It’s Been A While, A Pleasant Hike Looking For Signs Of Spring At Community Park.
Time seems to pass so quickly for me now in my older years. It is hard to believe it has been six months since my last visit to the Community Park near my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne County. Summer was ending early September when I last hiked here. I enjoy my afternoon hikes at the park in the warmer months. There is not much wildlife here in the Winter and I take my afternoon walks near my home in the colder months.
Well the calendar says that Spring has returned so I decided to take an afternoon hike at Community Park on Friday. It was mostly cloudy and cool when I arrived. I walked down to scenic Lake Irena. This lake brings back some of my earliest memories. I remember my dad bringing us out there in the Spring when I was a young child. I know I wasn’t in the first grade when I was so excited to walk through the woods and down to the lake with my brother and sister. I loved throwing rocks in the water. It seems like yesterday, and , as I said, time passes even quicker these days.
There was only one other person at the lake when I started my hike, a lone fisherman. And there was a few birds including this white breasted nuthatch scampering down a tree. These birds don’t migrate south and remain here in our area during the Winter.
I took the trail around the lake and was hoping to see some migrating water fowl,
and I did. There was a small flock of ring neck ducks swimming in the middle of the lake.
This is a male. The females are brown. I watched the ducks and then continued my hike around the lake.
On the far end of the lake I heard the honking of Canada geese and saw a small group of the noisy geese,
some starting to pair up for the breeding season. It won’t be long until goslings are swimming on the lake.
I walked around the lake and took a second lap. There weren’t any plants growing yet up on the mountain. The woodlands around the lake were still bare and a drab brown, except for the green pine trees,
and the mountain laurel growing near the lake.
After my second walk around the lake I followed another trail into the surrounding woodlands,
to check out some vernal ponds. And, as I had hoped I heard the croaking of wood frogs as I approached. The frogs were in a small pond and most of them submerged below the water when they saw me, all but this one.
However, there was some evidence of what they were up to in the waters of the pond, large masses of eggs the females had deposited in the cold Spring waters. The eggs will quickly hatch and the tadpoles develop before the sun and heat of Summer dry up these small ponds.
After visiting the ponds I returned to Lake Irena and took one last walk around the lake. This time a saw a few crows fly overhead,
and this gray squirrel run across the trail.
This time I saw another sign of Spring on the far end of the lake, where a stream enters the lake. A pair of mallard ducks.
As is usual in the bird world, the mail is brightly colored,
This male didn’t mind getting it’s phot taken. They are not as skittish as their cousins the wood ducks who flee as soon as I approach. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog site with some more photos from my hike. Community Park March 24 2023.
Although it was cool and cloudy, and the trees were still bare, it is Spring. I was glad to hike in the park and see the signs of the season of rebirth that is about to unfold. Spring is a wonderful time of year here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and Community Park is a wonderful please to watch it unfold.
Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible. Mary Oliver