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Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

    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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Indian Pipe

The weather was markedly less humid and cooler than recent days. I gathered up my gear and headed to State game Lands 105 in

Fritillary

northern Armstrong County. This is property maintained by the Pennsylvania game Commission.

I am always hopeful of seeing bear, but I failed to see anything resembling a bear on this jaunt. I had two exceptions. I walked into two separate baby Porcupines. Maybe with a good imagination one could see a slight resemblance to a bear…maybe??? They have black hair on their bodies don’t they?                                                                       

The first Porcupine I walked on was a small little feller. I would have liked to have held and petted this critter, but my smarts told me otherwise.  I was within a couple of feet of this little guy and he instinctively would turn his backside towards me. This is a defensive posture. I walked on through the woods and heard and saw another young Porcupine. This one was slightly larger than the earlier one. This Porky, also, had more white coloring on the body. This one didn’t stay put and began climbing a tree for safety!  

I saw five different bucks on this hike. two sported sizable racks and with a couple of months of growth yet to happen. I saw a few doe as well. I impinge fawns were nearby, but dense grasses and such would not allow any sightings of those little ones. I saw three young gobblers moving across a clearing.

Plenty of butterflies were dancing through the air waves. I managed a few photos of them.

 

Tiger Swallowtail

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Carp Fishing!

  I went fishing especially for Carp. After loosing three riggings in six casts while fishing the Allegheny River  I made a decision to go for Carp in a pond. The choice was a good one for me.

I stopped at the house to exchange gear. I elected to fish with a fly rod.

The walk to this particular pond is approximately a mile through fields and forests so I actually gained some hiking time, as well. As the walk progressed I noticed something unusual. I thought I was looking at a piece of rubber or something. The object just was out of place. Suddenly, I realized what I was seeing. I was seeing a Snapping Turtle. The turtle’s shell was covered with mud thus it looked very smooth until I came closer to the image and saw other details.

The approach to the pond detailed some wildlife immediately. A Great Blue Heron was standing breast-deep in the water searching for something to eat. I managed several photos. A Wood Duck escaped my presence, as well. Carp were  everywhere surfacing and splashing.

Snapping Turtle

The pond’s surface was inundated with much moss. This surprised me since we seemed to have a lot of rain. The surface looked more like it was from the August dog-days. This made fishing difficult, but the edge of the water was open along the shore.

I fished  for a time hooking two Carp. The second one really gave me a fight on the fly rod tackle.

Other sightings of the day were a doe and her fawn and three separate hen Turkeys. Two of the hens had obvious poults and the third acted as if poults were in the area. The little ones were only a day or two since hatching.

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Ostrich Fern

I remember hearing of Buzzard Swamp in my teen years. The words I had heard were from grizzled old hunters stating of people becoming lost in the area in times past. Now I can see why. The area minus the trails and man-made ponds loos the same in all directions. the land is primarily flat.

Beaver Dam

 

This morning I left the house about 4:30 A.M. for the trip north to Buzzard Swamp. This land has been managed for wildlife through efforts of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the United States Forest Service. The location of the site is near Lolita, Pennsylvania and south of Marienville.

   I arrived on site around six in the morning to a balmy thirty-eight degrees. I shuffled around getting my gear organized when I  remembered to turn my cell phone on. I was immediately warned of a message. I was stunned with the words from my friend, Galen Braddy from North Carolina. The message was a mutual friend Ken Crummett of West Virginia being in the hospital. Ken had had a stroke. As I type this entry I am awaiting details and further word of Ken. A few weeks ago I spent time with Galen, Ken, and Kip Feroce during the first week of gobbler season. ken and Galen both bagged gobblers locally. The news sure dampened the hiking mood for me, but I tried to make the best of the situation managing to spend some time walking around a wildlife propagation area and beyond.

 

Tree Swallow

Deer were everywhere! I have no idea just how many deer I had seen here on site and while traveling. I was blessed to see three  fawns, too.                                                                                    

Like deer, Canada Geese were very abundant. I could see a lot of goslings about, as well. I witnessed some Mallards and Wood Ducks, and later, I saw some Mergansers. I saw some gobblers and hens at various locations, too. A lot of birdlife used the area. Swallows, Bobolinks, robins, warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds…  Next entry will include some places I visited. The areas were sites that were important to me in years past or have special memories.                                                                          

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  I was stationary at a high point very early to listen for gobblers. The sky was cloudy with a lot of red in the eastern horizon. I was

An intersting white Iris.

thankful the sun came out later.

