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Archive for the ‘Wildflowers’ Category

Turk’s Cap Lily

The Turk’s Cap Lily has always put my mind in awe. I can’t help remember Bible verses of Jesus stating to look at the lilies’ of the field and yet King Solomon temple and wonders couldn’t stand up to the lilies’ beauty. Christ was correct!

This summer lily will grow as high as eight feet. They are found in bottomland areas such as marshes and wetlands towering over all the other vegetations.

Blue Vervain

The blue blossoms of the Blue Vervain are individually small, but the density on each spike makes the flower’s colors stand out. They, too, are often found near damp areas or fields. They grow to around three and a half feet high.

Black Cohosh

Another name for the Black Cohosh is Black Snakeroot. They can grow quite high, but the ones I see average four to five feet high. They are found in woodland areas.

Flowering Raspberry

I am not sure how this plant got the name. I see them often near the river, but can find them elsewhere.

Maidenhair Fern

Although this fern doesn’t fit the category of a wildflower, I wanted to include this visual for this fern is a beauty of a plant. I find them here and there in clusters, but not everywhere in the woods.

Spotted Joe-Pye

Joe-Pye grows high, probably, averaging as high as seven feet or so. the blossoms to me look like they are about to emerge into something bigger or more colorful. the purple stalk identifies this specie of Joe-Pye. bees and butterflies love them.

Purple Coneflower

I don’t believe the Purple Coneflower is a native to my area, but it can be found in a naturalized states here and there. This flower may be found in areas of wildflower plantings along roadways and parks.

Teasel

The teasel is not native, but has naturalized very well. the plant can grow to six feet. Those making various crafts often use the dried teasel tops in flower arrangements and such. often found along roadways and other such areas.

Staghorn Sumac

the Staghorn Sumac received the name due to the limbs having a velvet-like texture resemebling the antler’s of male deer

Another shot of a Turk’s Cap Lily.

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That’s a Bear was heard. I don’t believe I audibly spoke those words, but I do know I thought those words in my mind, at least.

The sky was overcast at this time of the morning. The weatherman said the skies would open up soon, so I was in the woods early. The time was somewhere around seven o’clock when I saw the black form around thirty to thirty-five yards out. the moment our eyes made contact the form moved fifteen feet or so before stopping. I struggled to get the camera focused on the bear’s head. Saplings and leaves , along with the darkened woodlands forbade that focus as needed.

The bear began moving away when I noticed cubs coming up behind her. I no with certainty of two cubs, but with the terrain, vegetation and such there may have been three. As soon as the bears were over the grade I moved hoping to see them again, but they were out of my view already.

My day was made. I could have turned around and went home a happy man, but I continued walking to see what other things of interest were out ahead.

I would see six deer and one fawn before I headed off to home.

I saw three Ravens up close before they noticed me, too. More photos below of the adventure out in the woods this morning.

Land stage of the Red-spotted Newt.

Stink Horn

This Stinkhorn is a fungus having many subspecies. They have a foul-smelling odor with the spores.

Goat’s Beard Blossom

Goat’s Beard Seed Pod

I found an introduced plant of interest along the fields. The name is the Goat’s Beard. It yields an

attractive yellow blossom followed by a dandelion-like seed pod. However, the seed pod shown above is close to three inches in diameter.

Striped maple leaf glowing in the sunlight.

Bee Balm or Oswego

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe is a parasitic organism. It is, also, known as the Ghost Plant, for obvious reasons.

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Late Wild Turkey Eggs

We have had some hot, humid weather recently and a 62 degree morning and lessening humidity was the ticket for me to get out for a morning jaunt. A always I had hoped to see a bear or two, but this morning proved to be “bearless.” However, I wasn’t disappointed with the wildlife sightings.

I did see four hens out and about feeding and one incubating her eggs. I was almost upon her when she unnerved and flushed. I was surprised to see a clutch of eggs this late into the season. She had, probably, lost her first nest for any number of reasons and re-laid a second clutch of eggs. I hope she returns to finish the task at hand.

Two of the hens had poults with them. The one in vegetation shielded the poults so I could barely see any, but I saw a back or two of poults. The second hen with poults had, at least, 5-6 visible babies. I am sure others were in amongst the vegetation. These poults were the size of a Ruffed Grouse or Pheasant. I failed to get any photos.

I saw four deer in totality with two being male deer.

I saw plenty of rabbits during the walk and one Grey Squirrel.

Various summertime wildflowers are blooming and I couldn’t resist taking some photos, as I always do.

I dressed accordingly to the season in regard to Deer Flies. In other words, I had a light flannel shirt and a hat on to deter these pesky and painful insects. I killed one and only witnessed several others. I was lucky for sometimes I am likened to a World war II, B-29 Bomber with many German Messerschmidt 109 fighters diving from all directions. Did I say I despise Deer Flies?

