quality. I saw an immature eagle flying. I heard gobblers off in the distance occasionally.

Wild Leek

I saw some Canada Geese at times and some unidentifiable waterfowl, too.

The four hour hike ended as the sun was making much heat. I elected to stop and visit my friend J Kip Feroce at his camp. he was there and surprised to see me. We planned some spring gobbler hunts.

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Prairie Vegetation

However, it happens, my computer received a nasty virus. Thanks to Bevington Technologies of outside Worthington, Pennsylvania for saving everything, and getting me back into business.  I have some catching up to do in so far as getting some  dsc_0074entries on this site.

Closed Gentian

Closed Gentian

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dsc_0053  Last week, a cool fall-like morning mandated some hiking time. I decided to go to the 300 acre Jennings Environmental area to walk about. I had hoped the Blazing Star wildflower may still have a few blooms left. However, I knew their time was over, but I hoped a few stragglers may yield some blossoms. This are has a lot of very big trees on the property. This area, also, has a prairie area, possibly the farthest prairie east of the Mississippi River. This area was established in the 1950s with the need to preserve the Blazing Star wildflower. This is a prairie flower.

Turtlehead

Turtlehead

Another interesting feature is this area holds the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake, also known as the Pygmy Rattlesnake. I was told even trained

Members of the Pennsylvania Fish Commissions have difficulty finding them.                                                                                  dsc_0063

dsc_0070  I saw a number of deer while walking. Interestingly, I turned onto a trail named Deer Trail and immediately spotted two deer. I saw some migrating warblers and a lot of goldfinches eating seeds from various flowers. I found another rare wildflower known as the Closed gentian. I have only found one in Armstrong County. The prairie lands displayed a number of these blue flowers. This specie looks like flower bud ready to open into a bloom. However, this is the flower!

I walked a number of trails. I walked the Oakwoods Trail, The Deer Trail, the Blazing Star Trail; the Prairie Loop trail, the Massasauga Trail, the Hepatica Trail, and the Glacier Ridge Trail.

I found a lot of beauty this morning. Of course, this lead to a lot of photos.

What a beautiful native wildflower!

What a beautiful native wildflower!

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Cooler Morning

DSC_0005 Friday, August 19, found some slightly cooler early morning conditions. I felt a need to do some hiking, and photography. I debated on hiking or fishing. I grabbed some supplies in my shoulder bag and headed to familiar areas. I was going to hike the lower portion of Cherry Run to Cochran’s Mill at Crooked Creek. I hoped to see some bear.  I traveled the Garrett’s Run Road to arrive for my walk and enjoyed seeing the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania along this route from my youth.   DSC_0002

Unfortunately, this route took me past an old friend’s home. He had passed away recently. I still miss our conversations, and visits. Randy always enjoyed my photos and woodland adventures on this site.

 

Jerusalem Artichoke

 

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe

I parked at a site where the two branches of Cherry Run merge before continuing south to Crooked Creek.

Cherry Run

Cherry Run

I saw over fifteen different deer throughout the morning. The birdlife wasn’t very vocal this day. However, I heard the squawks of the Great Blue heron. I saw several of these birds.                                                   DSC_0010

With the rains we had recently the drought conditions have ceased. The creek was slightly colored, but the waters were still low.

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Lobelia

Lobelia

The wildflower season is winding down since September is just ahead. The Green-headed Coneflower was a DSC_0025common yellow wildflower along the bottomlands. Asters are blooming, too. The deep purple Ironweed, and Joepye could be found growing about the creek, as well.

The mushrooms are finally shooting up throughout. Some friends and I went walking recently during the dry times. We found very few. Now, they are growing all over. I wished I knew  them better for confidence in eating. I know several species, well enough, to eat.

 

Millipede

Millipede

DSC_0011 At one point during the walk, I heard a loud splash. I hoped for bear, but I could see the familiar white tail going up the hill. DSC_0021later, I stopped to visit the landowner at one of my hunting spots. We had a nice chat.

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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

 

Pickerelweed

Pickerelweed

 

"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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Deptford pink

Deptford pink

I woke up knowing I was in need of a walk. However, I wanted to fish, too.  What to do? WOW!  I decided to go for a walk, and fish for some carp. Wasn’t that a simple decision?   This occurred on July 17th.

Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain

The area I was to walk is a local Pennsylvania Game Commission Game Lands, one I often hike on due to

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

the close vicinity of my home.

 

Downy Skullcap

Downy Skullcap

I walked along a game lands road looking for anything of interest. I am always able to enjoy observing various things of the natural world. Those things may be wildlife; insects; wildflowers…who knows what I may find on a jaunt.            DSC_0011

The morning temperatures were tolerable, but I knew as the sun rose higher in the east those temperatures would rise higher. The deer flies walking in were not very bad. One managed to insert into my elbow region. I felt the hot, needle-like pain, and instinctively came down on the insect. I crushed the b\culprit between my fingers. I audibly stated: You may have bite me, but I got you!  I will heal, but you will not!  Awww sweet revenge!

DSC_0009    I came to a pond that was stagnant because of the lack of rain. Brown vegetation was visible on the surface. I could see a few carp sucking at the surface. Others were pushing their snouts into the mud. I tried catching a few of these carp, and they would completely ignore my enhancing baits. Later, I moved to the other side of the pond. My line showed sign of a bite. However, the string didn’t take off in a traditional carp-like bite. After some time the line became taught and a carp was on and the fight began.

Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed

The carp felt big on light tackle. The fish was eighteen inches of pure muscle. I released the European native back into the pond for another day. That carp was my only catch. they were being selective feeders today.

 

Bull Thistle

Bull Thistle

The temperatures were climbing as I began the trek back towards the jeep. The deer flies were more prevalent, too. The flew around like Messerschmitt Jet planes from the German air force. I managed to relieve some of them of their pesky lives.

I found a lot of various wildflowers to observe and photograph as I exited the woods.

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Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

I didn’t have a lot of worms, and I was too early to purchase any minnows to fish. I decided to fish this morning. The temperatures are to reach around 90 degrees later. The decision was a good one.                                                DSC_0007

The river near Lock # 7 near Kittanning, Pennsylvania was a little higher than normal. I ended up being forced to step into the Allegheny River to wade at times due to lush vegetation on the river’s bank. The water was warm.

 

Citizen's Bridge at Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

Citizen’s Bridge at Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

DSC_0012 The first cast into the swift water ended up with a snagged , and lost, line. The second cast brought forth a 14 inch catfish.  I continued to fish having a couple of light bites, but no strong tug to force me into action.

Garden Yellow Loosestrife

Garden Yellow Loosestrife

Later, while glassing some mallards, I heard the sound of a falling fishing pole. The catfish yanked hard enough that the rod bounced down. A second, or two, later and I may have lost my gear, but I caught the 18 inch channel catfish.

Lock # 7 on the Allegheny River

Lock # 7 on the Allegheny River

I saw other ducks, gulls, and the loon again. The loon upon seeing me at over fifty yards swam to about twelve feet of my position. The bird was curious, I guess!

DSC_0017 After the third time of snagging the bottom plug of the river, I decided to head along the river, and take some wildflower photos.

The Purple Loosestrife was very common, however, it is an invasive foreign specie. Another flower was the Garden Yellow Loosestrife. This, too, is a non-native wildflower. I saw one cardinal flower just beginning to bloom. Their scarlet colors are of the deepest red imaginable.

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