Cool Clouds, Mushrooms And Birds: Another Afternoon Hike In Community Park
Just some quick observations, and a few photographs, from an afternoon hike at the Community Park near my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County this past week. It was a typical late August day on Monday. It was warm and humid with temperatures in the 70’s. Cumulus clouds floated in the skies above Lake Irena when I arrived.
The first thing I noticed as I began my hike was the disappearance of the beautiful purple pickerelweed flowers that only a week earlier surrounded the lake. Most of the flowers were gone and the leave were withering and brown.
The absence of the pickerelweed flowers also meant the absence of the many bees, wasps, butterflies, dragonflies and other insects that feed on their pollen and nectar. I didn’t see any bees or butterflies on my hike and only a few dragonflies,
The large flock of Canada geese had returned. The geese weren’t there on my last few hikes and I suspect they are feeding in the surrounding fields and farms, in anticipation of their migration next month.
August was a very rainy, warm and humid month and there were many species of colorful mushrooms growing under the mainly oak and maple woodlands. This is one of the many varieties of red russula mushrooms,
these are called poison pigskin puffballs but are actually a variety of earthball mushroom. They are poisonous.
There were also a lot of bolete mushrooms. Many of these mushrooms are edible. The aspen scaber and birch scaber bolete mushrooms are the only mushrooms my dad taught us to pick at a very young age. I didn’t find any of them but I did find, and took home, some edible burnt orange bolete,
I also found this oak apple gall along the trail . These unusual plant growths are produced by a wasp. Through a complex process they somehow make an oak leaf produce the gall and they lay an egg inside of it. Pretty cool.
It was another afternoon hike three mile hike in this beautiful park so close to home. As I often say, you don’t have to travel the world to find the beauty of nature, it’s in our own back yards, you just got to keep you eyes peeled and go look for it. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from another afternoon hike in Community Park. Community Park August 30 2021.