Late Summer Walks In Community Park , One With A Great Blue Heron
Late August and September are the peak months of mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. So most my afternoons are usually spent foraging for the many species of edible wild mushrooms I love to find, eat and share with family and friends. But, I was still able take a couple of hikes in the Community Park near my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County these past few weeks.
And, as usual I took a lot of photos of plants and animals I saw on my hikes, which I enjoy sharing here on my blog and on social media. I feel by sharing the beauty of nature I find that surrounds us may help folks realize we must protect what is left of our rapidly diminishing woodlands. I usually walk around Lake Irene first, and on one of my hikes the lake was deep blue reflecting the clear blue skies, ,
And as usual, I did see a few critters, wildflowers and critters on my hikes. The double crested cormorant, which I saw on previous walks was there one more time, on my first hike in this blog. I got a few photos as it was perched on the same log as my previous sightings. .
It didn’t seem to mind me taking it’s photo and actually seemed to pose for me. It was the last pose. It was gone when I returned for my next hike and I haven’t seen it since. They do not nest here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They breed in Canada and are only passing through on their way to the Southern United States and the Gulf Coast for the Winter. Smart birds
There weren’t many birds near the lake on my last few hikes but I did see this eastern phoebe and
this eastern towhee along the lake.
A few turkey vultures flew over on the stormy afternoon hike.
I found this freshwater snail shell along the lake, and I am not sure if it is one of our 63 native snail sor invasive one. I think it is an invasive Chinese mystery snail and I am going to report in on the invasive species website Here is the link https://www.paimapinvasives.org/gallery-2-chinese-mystery-snail
On one of my last hikes I was surprised to see a small flock of black throated blue warblers. I usually see these birds on my hikes in deeper more remote woodlands. Like the cormorants, phoebes, and towhees I think they are already migrating south. They are beautiful birds and I love hearing their songs on my Summer hikes.
There were some wildflowers blooming on the trail in the woodlands, and where there are flowers there are usually insect, and there were on my hikes. This eastern bumblebee was gathering pollen or nectar from a spotted knapweed flower,
On the leaves of some milkweed plants I saw a few caterpillars that feed exclusively on milkweed plants, tussock moth caterpillars,
and, I was both glad and sad to see one monarch butterfly caterpillar. I was glad to see this beautiful caterpillar which will transform into a beautiful monarch butterfly, but sad because I only saw one my hikes. I once saw dozens, if not hundreds in late Summer. They are endangered due to loss of habitat both here and in their Winter homes in the Southwest United States and Mexico.
I also encountered a lot of these interesting looking critters on my hikes. It is a spined micrathena or castleback orbweaver spider.
I walked into quite a few of their webs , face first, on my hikes here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They like to spin their webs across trails. I don’t like removing the webs, dead insects, and sometimes a lively spider from my face, but it is a good sign, on my mushroom forages, that no one was in may spots. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the wildlife I saw on my hikes. Community Park wildlife August/September 2023
Walking in the woods in late Summer, especially after it rains, I always find mushrooms and other fungi growing on the ground. And I saw quite a few on my walks in Community Park, but, unfortunately, not a lot of edible ones. I saw a few of these pretty reddish pink russula mushrooms. I am not sure of the exact species, Some are edible but I am not sure so I don’t eat any of them.
And this one , one to avoid, a deadly destroying angel. Inexperienced folks has become sick or even died from harvesting wild mushrooms. So be careful. It is a great hobby but it takes a bit of research. If you want to forage for mushrooms the best way is to attend one of the programs many of the State Parks sponsor.
I was hoping to see it capture a fish, frog or maybe even a snake but it only snatched a few dragonflies while I watched. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the great blue heron. Community Park heron August/September 2023
Storm clouds moved in while I watched the great blue heron and I heard the rumble of distant thunder. There was a severe thunderstorm warning in our area but not until later in the evening. At first I thought the storm would miss us and continued on my hike. However, the winds picked up and the thunder claps got closer very quickly. I walked quickly to my Jeep making it their just as a torrential rain began to Fall. It was a sever storm but it dropped a lot of rain. I didn’t mind, mushrooms love rain, and I hoped to be finding a lot in the next few days. I will continue my search for the “shrooms” but, hopefully, still get in a few hikes at Community Park before the leaves change and the cold weather arrives.Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in Community Park. Community Park hikes August/September 2023.
When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away.” – Sarah Helen Whitman