A Spectacular Last Day Of May At The State Game Lands In Luzerne County.

A Spectacular Last Day Of May At The State Game Lands In Luzerne County.

State Game lands 119 (22 of 39)
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May came to an end like it started here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,  with below average temperatures. Our heat wave ended on Saturday and  Sunday was clear with cool temperatures in the 40’s when I drove back to State Game Lands 119 in Dennison Township in Luzerne County. I hoped to see the mother bear and her cubs that I encountered last week. Or maybe one of the large male bears I had seen on prior hikes. 

 I left my Jeep at the parking lot and proceeded to walk on the main access road to the game lands.  Most of the  trees in the woodlands along the trail were now covered in newly sprouted leaves. The  deep blue skies provided a pretty contrast as the leaves   shimmered  in the early morning sunlight.

Even the oaks , always late, were turning green. 

I re-traced my steps from last week, following the main road to the abandoned railroad right-of-way that led to the Black Diamond trail  at the bottom of the ridge. It is about a 1 1/2 mile hike to the trail. 

Near the start of the trail I saw a flock of cedar wax-wings feeding in a tree. 

It  appeared that they  were eating the young buds on the tree. 

An  eastern towhee joined them in the tree, not to feed, but to sing its morning song to the woodlands. 

I walked down the trail and through a wetland where  I have encountered quite a few bears over the past few years. None were seen on this beautiful cool morning. 

Pink azalea or, as my dad called them wild honeysuckle were scattered along the trail. These  delicate flowers only blooms for a few days in May but provide so much color to the Spring scenery when they are in bloom. 

On the ground I found patches of yellow star grass. 

Walking further down the trail I came to the  area I saw the mother bear and her cubs along the Nescopeck Creek. I walked down to the creek and looked around.  hoping to see them again but they were not here this week. 

Disappointed, I walked to the Black Diamond  section of the D & L trail and followed it up to Moosehead Lake. Along the way I saw a number of bicyclists riding the trail in both directions. 

I stopped at the lake to take a break and watched the puffy cumulus clouds forming on the western horizon. 

There was a Baltimore oriole and ,

  a red -eyed vireo singing in the treetops near the lake. 

It was a perfect day to be out doors and reflect on the beauty that surrounds us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After my short  rest I walked past the wetlands alongside the trail and listened to the croaking of the frogs and the  hash  cries and singing of the many red-winged blackbirds that live there. 

It was a nice 1 1/2 hike down the trail. The trail was now surrounded by  the green leaves freshly sprouted on the trees. 

Singing in one of them was this American redstart. 

These elusive birds were heard throughout my hike, but this one seemed to pose for my camera. 

Once again I hiked up another old  railroad right-of-way and past another small lake. I had hoped to see a kingfisher, heron or an osprey here but not on this hike, just the beautiful landscape and

this chipping sparrow (I think).

No bears yet on my hike, and I had one more opportunity, another wetland I had to cross on my way back up the ridge.  Unfortunately no bear encounter on this hike. 

I did see a few oven birds fluttering in the trees.

It was about a mile hike back to the access road where I parked and then  another 3/4 of a mile to my Jeep. 

One more bird came near enough for me to photograph, a black and  white warbler. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. State Game Lands Dennison Township May 31 2020.

It was now early afternoon. It took me about 4 1/2 hours to complete my 7 mile hike in the game lands. No record pace there, but  well spent time it was enjoying the beauty of our are and keeping my eyes peeled. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike. State Game Lands Dennison Township. May 31 2020.

“The blooming spring is the smile of the ever-joyful nature.”
― Debasish Mridha

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