Another Hike In State Game Lands 119 And Still Not A Bear In Sight

Another Hike In State Game Lands 119 And Still Not A Bear In Sight

State game lands birds (4 of 33)
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I am a determined person. I still haven’t seen a bear on any of  hikes this year.  So, early Sunday morning, I was back in State Game Lands 119 in Dennison Township,  Luzerne County trying to find one. As I have noted in previous blog posts, I saw at least one bear on almost every hike I took in State Game Lands 119 in June and July for the last five years. Not this year. I haven’t seen a bear on at least a dozen hikes in State Game Lands 119.  

So I arrived early again on Sunday morning, around 7:30 a.m. under cloudy skies. As I began my hike I realized I wasn’t the only one out for an early walk. This deer was watching me as I walked toward her.

She appeared curious, until I got too close, and she finally ran off into the woods.

Last week I was able to photograph a female yellowthroat warbler. This week a male posed fro some photos on a branch above the trail. 

It looked like it had just woke up and was doing some  morning stretches

There were also a couple of black-capped chickadees and 

a red-eyed vireo.

I followed my usual hike route  on the main access road and found some wildflowers still blooming including St. John’s wort, and 

some late blooming daisies. 

As usual, after about a mile I turned to the left and followed an old railroad right-of way for about a 1 1/2 down to the D& L Trail. It is here I would often see bears feeding on the berries in the wetlands along the trail. But there were no bears on Sunday. I struck out again. 

As I  followed the trail, I found a few mushrooms including this voluminous milk cap, 

some blackberries and

this slug. 

It was still overcast when I reached the D & L Trail and hiked it up to Moosehead lake. 

There were a lot of wildflowers growing along the trails, including the tall stalks of he  invasive common mullein. It’s soft wooly leaves have be used as emergency toilet paper by some outdoor folks.

Also growing along the trail, and attracting many bees, butterflies and insects was another invasive flower, the spotted knapweed.

And another invasive, but pretty wildflower was also in bloom. Bouncing Bet  or soapwort was one of the first invasive flowers to escape in the early American colonies. 

Another invasive wildflower, yellow toadflax, was also in bloom These flowers remind me of my childhood where many grew in the wooded lots near my home.

The only native flowers in bloom along the trail were the milkweeds, although most have already bloomed and formed their seed pods.

Of course with al of these flowers in bloom I saw a lot of insects including bees, 

and this swallowtail butterfly. 

When I arrived at Moosehead Lake I stopped and explored the large wetland on the opposite side of the trail from the lake. 

It was covered with pretty white and pink water lilies an

pond lilies. 

Scanning the wetlands I saw a few great  blue herons fly overhead and land in the wetlands. 

The pair of king birds had returned and were in a large trail near Moosehead Lake. 

There were a few catbirds, this is a female perched  on branch in the wetlands. 

And I am not sure about this one, my birder friends tell me it’s a  female Baltimore Oriole but I am not convinced this is correct. Any thoughts? 

Once again I left the D & L Trail near a small lake,

and followed another railroad right-of-way back to the access road to the Game Lands. 

Near the lake I saw a few more birds including this cedar waxwing  ,

a chipping sparrow and

a white-breasted nuthatch. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog webpage with more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike in State Game Lands 119 Dennison Township State Game Lands July 25 2021. 

After leaving the lake the trail proceeds uphill under the thick canopy of second growth trees growing in the game lands. 

Under the shade of the trees I found some more mushrooms including  a few of these  colorful cinnabar-red  chanterelles.

I followed the trail through another wetland. hoping to get one last chance at seeing a bear. Nope, struck out again, I did. I continued to the Hollenback access road and followed it for about  3/4 of a mile back to the parking lot and my Jeep. 

On the way I was treated  one last look at nature’s beauty, I think a great spangled fritillary butterfly feeding on a bull thistle along the trail. 

Once again I failed to find a bear, but I still enjoyed my three hour, seven mile hike. It is a wonderful and peaceful way to spend a Summer day. And I still have a few months until those bears hibernate. I will find one!!! Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Dennison Township State Game Lands July 25 2021.  

“No matter how few possessions you own or how little money you have, loving wildlife and nature will make you rich beyond measure.”  ― Paul Oxton

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