Beautiful morning

Hen turkey

Black-Eyed Susan

Dogbane Beetle

I was glad to find a number of the Dogbane Beetles. As a youngster I would catch these insects and study The brilliance of the iridescent colors. Many, probably, believed I wasn’t right as a child as many still do today.

Milkweed in blossom

Downy Skullcap

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I am still walking despite the heat of last week. I kept them to a shorter walk because I don’t enjoy high heat and humidity well and add allergies…well, you get the picture. Some of the photos included are from such walks.

I heard a gobbler gobbling and adjusted my plans to go towards the bird. Once I crossed a hollow and entered the flat area of the hill, I called and was met with a nice gobble. The big bird was at an estimated 110 to one hundred and twenty yards away. I settled in to see in my camera would be taking any photos of him. Of course, vegetation was thick in places and my allergies were causing me to stir some. I tried to suppressed a couple of sneezes.

I saw some movement at one point but never identified the source. the gobbler never again gobbled or answer my calling. Did he circle and see me moving? I don’t know, but that scenario was possible.

I walked a little longer seeing several turkeys.

I took some wildflower photos. as I walked around.

Common Yarrow

Hazel nuts are forming.

Poison Ivy

Elderberry blossoms

Evening Lychnis

This morning I walked a road below my homestead and listened to a gobbler across the creek. he was gobbling well. I had heard him last week in the very same spot, too.

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Fishing Time

Largemouth Bass

I was out early this morning to try my luck with fishing. The temperature in the morning was in the forty degree range. I must admit I was a little chilled.

I set the minnow trap sometime between 4:45 and five o’clock. Little time evolved upon having a dozen or more shimmering little Creek Chubs and Long-nosed Dace. The jeep was loaded and off I went to see what adventures I could discover. I always tend to do some explorations during my fishing trips.

Fishing was slow early except for catching Eastern Sand Darter. These little fish can be difficult to catch for the size is never very big and they have small mouths. Sometimes they can strip a hook with very little movement at the rod tip. The funny part of this morning was how my dad and I would catch these fish years ago. I was reminiscing about those times for some reasoning and behold I caught a darter. We used to call them Sand Pike.

Eastern Sand Darter

I heard a commotion in the trees behind me and could see occasionally a hawk or owl through the foliage. Suddenly two Red-tailed Hawks came bursting forth flying very near to me. I grabbed my camera but they were gone until one flew out again close to me before moving higher in the sky. I managed one quick shot. the hawk had a Grackle within the talons. Other Grackles were not happy to see one of their own off for breakfast.

Red-Tailed Hawk with Grackle

A pair of Mallard Ducks continued flying back and forth.

Shortly, after eight I packed up and went elsewhere to fish. I walked close a quarter of a mile to the shoreline. My first cast brought forth a nice catfish. The fish must have been 18 to twenty inches. A nice fight was had. Moments upon releasing the cat I landed a real fighter and jumper of a Largemouth Bass. I would catch Bluegills and Pumpkinseed panfish, too.

I saw a Great-Blue heron, and Osprey and a Bald Eagle while fishing. I would see a number of Gray and Fox Squirrels, too. A highlight was a hen turkey walking around. I managed a few shots before she exited the field area.

Female Mallard

Beautiful morning

Killdeer

Catalpa Blossoms

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Last week I spent a few hours

Last week I spent two mornings messing around the Allegheny River. I fished some, I explored some and I looked for anything of interest to photograph.

I was fishing directly below the dam and I was catching rock bass very often due to the very swift current situation. Those rock bass were actually ROCKS! I continually snagged and frustrations quickly led to the abandonment of fishing and to the searching of things to photograph. The second morning I did catch some fish with a twenty-inch Catfish being the biggest, however I became very wet since the rain that was suppose to be out of the area by seven in the morning grew heavier. By nine o’clock I was quite dewy.

I saw a Great-Blue Heron at times and surprisingly the big bird allowed my presence until the uplift occurred. The heron flew towards my right over the river allowing for many “in-flight” shots. I included a few here. Later, I had one of these birds land in the creek behind my house. They like the natural landscaping along the creek to help conceal their presence as they seek minnows for their lunch.

I noticed the Blue False Indigo flowers were blooming, in force, in the sandy soil areas of the river’s bank. I took some photos of these beauts, as well.

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Native Wild Columbine

The first day of June was a busy day for me. I went for a walk early in the day. Upon my return, I did some power washing of the gazebo and cleaned the back deck. I sprayed the deck and gazebo roof for mold and mildew. Since rain was being forecasted for several days I mowed my yard and neighbor’s back yard. I saw a doe in the back yard, but no fawn was viewed.

I prepared the basement for some friends coming over for a “jam” session on Wednesday afternoon.

After supper I went for another walk to go fishing at a pond. The catfish were biting good and I caught a number of them One exceptional fighter took a lunge causing the bail to strike my finger rather hard. I was concerned about guitar playing, but this morning it feels well enough.

