A Mid Summer Hike In The Penrose Swamp Barrens Preserve.
Cooler and less humid weather arrived here in Northeastern Pennsylvania last Saturday. It was sunny with temperatures in the mid 50’s, Saturday morning, perfect hiking weather. I decided to hike in the Penrose Swamp Barrens again. It is becoming another one of my favorite hiking trails. The newly acquired 2700 acre tract of pristine woodlands is now part of the Weiser Stare Forest. It is located mostly in Carbon County and I accessed it on the Buck Mountain Road.
I walked in on an access road that took me to a utility power line. I was surprised there was no bird song in the woodlands. I have encountered many birds here on my previous hikes. It was very quiet on this cool morning. I think the insects are inactive in the cool temperatures and so are the birds that feed on them. It’s just a theory, not really sure.
It is mid Summer now and the profusion of Spring flowers is over. There were not many flowers blooming along the trail, there were a few oxeye daisies, look closely and you will the white crab spider on the flower.
There were large patches of the American climbing or Hartford fern.
And the Indian or ghost pipes were also prevalent in the woodlands along the trail. This strange looking plant is not a fungus but a flowering member of the blueberry family that does not produce chlorophyll.
This was once known as Hazle Junction where the Beaver Meadows, the Hazleton and the Buck Mountain railroads intersected. All three first hauled coal down to the Lehigh Canal. The Beaver Meadows was the first. It was established in the 1830’s. I followed a road along railroad tracks ,
and a few eastern towhees . Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Penrose Swamp Barrens birds July 22 2023.
I had walked out about 2 1/2 miles and decided to start my hike back to my Jeep. The strong July sun had warmed the cool morning air causing cumulus clouds to form in the clear blue skies. It was perfect walking weather.
After wading through the knee deep puddle again, I came to the utility right of way and now found the thistle and knapweed flowers were being visited by many species of bees and butterflies. The most common were the great spangled fritillary butterflies. There were dozens of them feeding on the nectar of the many knapweed and bull thistle flowers blooming along the trail.
There were also a few very similar Aphrodite fritillary butterflies,
a few common wood nymph butterflies.,
this ocola skipper moth .
and a spice bush swallowtail butterfly. .
I only saw one monarch butterfly. I relied on my insect ID apps on my iPhone for these identifications so I hope they are correct. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the butterflies I saw on my hike. Penrose Swamp Barrens butterflies July 22 2023.
Although I didn’t see many species of birds on this hike, or a bear or rattle snake, I was content to enjoy the delicate beauty of the butterflies and dragonflies. There is beauty in nature everywhere, if you just keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photos from my five mile hike. Penrose Swamp Barrens July 22 2023.
“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.“ – Albert Einstein