Enjoying Nature Under The Changing Skies At Community Park

Enjoying Nature Under The Changing Skies At Community Park

Commuity Park (38 of 40)
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I returned  to the local Community Park near my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County for a few more  afternoon hikes these past  two weeks. I love my hikes out here. I have been visiting the park since I was six years old. 

I begin my leisurely 3 mile hikes by walking,   at least once, around   Lake Irena,  taking time to  look for  the plentiful   beauty of nature  I always find here, especially in the warmer months.  It could be a bald eagle,  an insect, a frog or some other  critter, or a plant,  flower or mushroom.  I enjoy sharing the beauty I find with folks here on my blog and on social media .  And I also enjoy the beauty of  the lake itself. . I love it on a clear day , when it reflects the  blue skies, and even more when there are some clouds  are in the skies of the lake.  

Every cloudy day creates a different scene as the lake reflects the clouds, and taking in the beauty of the changing skies is part of the enjoyment I get from my hikes. 

The lake and sky  creates so many breathtaking images even on a mostly cloudy day.

And the scenery changes as I walk from the around  the lake, from the bridge at the overspill at the front of the lake,  

past  the woodlands and wetlands  at the other end of the lake,

tp where  a small stream  flows into the lake. 

These photos  were from my hikes these past two weeks.

As I often do,  I encountered  a lot of folks enjoying the small  and well maintained park, and scenic lake. Some folks fished along  it’s shore , other walked along the lake, alone or with  friends and family.  Other jogged or biked around the  lake. 

These past weeks I also saw a couple of birds enjoying the beauty of the lake, this great blue heron, 

and this double crested cormorant. 

I saw both birds on all of my walks these past two weeks. . I only got close  the great blue heron once, when it was stalking some prey  where the stream enters the lake. I watched patiently as it stalked it’s  prey,  a dragonfly, a frog, small fish, or even a small snake.  It was unsuccessful and flew a short distance,

and landing on a rock a short distance from the shore. I love seeing  their wings extended as they land. 

I saw the cormorant perched on the same log on all of my walks. Sometimes with would look at me as I approached,

other times it would be drying it’s wings in the sun,

but it wouldn’t fly off when I approached, instead it would slowly slip off of the log and dive into the waters of the lake. 

I didn’t see any other birds on or around the lake on these mid-Summer hikes. The mallard ducks and Canada geese that were there earlier in the Spring and Summer were gone, the only other wildlife I saw were a  few American bull frogs, 

and a lot of insects, including a few  species of dragonflies I hadn’t seen before this year ,  this eastern amberwing dragonfly,

this striped emerald dragonfly , and 

this pretty ruby meadowhawk dragonfly. I don’t believe I  have ever seen one before. 

I also saw a few  widow skimmer dragonflies and 

slaty skimmer dragonflies. I had seen these on many of my previous hikes. 

There were  still a lot of pickerelweed flowers  blooming along the shores of the lake,

 and others flowers  like the white meadowsweet which  attracted a  brown belted bumble bee,

and this knapweed flower visited by a great spangled fritillary butterfly. I want to remind everyone I am no expert in flora or fauna identification and rely on my iPhone apps so I could be wrong, if  I am please correct me. 

After walking around the lake I usually hike on a trail into the surrounding woodlands. 

Here I found  some mushrooms growing.  We had a lot of rain in August and I saw many species of colorful mushrooms  on my walks including the pretty but poisonous jack’ o’ lantern mushrooms, 

many species of russula  mushrooms,

a Berkeley polypore, 

a blusher amanita

a violet cort 

and this poison pigskin puffball, which is not a puff ball but is really an earthstar, Growing on it  was  a parasitic bolete mushroom, which is edible.  . 

There wasn’t a lot of bird activity in the woodlands around the park, I saw a few eastern phoebes, 

and this turkey vulture that flew overhead. 

I also saw a few white tail deer on my hikes including this buck   Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photos of the critters I saw on my hikes. Community Park critters August 14 to 17 2023. 

There were also some wildflowers growing in the woodlands including native sneezeweed, 

and prairie fleabane flowers, and, 

invasive oxeye daisies, this one visited by a zebra longhorn beetle, 

Queen Anne’s lace flowers, this one with a blue  mud wasps 

and this autumn hawkbit  visited by a pearl crescent butterfly, 

It usually takes be about an 1 1/2 to take my 3 mike hike. It seems I always find something interesting and beautiful to share on my walks in Community Park. I think, if I had the time,  I could  spend my entire day exploring the park in the Summer. Unfortunately, my time is limited which explains the many mistakes you may find in my blog post. But, I  really love to share the beauty I find on this planet on the years I have left. God willing I will have a few more years, or decades, hiking in  our Community Park, on our local Rails to trails, and in the woods of  Pennsylvania, the United States and else on this wonderful planet we share. And I will always keep my eyes peeled. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hikes. Community Park August 14 to 17 2023. 

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.   Ralph Waldo Emerson

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