I was quite a bit disturbed at this time when I realized my Gore-Tex boots leaked and my socks were soaked! I purchased these boot from Dick’s on April 7th of this year. Later, this soaking would lead me to get up and walk for the early morning temperatures and inactivity caused shivering on my part. My feet were cold and very uncomfortable! I was disgruntled!

Free to a good home! Gore-Tex is crap!

I heard a distant gobbler a few hundred yards away and as I began the trek towards him another tom gobbled close and directly below me. I angled away from the gobbler and started to enter the woods and bumped a hen from the roost. She cackled as she flew and, now two gobblers sounded off. I set up about eighty yards from them. Shortly, I was hearing 4 or five gobblers roosting together.

 

Black-billed Cuckoo

Unfortunately, either the scared hen returned or another hen roosting with them began cutting and silence fell upon the early woods.

Wood Duck

I would creep in the direction once I knew the birds were not coming in. I called and an explosion of gobbling was the result. These birds, presumably, Jakes, were around forty yards from me. They would only gobble with a loud yelp series or crow call, but that only lasted a short time. (Jakes are young turkeys and last years gobblers.)

I went up and over and had another tom answer me. His gobble was only a “courtesy” gobble. He remained quiet after the initial call. By this time, with cold and wet feet, I walked along a farming road to stop and wring out my socks. Shameful! I reentered the woods and spooked a turkey where I had been calling!!!

I was actually thinking of going home and began  walking a reclaimed strip towards the jeep, I called and received an answer way across Cherry Run and the road and up a hollow. I thought my feet are already soaked so why not wade the creek and go after the gobblers. I would later get some gobblers riled up, but they eventually tired of the game refusing to cross a gulley. I circled way out around them and gobbled and heard another gobbler clear across the hollow again. Off I went and I failed to rile him up.

I began heading back to where I heard the lone gobbler earlier. By this time, I was tired and had a raspy throat from sinus draining allergy issues. Why me? I entered the woods and called and set back and took a cat nap. I walked further back the ridge and received an answer. This gobbler seemed interested.

   I was working this fellow and he was coming in slowly. I heard something walking to my left and could soon see three gobblers at about eight yards. I couldn’t see their beards because I was viewing them through my peripheral vision…no details! The great debate entered my mind. Were these all Jakes? Could their be a longbeard within this group?  I began thinking of shooting whatever legal bird appeared first. Meanwhile, the longbeard below was still coming.

The three turkeys began putting some and I knew they suspected something amiss. They began walking towards the gobbler. I could see they were all jakes now. I pulled up and bagged a gobbler at 35 yards.  No regrets, but I can’t help wondering what would have happened had I not shot. I suspect quiet on the western front, but one can never know with a surety.  I began the very long walk back to the jeep.

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Getting hot!

Thursday, May 18th, I elected to hunt near my old homestead. I walked to a high point in a field to listen for gobbler talk. Around  5:30 A.M. I heard a very far and muffled gobble. I began to get the feeling as to “C’mon which direction was that gobble?” I walked another fifty feet listening for another gobble

 

 

Suddenly, I heard a gobble way off at the end of this field at a place I have tried over the years to work gobblers.(About two hundred yards.) Before I began the trek  I heard another tom much closer and behind me. However, after thought I decided to move towards the more distant gobbler and set up along the field where both of these toms could easily hear me. (Not the best move of the day.)

 

Female Scarlet tanager

I set up in the brush and began calling. Now there were five turkeys occasionally gobbling. I began to wish I would have chosen

My allergic rashes

a better place to set up. After fly-down time was upon me I saw three gobblers coming out of the woods across the field. (Theses birds were the from the closer area that I failed to move on. There was a lot of woods debris and Multiflora Rose and I didn’t believe I could get to them without being spotted or heard.)

The three birds came to about seventy yards. The contour of the field didn’t allow a positive ID, but I suspect they were three young gobblers or Jakes. I couldn’t get them any closer. The other two gobblers had quit by this time and game was over. I quit hunting early for I had some commitments, both, in the mid-morning and afternoon.

