Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

State Game Lands 304

I am guessing the last time I hiked on Pennsylvania Game Commission State Game Lands 304 was twelve to fifteen years ago. The timing of this venture was in late August or September. The Deer Tick explosion in my area of Pennsylvania was in full force. I parked along a township road and headed up and over a hill in that year. Memory and time cheats me of specifics, but I either called and had turkeys answer me or I simply hear turkeys and set up to call them in.

Skunk Cabbage

I set up armed with a camera and began turkey talk. Their interest was apparent as I waited to see the birds sneaking into camera zones.

Buffalo Creek

For whatever reason I looked down only to see many ticks crawling upon my camo pants and shirt. I began removing and killing before getting up and leaving. the turkeys would have to wait. I couldn’t stand all those ticks crawling on my clothes. I needed to act and remove and kill as needed!

Today, I revisited this particular game lands, but not at the exact place I had been those many years ago.

I walked down a slope and eventually walked alongside to Buffalo Creek. The creek was beautiful. As I walked along I went upslope before hearing the distinct sound of a hen turkey. She began yelping, cackling loudly followed by others. In short order a gobbler or two began gobbling. Fighting with loud purring was heard as well. The wings were beating  loudly as various birds pushed to maintain or gain positions in the pecking order. The birds were across the creek. I eased slowly in their direction and eventually could see turkey movement about a hundred yards away.

I soon saw a big strutting gobbler, his white “snowball” head could clearly be viewed as it appeared to glow. (Turkey hunters will know what that means.)  About a half-an-hour of this show ended abruptly with the turkeys starting to feed again. Sad to say I could not get any photos due to the thickness of limbs.

I heard and saw Wood Frogs. I, also, saw some Red-spotted Newts and a pair of Mallard Ducks.

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Yes, recently this week I ventured out in some cold weather with stiff breezes to hike around a game lands. I hunted bear at this site last fall and wanted to explore some areas I hadn’t ventured into as of date. Immediately upon leaving a gas well road to move upslope the signs of deer beds were prevalent.  This area was shielded from the wind gusts and I suspect the deer made use of that fact. Numerous tracks were present as I hiked this adventure. I would see three deer later during the hike.

I circled around the hill’s side and old long-abandoned highwalls to fight Multiflora Rose and autumn Olive. I still have several thorns embedded into my hands as I type.

Once I moved up onto the top flats of this hill the winds became more brisk. They felt, almost, as a personal attack on me. However, I was prepared for the cold.

Turkey scratchings

I spotted some exposed leaves among some downed trees and discovered turkeys had been scratching the day before. Several hundred yards away I

Deer bed

came across fresh tracks. the tracks soon led to six to eight turkeys. I managed a few quick photos. I actually broke the flock up. If the cold was so demanding and may have set up to call some back, but I elected to continue moving to keep the old blood moving.

I walked a quarter of a mile and heard something moving in the brush only to see an adult gobbler. The brush did not allow any photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cone of a Tamarack. (Larch)

 

Note the swollen left side of this deer’s head. 

Read Full Post »

Fresh Morning Snow

Before dawn I was busy cleaning the driveway from the several inches of fresh snow. The tractor’s battery had died and I decided to manually clean the drive instead of taking time to put the charger on the battery,

White-throated Sparrow

Interestingly, I soon began to hear the mating sounds from various birds. the Cardinal and Tufted Titmouse’s chirps were distinctive.  Soon I heard Canada geese and a pair flew over me honking away. nature’s mating season is in full force.

Later this day I would need to be ready to play at two nearby rest homes, but I managed to get several hours of hiking.

Deer tracks were numerous as I moved along. Fortunately, I spotted a deer bedded down among the fallen trees. I quickly located three more. I clicked some phots and moved on without spooking any of the three deer.

Birdlife was plentiful this morning. Cardinals, Juncos, White-throated Sparrows were common. I succeeded with getting some decent pics.

 

 

Cardinal in flight

 

 

Peek-a-boo

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Woodland’s Time

My friend, Frank “Muskie” Maus did out annual mid-winter hike time today. Frank wanted to explore some new woodland areas bordering a Pennsylvania Game Lands. He has a nephew who purchased some acreage with a home so the potential of hunting the area needed some exploration.  I have been on these particular game lands, at least, three or four times, but not on the acreage mentioned above.

 

Hill Country!

The area is typical with some old, long-abandoned, highwall mining sites, Autumn Olive and multiflora thickets.  While traveling through these wooded areas we saw plenty of deer tracks.

We circled the hill’s edge and returned to the road before traveling to another site familiar to Frankie as a hunter. AT this site we traveled along some high and steep river hills. We could see the mighty Allegheny River at times.

We didn’t make to this slope!

During this venture we saw around 10-12 Wild Turkeys. I arrived home after 1:00 so our time afield covered over four hours. Snow was still present in most of the areas we hiked. We, both, enjoy having some snow to help us see and observe tracks. Talks of another venture  were made and we discussed future fishing adventures.

