Spring Is Slowly Springing At Community Park In Hazle Township.

Spring Is Slowly Springing At Community Park In Hazle Township.

Community Park (3 of 25)
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After some nice Spring-like weather in mid-March it got cold again. We had some record breaking cold temperatures here in Northeastern  Pennsylvania.  Because of the cold weather I didn’t take my afternoon hikes in the Community Park near my home here in Hazle  Towsnhip for a couple of weeks.   I returned this past Monday.  The cold weather had definitely slowed the appearance of Spring. But I found some signs  it has arrived on my three walks at the park this past week. 

It was gloomy, overcast and  still cool on Monday with temperatures in the low 40’s.  It was too cold for the turtles  to  be out. I  had seen a few of them on my  last visit in mid-March. There were a few Canada geese on the waters of Lake Irena but I didn’t see any other ducks on my  walk. I knew the hooded mergansers, ring neck ducks and pie-billed grebe would probably be gone but I thought I’d see the mallard ducks. They weren’t around all week. 

I walked twice around Lake Irena under the overcast skies. 

and saw very little wildlife. Only the geese and few eastern gray squirrels scampering,

under the oak and pine trees along trail. 

I left the lake and walked into the surrounding woods. Here I was surprised to find this sure sign of Spring, masses of frog eggs in the shallow waters of   one of the vernal ponds along the trail. I remember seeing the frogs in this pond last year. I didn’t think they would be active during the cold weather we had this past few weeks, but obviously, I was wrong,  and  they were. 

Nearby on the trail was another sing of Spring,  the first wildflower I saw this  year . This pretty coltsfoot flower was just beginning  to bloom. These flowers are one of the first to bloom in the spring. Although they  are invasive they are pretty and have many medicinal uses. 

The only other wildlife I saw was a small flock of dark-eyed juncos fluttering  near the ground along the trail.  These birds migrate to our area in the Winter and should be returning soon to their northern breeding grounds. 

I returned to the lake and finished my hike without seeing anymore wildlife.

I returned  to Community Park  on Tuesday afternoon.  It was partly cloudy and a little warmer when I arrived. Temperatures were in the mid 40’s, still too cold for the turtles that live in the lake to make an appearance. The sunshine and warmer temperatures did bring out a few more fishermen along the shores of the lake. 

Walking around the lake I saw the  Canada geese again and this song sparrow fluttering near the ground along the trail .

I didn’t see any other critters as I walked around scenic Lake Irena. 

I left the lake an hiked into the surrounding woodlands again, 

and here I saw this American robin enjoying the April sunshine  and taking a bath in a puddle along the trail. 

It was really enjoying the water. There are a few more photos of the bathing robin in the link below. 

I also saw the coltsfoot flower that  was starting to bloom on my  previous hike. It, and  a dozen others, were now blooming along the trail. 

I walked back to the lake took another walked  along its shores enjoying the clouds floating in the deep blue skies. 

This time I saw a brown creeper crawling up a pine tree.  I think this is the first time I saw a brown creeper in the park. 

I finished up my three mile hike on Tuesday but it wasn’t my last hike for the week. I returned the next afternoon,  Once again the skies were partly sunny.  Cumulus clouds floated over the lake.  And, it was a lot warmer.  Temperatures were near 60 degrees. 

And the many turtles that live in the lake knew it.

I saw about a dozen of them, 

on logs and rocks in and around the lake. It was good to see them again.

As I walked around the lake, 

I first heard, and then saw ,another sign of Spring. An eastern phoebe singing while perched on a tree along the lake.

These small  birds are members of the flycatcher family and their appearance means that there also must be insects appearing in our woodlands.  Here is a link to a gallery  on my blog website with some more photos of the  eastern phoebe,  the American robin and other birds I saw on my hike. Community Park birds April 4-6 2022. 

And sure enough I  saw  my first butterfly of the Spring, I believe it is a mourning cloak butterfly fluttering along the lake. I never saw one of this and like the northern cardinal in the bird world they are associated with mourning and grief and a sign from departed loved ones. 

I left the lake again and walked on the trails in the surrounding woodlands. This time I saw one this beautiful critter on my hike. I see a lot of deer track and deer scat on my hikes in and around Community Park but I rarely see  the deer.  They are beautiful and graceful creatures. 

I returned to the lake and finished my three mile hike.  Once again I saw the turtles, heard the phoebes and walked by the many fishermen along the shores of the lake. All signs, slowly, Spring is returning to Northeastern Pennsylvania. I love Spring!   And I am enjoying every minute of it! Here is a link to a  gallery with some more photos from my hike in Community Park this week. Community Park April 4-6 2022. 

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”
–  Bern Williams