It’s hard to believe that Summer is here . The warm months seem to pass so quickly. The magical season of Spring is over. I have been outdoors every weekday afternoon this past month . I take a three mile hike with my camera searching for the wonders of nature close to my home. Many of my hikes are in the local Community Park near my home in Hazle Township. These photos, and reflections, are from my hikes here this past month.
By the middle of May most of the trees in Community Park and around Lake Irena had at least sprouted some new leaves.
Even the late blooming oaks, these are near the Babe Ruth Field were putting forth their new leaves. It is a nice time to walk in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Flowers were blooming on the trail around the lake and in the surrounding woods. My favorite were the delicate pink azaleas or, as my dad called them honeysuckles.
A few white star flowers also were blooming along the trail.
And another one of my favorite the now rare trillium.
Starting to peek through the waters of the lake are the pickerelweed leaves. In July and August these will produce purple flowers which will attract bees and butterflies.
The flowers attracted insects including some butterflies
and this small wasp like insect.
In mid May I stopped seeing the pair of mallard ducks that I thought were nesting near the lake, and the sandpipers were at the lake for a few more days but they too had gone.
However, there were still some Canada geese on the lake. This one was enjoying what I think is a pickerelweed shoot.
On one of my hikes I saw this northern water snake swimming near the shore of Lake Irena.
I always enjoy seeing snakes on my hikes, and love taking and sharing photos ,
of our misunderstood reptile friends.
One day in late May I heard a high-pitched trilling sound coming from the far side of the lake. I investigated and found dozens of eastern American toads swimming, and mating in the waters.
The males sang a few feet from me. They ignored any treat I posed and were only interested in one thing, attracting a mate.
And many were successful. Here is a video I uploaded to my Youtube channel of a male toad’s mating song. https://youtu.be/UH_Y2pIoa7o
There were also many bull frogs and green frogs in Lake Irena. Most were not like their cousins the American toad, but would jump into the safety of the water as I approached. I was able to photograph a few, like this green frog. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the water snake and toads. They are pretty cool. Community Park Watersnake and toads May 2021
Only a few of he many turtles that warmed themselves on the rocks and logs on and near the shore of the lake were now seen. As the waters warmed they could remain submerged under water and didn’t need to warm their cold body temperature in the sun.
As the days progressed the surrounding woodlands became greener. It is a lovely time of year to walk in our forest.
There wasn’t a lot of migratory bird activity at the park, not that I could see anyway. However I was able to photograph this eastern towhee on one of my walks.
Some of my May walks weren’t on sunny days. I hiked at the park on cloudy days and got caught in a few rain showers, But, in my opinion, there is no bad weather in May, or April, June, July, August and September. I don’t like the cold months when nothing is growing.
Toward the end of the month the dragonflies started to appear along the shores of the lake. There will be more of these delicate ancient insects as the summer progresses.
And, towards the end of May, the oaks near the Babe Ruth baseball field were now completely covered in new leaves.
Bracken ferns were now everywhere along the trails and,
and yellow hawkweed and other flowers bloomed.
And there was something else new in Community Park, a new bridge spanning the stream that feeds Lake Irena was completed allowing visitors to walk around Lake Irena again. I hope to cross this bridge many, many times in the future. .
This is a link to some more photographs from my hikes in Community Park last month. . Community Park hikes May 2021.
May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.– Fennel Hudson