Read Full Post »

Out In The Snow

Bald Eagle

Once the morning gloom dissipated I elected to get out in the snowy day and enjoy some woodland time. Snow fell all day, but never very hard. Also, any snow falling would remain on the light side. Rural roads, however, had some slick areas in spots.

I arrived at my destination near Cochran’s Mill to walk along the old Baker trail near the lower end of Cherry Run. I didn’t walk the trail exclusively   due to drainage issues of water and mud. Also, plenty of big trees were down across the trail throughout.  That was just fine since the area along the creek is much more attractive to gaze upon.

While walking I became a little down with my thoughts. I began thinking about the many areas I used to tramp upon and hunt that are now posted and/or developed. That made me sad. I find I am become increasingly discouraged with hunting due to such issues.

Nature seems to often find away to help clear such thoughts. Instinctively, I guess, I looked up to see a mature Bald Eagle coming up the hollow at treetop level. The beautiful bird turned and circled again and flew over allowing for one quick photo in an opening. The eagle seemed to telling me to not be down as the wings carried it up the hollow.

I would see three deer feeding along a field’s edge. Also, I saw a darkened mass in a cut corn field only to see a flock of Wild Turkeys. I managed a half a dozen pics.

 

Cherry Run

Later while moving along Cherry Run I noticed a brown ball of energy going upstream. The brown mass was a mink. I took two quick photos, but they were both hazy. The mink eventually went among a root system. I always enjoy seeing a mink in the wild. It is rare. I did get a good photo of a Mink  several years or so about half a mile upstream.

 

Read Full Post »

One of, at least, four illegal bucks I saw while hunting with my flintlock named, Old Jacob.

I have been very neglectful of my journal entries. There has been much going on between my step-father’s accident and a pulled calf muscle on my right leg. I did get some flintlock hunting in, but failed to connect. I never have had the blunders I had this past flintlock season. I “flubbed” ten shots. Most shots would have been down deer in the past, but for some reason, or reasons, I just didn’t fill a freezer. I came up with a thought late and that idea was to have prescription glasses made for distance and not these “progressive” lenses I currently have. maybe that will do the trick.

  One day I went out leaving my priming powder in another coat. I used the 2F powder from my primary loading horn. It is a coarser black powder. I

Notice the strutting gobblers.

eased up onto a feeding doe only to have a hang fire. The powder in the pan went off, but slower than normal. I actually witnessed the barrel move as the gun went off. One happy doe there my friends! I sense I may be having difficulty judging depth perceptions. I am getting older ya know.

I had two unbelievable mishaps this season. I came down over a steep high-wall onto a sphagnum moss area. This is the moss used in making peat moss. It is usually spongy to walk on. Suddenly I was up to my belt in muck and old moss. Either I, instinctively, leaned forward or naturally fell that way. Regardless I was stuck for a few moments and, to be honest, somewhat scared for a brief time. Eventually, I freed my left leg followed by my right leg. I was soaked. My arms were soaked too from falling forward. Of course, I used my flinter to aid in getting out by throwing it ahead to use as support.  Later, I had difficulty getting it to go off, but luckily managed to get enough dry powder moved around in the breech to shoot. My “possibles” bag was completely soaked including patching and such.  Luckily my camera in my shoulder bag didn’t get soaked for the fabric was somewhat water resistant, plus I always keep a plastic bag at the bottom of the shoulder bag.

Another incident occurred while being above another old strip mine. I was easing down at the mine’s edge to seek out a deer when my left leg suddenly went down into a fifteen to eighteen inch diameter hole.  I quickly removed my leg only to see where an old coal mine had shifted allowing for a hole to form hidden under goldenrods and grasses. Lucky me for I didn’t break anything.

  Now let’s get back to the title of this journal entry… Bald Eagles. A friend, Bob “Slim” Bowser contacted me about walking. I told him I was free on Tuesday (January 15, 2019.)and we planned a walk to Crooked Creek to  see if any Bald eagles could be viewed. We lucked out. We saw two mature Bald eagles and, at least, three immature ones on this dark and gloomy morning hike.

We even managed to get some photos of a pair of eagles settled onto an old snag. I met up with another photographer friend named, Craig Remaley. he takes great photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle track and wing marks in the snow.

 

Immature Eagle

 

 

Cherry Run Photos

 


Read Full Post »

Crooked Creek Time

I visited mom’s house early to do a few things in preparation of my step-father, Bob returning home from the hospital. He is believing he’ll be coming home soon. We will see!

Upon returning to my abode I decided to visit Crooked Creek Dam area to see how many Bald Eagles I could view.

I elected to walk a trail along the creek just below the dam’s outlet area. The water is high at the dam and those involved with water control were allowing a swift flow exploding from the outflow. I saw one eagle flying over me and away, but I didn’t get any photos.

 

Seed pods from a Sycamore Tree.

My next stop was to park in the park and walk to the partly flooded beach area. I would see three more Bald Eagles during this walk and watch    adventure. None of these majestic birds offered any good photos, so I simply enjoyed watching.

Also, on the lake were Common Mergansers. I fact there were quite a few  of these birds. I would see three deer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boulder Fern

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »