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Archive for the ‘Wildflowers’ Category

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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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Columbine- A native wildflower.

Columbine- A native wildflower.

These last three days of turkey hunting had witnessed some high temperatures, and increasing humidity. I don’t care for such conditions, but I did get out to hunt for a little bit.

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Common Fleabane

Thursday, May 26th, I already knew I wasn’t hunting for long. My mother, step-father, Bob, and sister, Ruthie were going to have breakfast. I told mom I would be back early unless I was working a gobbler. I heard a distant gobbler open up at 5:15 A.M. He was a hot bird gobbling for forty minutes. I feared traveling the distance, electing to hope a gobbler was just below me. He wasn’t! I heard another tom across the hollow where I was setting. I heard a turkey fly down right beside me. It was a hen.

Friday, May 27th, found me setting in the dark, once again, hoping the gobbler chose this site for his roosting area. I heard the gobbler from over a half mile on the roost. He only gobbled twice that I could hear. However, a closer bird exploded with a few spaced gobbles. I moved in on this bird after waiting until six. I worked around the hill hoping he would gobble again so I could determine his approximate location. He did! Unfortunately he was farther that I thought. I circled around to try to get above him.

DSC_0004 Once on top the bird was silent. I called  hoping to get a response. I decided since it is early to try another place. I thought I heard a response to my call once I arrived. I set up and waited for a time and heard nothing else. Too hot so I elected to quit. I could see a tom with two hens in a field.

Golden Ragwort

Golden Ragwort

I called as I removed myself from the hill. I heard hen chatter above me and called in a lone hen.

This morning, May 28th, I was setting  at the same place to listen. I heard the distant gobbler a few times. I was thinking about a strategy when I heard a gobble across the hollow again. I moved fast this time. The old leg wasn’t feeling all that bad this day. I was on top of the hill listening when the bird gobbled way low below me. I moved in as the bird was moving, too. By the time I got close and had a response I realized the turkeys were very low  near where two township roads intersect with a state road. What to do?

 

Blue Flag (Iris)

Blue Flag (Iris)

I knew the residences were around these birds. I tried to entice them back up over, but they ended up crossing the intersection settling along Cherry Run. I gave up on the birds.  I tried to stir up the earlier gobbler, but he wouldn’t budge.

I was walking along the road when a local Wildlife Conservation Officer stopped by. We chatted, and he checked my license and recognized my name. We talked some more. I decided to call it a day. Pretty Darn Hot! Besides I had to prepare to play music later today in Butler, PA.

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DSC_0059  Wednesday I left the house about noon to take a turkey calling trek at a local game lands. I still find hunting in the afternoon slightly weird. I’ll get used to it I am sure. The weather produced rain in the morning.   DSC_0056

I began working along a food plot area calling, and hoping a gobbler would answer. I circled a bend in the field only to see a turkey run off. Gobbler? I can’t say. If this was a gobbler he didn’t respond to my calling. these are tough times to hunt gobblers. The hunter can never know where he is unless the bird gobbles once in a while.

Mollusks on a bee hive.

Mollusks on a bee hive.

I worked a ridge, dropping downslope and working back. I heard no gobblers. I did see two opossums in the forest. I hunted for one and a half hours.

 

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

The next morning (Thursday) found me high at a listening point. I heard the gobbler clear across the big hollow. Off I went to try to refine his position.

 

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

I ended up about thirty yards from an old township road with the gobbler in a tree above my location. I had no other options, but to play the cards!

Friday morning glow.

I called softly. I was watching a warbler specie known as the Black and White warbler. The bird was close to me, and not appreciating my presence. I thought about getting the camera out for a photo when I heard the gobbler fly down. He was close! I prepared for a shot.

I waited when suddenly the gobbler appeared 18 yards from me. I froze of course. The bird would lift his tail feathers slightly, but not into a full fan. I suspected from what I could see that this gobbler was a bird from last year. He gobbled, and went into full strut. I could see the middle tail feathers sticking up above the others. Now I could see and entire beard, too…all five inches on beard. I allowed the bird to pass.

DSC_0019 The gobbler didn’t go far, but my leg felt as if it weighed two tons. My leg had fallen asleep! I had to move. The bird walked away “putting” loudly.

I went to my mother’s home for breakfast with  family. I arrived there by 7:20 so you can see this all happened quickly. Afterwards, I went out until about noon, but never heard a gobbler.

A native Azalea.

A native Azalea.

Awww. Friday morning!  No gobbling! I quickly headed for a secondary place. I arrived at seven, and slowly worked diagonally along the steep hill.  I walked about until about 9:30, and did not hear any gobbling, with one exception.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

I called loudly form an open area, and heard what I believe was a gobbler three-fourths of a mile across the big Cherry Run hollow. I elected to not go after that probable reply. Five years ago I would have been off in a hurry. Today, with age that may not have been a good idea. I saw a hen that was acting like she had a nest nearby.

Porky!

Porky!

 

Fire Pink

Fire Pink

I went to another area to walk and call. I had taken a couple of toms here in past hunts. The only problem these days are the steep hills to get there! As I approached the summit a hen turkey flew from a tree. It was 11:00 A.M. I pondered as to why she was in a tree at that time.

I walked the ridgeline calling periodically. I saw something dark, and at first thought I was seeing a gobbler in strut. However, a second later, proved I was seeing a Black Bear, and a big male at that!

DSC_0023   The bear was walking towards me. I placed the box call between my knees as I began trying to keep a focus on the bruin. At about 17 steps away, he stopped. A second later he turned around in high gear. I guess I must have had an odor about me. I was happy the big guy didn’t want to mate. Mating season is upon the bear population.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

I was basically finished with turkey hunting. All I wanted to do was check my photos out. I did see a porcupine in a tree allowing for some pics.

I continued calling as I circled towards the jeep. No responses! I peered over en embankment on the gas line I was calling from only to see two gobblers moving away. If only one would have answered…….

 

Mountain Laurel ready to bloom.

Mountain Laurel ready to bloom.

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