No Bears Or Snakes, But Some Birds, Bugs And Wildflowers At State Game Lands 119

No Bears Or Snakes, But Some Birds, Bugs And Wildflowers At State Game Lands 119

Game lands (21 of 39)
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I have  not seen a bear on any of  my hikes this year. And for the first time in many  years none have visited my back yard here in Hazle Township in Luzerne County.  I only saw two all year, near Barnesville, in April.   So, on Sunday I decided to hike in State Game Lands 119 in Dennison Township. I have had many a close encounter with a bear on these trails. And I am also trying to find some rattlesnakes to photograph and I was hoping to see  one up here. 

On Sunday I planned to take my usual seven mile hike in the game lands  starting at the parking area on Hollenback Road. The road to the game lands is not paved and would probably recommend  a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get here. It was sunny, warm and humid when I began my hike. I started at 7:30 a.m. because I knew it was going to get hot. I head into the game lands on the main access road.  All of the trees had their leaves now. 

It was nice walking under the canopy of leaves but it was also  now difficult to photograph the many birds singing in the thick leaf cover. I was able to capture this male eastern towhee singing in a tree. These birds are usually seen, or heard, rustling through the leaf liter on the forest floor. 

I also saw a couple  red-eyed  vireos singing loudly  in the tree tops. 

I walked on the main access road for about a mile, enjoying the sun shining tree leaves and these hay-scented ferns. 

Everything was so green and alive. And some wildflowers, like these yellow star grass flowers, 


and sheep laurel, added color. 

Once again, after about a mile,  I left the main access road and took the old railroad right of way  trail that led to the D & L trail.  It is a narrow trail, and I have encountered many bears, and ticks, here. 

No bears, or ticks on this section of my  hike on Sunday but there were a lot of bees, including this carpenter bee,  attracted to the flowering  deer or squaw berries. 

The trail took me along one of the headwater streams of the Nescopeck Creek.

Here I found some late blooming pink azalea , or honeysuckle as my dad called them and ,

a lot of white star flowers scattered along the ground near the trail. 

There were also a lot of ferns growing along the trails including  bracken and eastern hay-scented ferns,

 cinnamon ferns and 

these interrupted ferns. 

And there were some  insects such as this spider and

this common horsefly. 

The birds continued to sing in the trees, and I was finally able to photograph one of the many redstarts I saw and heard. 

The former railroad  right of trail is about 1 1/2 miles in length and   becomes  more wet and swampy as it nears the D & L trail.  I then hiked south on the D & L trail to Moosehead Lake about 3/4 of a mile. Here about a dozen bikers, and one hiker passed me as I walked in the hot June sun.

I walked past scenic Moosehead lake ,

where I saw this black-capped chickadee proudly displaying a caterpillar  it had just caught. 

Walking past the lake I came to the large pond and wetlands. I hoped to see an osprey, bald eagle or even some herons here. 

I didn’t see any of them but still spent some time exploring the shoreline of the ponds. I did see a lot of different species of dragonflies darting about or resting on a leaf or twig, including  this common whitetail dragonfly and,

this chalk fronted corporal dragonfly. Again I thank my Facebook identification friends for their help. 

Water lilies were now blooming on the pond including this cow lily, 

and these American white water lilies.

It was a beautiful  place to spend a June morning .After  leaving the wetlands I continued on the D & L trail for about 1 1/2 miles. I saw a few more hikers, bikers and runners enjoying the trail on my hike. 

I also saw a few more wildflowers growing along the trail  such as this meadow buttercup,

this yellow salsify flower and

some wild geraniums. 

The milkweed are starting to bud and this monarch butterfly was already attracted to the young buds. The monarch relies on the nectar of milkweed flowers for food. This one may have migrated a little too far north too soon. 

When I arrived at an  old railroad right of way I changed course. I left the D & L trail and  followed the  old railroad bed back up to the park access road.  I passed a small lake where I stopped to enjoy the songs of the birds and croaking of the bullfrogs. 

A turkey vulture flew overhead. Here is a link to a gallery with photographs of some of the critters I saw on my hike.  State Game Lands 119 critters June 6 2021. 

It was a nice 1 1/4 mile hike up the old railroad bed. The trail was narrow and was shaded by the tall trees  through which it passed. 

I was getting hot, thirsty and tired as I approached the access road. It was another 3/4 mile to my Jeep at the parking lot I the only things  I was now interested in photographing were bears and snakes. I didn’t see either on my hike, but I still enjoyed the birds, insects and wildflowers that I did see and which I am able to now share. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike in the state game lands 119.  State Game Lands Dennison Township June 6 2021. 

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”   ~Albert Einstein





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  1. Carol on June 10, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Frank, I enjoy your blog so much…your detailed running commentary and the identification of all you see.
    May I point out one thing…spiders, with 8 legs, are not insects. All insects have 6 legs. I’m glad you have not
    given in to calling all tiny creatures “bugs.” Bugs are particular insects with sucking mouth parts, as you probably
    already know. Thank you for taking your followers to such interesting places.

    • Valerie Maugle on June 11, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      I love reading your blog. I appreciate that you describe and identify the pictures.
      Growing up in the Wilkes barre area I spent a great deal of time outdoors with my dad and developed a deep love and appreciation for it. I have never been to SGL 119, but know the area. When asking my dad about your pictures and where it was he had a whole story to tell me about that area and what was there years ago…. He is 93.
      I’ll have to get up there, I like to go into the woods late fall through spring.
      Thanks for sharing.