However, I had a plan for the next morning!

Today, May 19, I moved out to the end of the field very early and sat down to await whatever the morning would offer. My plan was to adjust my positioning as needed once I heard a gobbler. Little did I know that 5:20 A.M. gobble would dictate my position and I was already in place!

 

My unused shotgun!

The gobbler was about forty yards from me. I couldn’t chance moving now! I looked the set-up site over and realized many negative things, but I had hope on a couple of positive things as well. Directly between the gobbler and me were some tree-tops from an earlier lumbering operation. Directly to the right of this tree top was a small opening where a gobbler may walk through, and to my left was another opening. I had to try to be confident.

The one gobbler gobbled until 6:40. A second tom gobbled several times in that time frame.  I heard a primary wing feather rubbing against a limb. Gobblers here tend to just soar to the side of the hill and walk to the lower field. Gobblers roosting here can see two fields once daylight is upon them. Setting up without being spotted is very difficult. The shotgun remained in a semi-ready position most of that time. I sat like a stone until seven o’clock after the last gobble. The morning was done!

Later, I turned to the field behind me. I watched a lone hen eating.

I decided to head through the lower field and try to stir one up with lustful calling. I walked the field’s edge to another woodland setting. I walked a ways and stirred up nothing. I did, however, find three Box Turtles! Two of them were together.

The mile long walk across hills and hollows was hot as I arrived at the Jeep at 9:30.

 

Bobolink

Other interesting critters I saw was a Bobolink. I haven’t seen one of those birds in a very long time. I saw a buck, and some squirrels, too. I formulated another plan for tomorrow if I hunt. The plan is a very risky move on my part, but time will tell. However, the gobblers will need to be there as well!

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‘Possum!

The season since I bagged a gobbler has been interestingly slow in regards with gobbling. Today began  no    different. I heard a gobbler gobble about four times. I believe this may be the same bird for in past days I heard him gobble once, three. five times on a any given morning.

The turkey was roosted behind posted property. I hoped to get next to the line and call him out if possible. However, by the time I had crossed the road and creek and worked around his turkey talk had long been finished. Downhearted, I went back across the road to listen on the other side of the hill after all it still wasn’t even six-thirty in the morning. I sat down to listen and heard something walking. The source of the sound was an opossum! I squeaked the animal in to me before he smelled my stench and turned away.

Baby Red squirrel

I formulated another plan. I would again cross the road and bear left up a long hollow and move up and over the top. I would then work the property behind the posted property. Maybe, this gobbler would work into that area.

I called with some shrill yelps and immediately was cut off by a gobbler. I estimated him to be eighty yards or so.  The area he was in was a mixture of sassafras and maples. The diameters of most trees would be from 8-12 inches. The woodland floor was very open. No chance to move to this area. I had to settle to stay on top in old spruce trees.There he was at least! I might have a chance to work him. Silence was the norm. I waited to see what his next move might be. He gobbled on his on but had moved to my right. We played a little back and forth before he became silent and moved on. I feared hens finally lead him off and his interest in me waned.

I circumvented the property again and settled in on the opposite side of this hill. My plan was to head home at ten unless… I returned home at 10:30. I saw  some deer and a Grey Fox, too.

Yesterday, May 15th, I hunted until 1:30. I walked for miles calling and listening. The only bird I heard was in posted property and he gobbled only three times and way off. The remaining day was silent. I did bump a turkey from the edge of a farmer’s lane. I saw two Black Snakes. One rattled his tail like a rattlesnake!

Brown Thrasher

On the 14th of May I heard the gobbler one time. He was very far off and barely audible. I arrived to the site about an hour and fifteen minutes later. I called  before I circled the end of the hill. I walked up and over and gobbled and was immediately cut off by a gobble about 120-140 yards away. I had a glimmer of hope. He would not call again until I gobbled once more. He answered, but had moved off. I shocked gobbled him, but he wasn’t interested in my hen talk.

I returned to the jeep about noon and began heading home. I saw eight turkeys about a mile from where I was parked. As I circled the hunting area I spotted a longbeard moving through grassy areas towards to where I had heard the gobbler. Go figure?

Tomorrow the temps are to reach 90 degrees. My hunt shall be short. The allergies will be worse tomorrow. I struggled today.

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