I was walking out towards evening when I heard a gobble just ahead. I would see him walk away after I spooked a mother hen and poults. The little turkeys could have only been a few days old.

Native Blue Flag of the Iris family.

Fire Pink

Multiflora Rose

Another pic of the Columbine.

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Someone walking through sections of the Quehanna Wild Area stumbling on this might think they are being filmed for a horror movie. They might hope to not find any bodies around this place. The story of what these sites were is an interesting one. There are two individual sites with separate roads to each.

Way back in the early 1950 era, President Dwight Eisenhower and congress decided on a program called, “Atoms for Peace.” The area needed to for the government consisted of many acres in the wilderness of the Quehanna Wild Area. The goal was to create nuclear-powered jet engines. The idea was to utilize such a concept so fighter jets would not have a need to return from military events for refueling.

Hunting camps were evicted. (Watch for the coming entry on the Kunes Hunting Camp.) Many acres, in Cameron County, Pennsylvania, were obtained for this project. Roads were paved into the wilderness. The years this project operated were between 1955 and 1960. Remember, only ten years in the past the atom bombs stopped World war II. the nuclear race was in full gear by now.

In 1960 the project abandoned the nuclear jet-engine study.

Today, the paved roads are growing over as well as the areas around the bunkers and other cement remnants of those days. Many birch and aspen trees cover the property today, as well. In face we saw a Ruffed Grouse launch from these thickets. This is perfect grouse habitat now. Nature is reabsorbing the lands.

Many Elk rubs were discovered in the area. A pond yielded a number of Red-spotted Newts.

Red-spotted Newt

At some time, bat boxes were placed within these bunkers to encourage bat populations. I am unsure of any great success.

One pleasant surprise for us was the Trailing Arbutus flowers. This is a low-growing plant with sweet-smelling flowers of beauty.

Trailing Arbutus

Elk rubs. Many are over six feet high.

One of the roads leading to the bunker sites.

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I had been past the remains of the dam on several occasions, but for whatever reasons, I couldn’t stop. This morning, Laurie and I were going to visit the site of the Austin community in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

The original dam was built in 1909 after a local paper mill owner realized he hadn’t enough water to operate his paper mill just north of the community during especially dry seasons. The dam was constructed across the Freeman Run Valley to solve that problem. The concrete dam was fifty feet high, five-hundred and forty feet long across the valley and twenty feet thick. Plans called for a thirty feet thick structure. The twenty feet thick dam was constructed to help save costs. Problems were quickly discovered.

The problems of cracking concrete was spoken of natural due to the concrete curing process.

South of the dam was a community of about three-thousand people. The area was known as Austin.

In September of 1911, heavy raids had been occurring and the dam was reaching a crisis level. A young girl reported within the community the warning of failure. many people responded, but others didn’t for whatever reason. It is quite probable not everyone heard the warning.

On the thirtieth of the month the dam failed allowing a wall of water to explode its way south smashing into Austin, Pennsylvania. Seventy-eight people perished.

There is an Austin Dam memorial Park present at the dam’s site.

Old photo of the dam prior to the collapse.

A new dam was built in 1942 and it failed also. The photos here are of the original dam site.

I discovered some beauty above the site with the wildflowers of the Marsh marigold and trout Lily.

Marsh Marigold

Trout Lily (Other names are the Dog-tooth Lily and Adder’s Lily.)

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I needed to stay around the house early this morning to await a delivery of a new table and chairs. The men arrived at nine and I would be able to et out and enjoy some woodland time.

My first adventure was to experiment with my latest toy…the crossbow! I had only shot one shot at the house and needed to get out to the range and experience this new contraption. I needed to get familiar and the “how to” and overcome any fears. The crossbow worked flawlessly after I realized the need to be sure the string is pulled back until it locks properly. Another trip or two should iron out all fears and gain a solid knowledge.

Afterwards, I decided to go for a hike to an area I had found some Morels last season. I didn’t find of those treasured mushrooms, but last year, the location yielded them later in the season. I would return. I did discover some Wild Leeks, often called Ramps. I dug up a few to eat and a few to transplant to some wooded areas voided of the early spring plant.

I saw four deer and some turkeys here and there in the fields, but one began to gobble after noon. I moved in and began to try to talk with the turkey. I would see him in the distance and eventually he began to strut and walk towards me. Needless to say< I snapped a number of photos. This gobbler came in to about twenty yards if me. Unfortunately, once he moved in to that distance a lot of downed hemlock trees refused to move allowing any clear shots.

I enjoyed finding some early spring wildflowers as I tramped around. the flowers were the Spring Beauty and Round-lobed Hepatica. I enjoy watching this next month or two come alive with the varied flowers.

Round-lobed Hepatica

Native Leek or Ramps

Crossbow

Spring Beauty

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