A Week Of Walks , Weather And Wildlife Around Lake Irena At My Local Community Park.

A Week Of Walks , Weather And Wildlife Around Lake Irena At My Local Community Park.

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Community Park, and it’s scenic Lake Irena, are located near my home in Hazle Township,  Luzerne County.  I have been a visitor here since I was a young child. I  am pretty sure my first visit was in the  Spring before I was in school.  I remember well that  the sunny cold day. It had to be late April or early May when my dad took me and my siblings to the park. We  walked down and threw rocks in Lake Irena. In my imaginative childish mind it  was like visiting an ocean. We would visit often, usually in early Spring. However as the years passed the visits to the park became less frequent. Little League, Cub Scouts and exploring the woods of Green Ridge with my friends ended the visits to the park and Lake Irena for many years. 

I only recently rediscovered the beauty of the park and Lake Irena. Instead of taking a lunch break,  I now take an afternoon walk here as often as I can. I enjoy sharing the natural beauty I find here, including views of picturesque Lake Irena, plants, wildflowers and, occasionally, some wildlife. This past week I was able to get in a hike every afternoon. On Monday we had seasonable November  weather when I arrived at the park. It was partly cloudy with temperatures near 50 degrees.  The clouds floating above Lake Irena created an almost postcard like photograph. 

I took my usual  walk around the lake and found that the   mallard ducks I saw last week were still here. 

There were four of them,  two males and two females. The colorful heads of the males shone when the sun peeked through  the clouds. 

The clouds, and wind, increased as I walked around the lake. 

In the Summer I usually walk  on the trail into the surrounding woodlands, to look for song birds, wildflowers and insects.  However, since there is not much to photograph in the woodlands in bleak November, I took three walks around the lake. Almost all of the leaves have fallen from the trees. The ones that remain lost their colors and have become a dull brown color. The somber color of winter. 

As I walked along the  lake I was surprised to see  a foursome of bufflehead ducks near the shore. I saw one last week and but  it remained in the middle of the lake making it difficult to photogrpah. .

These buffleheads were closer to sure but quickly swam away from me as I approached  and,

then flew off, to the middle of the lake. 

I finished up my three mile hike on Monday without seeing any other birds or wildlife. 

I returned to the lake on Tuesday afternoon.  The temperature was about the same, there was a light breeze, and the skies were clearer. Only a few white clouds floated over Lake Irena. The waters were deep, blue reflecting the skies. 

Walking around Lake Irena  I came upon the foursome of mallard ducks on the far wooded end of the lake.

As I was watching the ducks this pie-billed grebe swam close to shore.

I watched as it dived into the blue waters of the lake searching for food. 

Leaving the birds and continuing my hike I ventured into the surrounding woodlands. There was still some color on some of the oak trees. 

Here I saw this deer. 

She saw me too and quickly ran into the woods,

and joined a few other deer. They watched me watching them for a few minutes before running into the woods.

I returned to the lake and finished my Tuesday hike under the rays of the weak November sun. 

When I returned to the park on Wednesday the skies were overcast  with  seasonably cool  temperatures in the mid 40’s,

It was a somber and gloomy November day. 

I didn’t see any living creature on two walks around the lake,

so I decided to hike into the surrounding woodlands. There was nothing stirring here either, except the leaves. Only a few fishermen were seen on my three mile hike in the park.

On  Thursday I again returned to the park in the afternoon.  Once again the weather changed.  It was partly sunny and a lot milder. It was more like later September or early October than mid November. 

I hoped the warm temperatures, in the mid 50’s, would bring about some wildlife activity. But there was none.  The only critters I saw on my three mile hike were a few crows that flew overhead.

There were more folks walking the trails along the lake on Thursday but the ducks and grebe were no where to be seen on my three mile hike. 

There was an even bigger change in the weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday. A cold front passed through overnight dropping the temperatures into the low 30’s in the morning. The temperature was still only 37 degrees when I began another walk in the park. 

It was blustery and only one brave fisherman was in the park on my first walk around the park. 

I didn’t see the mallards or the grebe but there were a pair of  male bufflehead ducks swimming on the rough waters in the middle of the lake. 

Walking under the mostly bare trees, I heard, then saw a few of these friendly Winter resident birds, black-capped chickadees. 

And, along the wooded area on the north side of Lake Irena, I saw about a thirty  Canada geese along the shore.

They quickly swam away from me  but still stayed close to the shore.

I think they were just resting on their migration south, to warmer waters and better feeding areas.  Here is a link to a gallery on my  blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hikes this past week. Community Park birds, November 15-19 2021 

I didn’t see any more wildlife on my walk on Friday afternoon. The fisherman had left Lake Irena too. There only another brave woman walking around the lake as I wish finishing my three mile hike. It wasn’t a pleasant walk with the cold wind blowing from the north And it will only get colder in the coming days. 

I will still hike in the park and along the lake in the coming Winter months, but I am sure there will be fewer opportunities to photograph wildlife, especially once the lake freezes over. However, I am hopeful there will be some critters stirring, and Lake Irena will provide for some beautiful wintery scenery folks too. But I am already looking forward to Spring and the return of the robins and song birds. 

“Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.”  William Wordsworth 

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