No Bears, Again, But Another Nice, And Historic Hike In The State Game Lands In Dennison Township
My desire and mission to see and photograph a black bear continued on Monday. I decided to hike in State Game Lands 119 in Dennison Township Luzerne County. I have seen many bears hiking here over the years. But so far not a one on about five hikes this year. I was hoping that would change as I drove on the dirt and rutted access road to the parking lot at the game lands.
It didn’t take long to hear, and see some bird activity, a flock of black-capped chickadees were chatting and foraging in some shrubs and I was able to capture an image of this one. It is a very common bird in our area in both the Summer and Winter months.
A male common yellowthroat was also singing in a nearby tree. It is a common bird in the Spring and Summer.
And I was able to hear and photograph this less common bird , a veery, singing on a tree branch .This small thrush is related to our common American robin.
As usual there were many ovenbirds singing in the mixed pine/oak/maple second growth woodlands along the trail.
and this male eastern towhee. These birds were very common in the woods near my home when I was a child.
I walked on the access road for about a mile and then took the old railroad right of way on the left side of the trail that would take me down the ridge to the Black Diamond section of the D & L Trail after a little over a mile hike.
So I knew my chances of seeing a bear here had diminished. But, you never know, so I kept my eyes peeled as I followed the trail through the swampy wetland. I didn’t see any bears but I did see this beautiful bird, although not as colorful as the male, this female rose breasted grosbeak is still a pretty bird. I was surprised there was no male around,
The trail ended when it intersected with the Black Diamond Trail. I now followed this well maintained trail south and encountered a lot of folks on bicycles enjoying the early July morning. I rarely see anyone walking on this remote section of the trail.
These flowers are famous for their relationship with the monarch butterfly, but they also attract many other bees, butterflies and other insects, including this fritillary butterfly, I think it is a meadow fritillary but not positive and
The trail passes a few homes on the west side of the trail. After about a 1/2 mile from the lake it also passes an old farm homestead on the eastern side the trail. I often stopped and reflected a near the open fields of the old farm. .
I often wondered who lived here and farmed these fields in the past. I knew a little of the history of the area . There was a large ochre mine here in the 19th century. I believe it burned down in the 1890’s. There was a town here too, Moosehead. But I didn’t know who lived on this farm. Well I now had the answer and it is pretty amazing. I recently learned this farm was the boyhood home of this man A. Mitchell Palmer the 50th Attorney General of the United States. Yep, he was born here in 1872 and grew up on this remote farm . The link I attached to his highlighted name will give you more information on the life of this famous man. Still hard to believe. I reflected on his life as a child here. How carefree it must have been. It shows how little I knew about this area I live in.
I continued on the trail for about about mile. It took me through some more deeper woods until it came to another small lake. Here I left the Black Diamond Trail and followed another old railroad right of way for about a mile back up the access road to the game lands.
I believe it is the same scarlet tanager I have seen on my previous hikes this season. They would be the last birds I see and photograph on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery on my website were more photos of the birds and butterflies I saw on my hike are displayed. State Game Lands 119 birds and butterflies, July 4 2022.
When I got to the access road I had already walked over 6 miles and the last mile was a bit of a struggle . The sun was intense and I was getting a little tired and thirsty. However I was still looking for a bear. I have seen them on this road before. But not on this day. I ended my 7 mile hike with no bear sightings. But the blueberries are ripening and I will be back, hopefully while they are feasting on the blueberries. Here is a link to a galley with more photos from my seven mile hike in the game lands. State Game Lands 119 July 4 2022.