Afternoon Hikes At Community Park: Bugs, Flowers And More Cool Stuff

Afternoon Hikes At Community Park: Bugs, Flowers And More Cool Stuff

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These past few months  I have been taking a lot of afternoon hikes in my local Community Park near my home here  in Hazle Township Luzerne County. Before the corona virus  restrictions I would join my nephew, and law partner, for lunch.  Since the restaurants are now closed I use  the time I spent eating lunch walking. I miss the lunches, but enjoy my  hikes exploring  the park, lake and surrounding woodlands.

Last Friday it was cloudy when I arrived at the park . We had some heavy rains  the day before and the creek that feeds the lake was overflowing as it left he lake.  

I took a walk around the lake, and into the surrounding woodlands. I did  not see much wildlife or insect activity  but still enjoyed the peace and quiet of the park. 

As I was leaving I did  some upon these two domestic ducks which, unfortunately, I  learned , may have been left by an uncaring  owner.  It began to rain so I left, but returned to try and locate them but I didn’t see them again. I am hoping they are safe. The owner probably purchased them as cute young ducklings at Easter  but decided they were too much trouble as they matured.  Irresponsible and sad. 

The next couple of hikes at the park were on sunny and hot  days. Perfect Summer weather and I  love to hike in the heat. 

I begin my hikes with a walk along the shores of Lake Irena. It is about  a 3/4 mile hike walk around the lake. I look for insects and frogs in the large patches of pickerelweed growing on the shores of the lake. As usual the many species of  dragonflies and

grasshoppers are  everywhere. 

One could spend an entire day watching and photographing these seldom noticed residents of our area. 

The steeplebush, 

meadowsweet and even the goldenrod growing along the lake also attracted interesting and colorful insects. 

Many wasps bees and beetles could be seen on all of  these flowers. 

The mid summer  flowers also attracted some butterflies including this swallowtail butterfly and

this one I used to know but forgot. I am sorry, I wish I had more time to try and identify all of these interesting insects but it is hard enough for me to just edit the photos and put a quick blog together.  Remember, I am still working at my law office so my time is so limited. But I do love sharing the photos on my blog.  So any help with the identifications would be appreciated. 

  I hiked at the lake three days  last week. Each day seeing some another species of dragonfly,

or grasshopper.

I heard a lot of frogs jumping into the water on my hikes but wasn’t able to photograph any of them. But, while walking around the lake a catbird, 

and chipmunk both got close enough to allow me to capture a photograph with my macro lens. I did not see  any other wildlife on my walks. 

Leaving the lake I walked into the surrounding woodland and  I headed to a patch of milkweed,  hoping to find some more monarch butterfly caterpillars. I didn’t find a one but I I did find this bee on a milkweed leaf. 

There were also some midsummer flowers in bloom in the woodlands, including this bull thistle,

some touch-me-nots 

and coneflowers. 

As I returned to the lake I found a few giant puffball mushrooms in a field near the trail. I love this edible mushroom but they were to old to harvest. 

A little further on I found another mushroom, the poison pigskin puffball. As it’s name implies it is poisonous and will make you sick. And,  it is not really a puffball. My dad called them “shoe polish mushrooms” since he and his young friends would slice the immature mushrooms and use the slimy blue pores inside as shoe polish. My brothers and I would toss the old mushrooms at each other and laugh as they exploded in a cloud of mushroom spores. 

On my afternoon hikes I would return to the lake an walk around one more time hoping to find some interesting plant, insect bird or animal. This past week I didn’t see anything exotic or rare like a bald eagle or snake, but I enjoyed the simple beauty of the water lilies in bloom, 

a dragonfly on a lily pad, 

or a delicate flower like a lady’s thumb o

marsh St. John’s wort,

or the delicate wings of another dragonfly. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of some insects I saw on my afternoon hikes. . Community park insects August 7 to 12 2020.

The peak of Summer is now past, and the days grow shorter and nights longer, but there will still be plenty of warm sunny days and I hope to spend some more of them here at Community park. Here is a link to some more photographs from my afternoon hikes. Community Park hikes August 7 to 12 2020. 

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”— Henry James





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