Lake Irena : I Didn’t Have To Go Far From Home To Find Some Of Nature’s Beauty
We enjoyed a beautiful sunny afternoon here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I had planned to head to the PPL Wetlands after work yesterday, but I was delayed, and instead I decided to visit a local area I often overlook, Community Park in Hazle Township. Located a few miles from my home I remember first visiting the park, it’s pretty lake Irena and the old rusty water pump before I was in elementary school.
My dad would take us here, usually on a Sunday morning, and show us the wonders of nature. It has changed a lot, there are a lot of new additions, including a playground for the children, more picnic tables , and memorials to our Veterans, a local sheriff and his family, and a local service club.
The old water pump is gone and I believe it was near this gazebo. I still vividly remember pulling the old handle on the pump and coaxing water from the ground.
It was usually very desolate when we visited when I was young, but not yesterday, there were many people, young and old, enjoying the park on this sunny Spring afternoon.
I walked down to beautiful Lake Irena, a popular local fishing spot and hoped to see some wildlife on my walk around it’s shores. I walked by a few fisherman and a lot of young folks walking along the lake but was very disappointed when I hardly seen any wildlife. I saw a few robins and heard a few black capped chickadees but nothing else. Not even anything in the wetlands on the northern side of the lake.
I headed back to my car, having enjoyed the hike and wondering why there were no critters, which seem to be everywhere this time of year. I was near my car, and ready to head for home when I saw a large northern raven in a tree near the gazebo.
I walked over and spent about ten minutes watching him watch me and hop from branch to branch in the large oak tree he was perched. I always enjoy watching these birds. There are a few living in the cemetery near my home . They are highly intelligent birds. I was looking up taking a photograph when he starting cawing and I saw a large hawk appear overhead. He immediately gave chase after the hawk, too fast for me to get any photographs. Here is a link to some more photographs of the raven https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/birds-of-pennsylvania/nggallery/birds-of-pennsylvania/northern-raven
I decided to take one more walk around the lake in hopes of seeing either the raven or the crow. And I am very glad I did. it seemed the woods along the lake came to life. I first saw this beautiful palm warbler hopping among the brush along the lake. Here is a link to a few more photographs of the palm warbler. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/birds-of-pennsylvania/nggallery/birds-of-pennsylvania/palm-warbler
I heard the rapping of woodpeckers in the old oaks further from the lake, watched a number of swallows fluttering over the lake, and saw a few a few tufted titmice in the trees.
I also now saw a number of squirrels and chipmunks scampering through the woods.
And now there was even life in the waters and wetlands. I saw many a frog jumping into the waters, too fast fro me and my camera but I was able to capture this turtle getting some late afternoon sun.
I was very surprised how the woods along the lake came alive on my second walk and, as I walked past the old fireplace, I was treated to one last surprise.
As I walked along the lake I noticed a small bird wading along the shore. It looked like it was foraging for food along the water’s edge.
I never saw one like it and I watched it fly a short distance and land along the shore and continue its search for food. I took a few photographs and learned it was a spotted sandpiper. Here are a few more photographs I took of spotted sandpiper.https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/birds-of-pennsylvania/nggallery/birds-of-pennsylvania/spotted-piper
The sun was now getting low in the western sky so I decided to head home but I was glad I decided this often overlooked park right in our backyard, And I was even more glad I decided to take the second walk along the lake. I am sure i will return to the park and it’s many wild critters. It proves, once again, you don;t have to travel far to find the beauty of nature, you just got to, like my dad used to say, keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike to Hazle Township Community park and lake Irena.https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/community-park-hazle-township-april-27-2016
“With beauty before me, may I walk
With beauty behind me, may I walk
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
Wandering on the trail of beauty, may I walk”
– Navajo: Walking Meditation