Still No Bears In The State Game Lands 119 In Luzerne County
I decided to hike in State Game Lands 119 in Dennison Township Luzerne County again on Sunday. This is the first Summer in ten years I haven’t seen a bear on my hikes in theses game lands. I don’t usually hike here this late in the Summer. I am usually looking for mushrooms in other areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania. . This year, because of the lack of rain, the mushrooms aren’t growing and I decided to return to the State Game Lands 119 and try and find a bear.
It was mostly sunny and a pleasant 60 degrees when I arrived at the game lands. The first thing I noticed was the silence. Usually I heard singing of many species of birds as soon as I left my Jeep. There wasn’t single bird singing when I began my hike. Many of the song birds have already began their migration south.
After about a mile on the main access road trail I veered to the left and followed the old railroad right-of -way down the ridge to the
Black Diamond section of the D & L Trail. The grass on the trail was green on my last visit. It has now turned brown because of the lack of rain and the approaching Autumn.
It is about a 1 1/2 hike on this old railroad right-of-way. Once again the trail was quiet , there were very few birds active, just a few common yellow throats and gray black birds I heard in the distance. There are a lot of scrub oaks on the trail and it look like there will be a good crop of acorns.
While taking a photo of this flower I saw a bumblebee crawl out of one of the flowers.
In addition to the wildflowers I finally found some mushrooms, this is a fly agaric amanita mushrooms growing on the trail. There have been few mushrooms growing this year because of the dry weather. This mushroom is poisonous.
In fact there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of this plant along the 2 1/2 miles I hiked on the Black Diamond Trail. Unfortunately, I only saw three of these beautiful monarch butterfly caterpillars. I was hoping to see a lot more. In previous years I would have seen hundreds of them, But the monarch butterfly is now endangered. I only saw a few monarch butterflies all Summer. The loss of habitat both here and in their wintering areas in Mexico are the reason for their dwindling numbers.
I also saw dozens of frogs jump into the shallow waters of the lake, but could only get a few photos. These would be the last of the critters I would see on my 7 mile hike. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds and flowers I saw on my hike in State Game Lands 119. Dennison Township Game Lands Wildlife and Wildflowers. August 28 2022.
I left the lake and hiked on the old railroad right-of -way for about a mile. The trail passes through s some thick forested woodlands. At first there are some privately owned property on both sides of the trail, but it eventually enters a private preserve and then back into State Game Lands 119.
I hiked up to the access road to the game lands. I l had an uphill mile hike to get to the parking lot. I often hear and see a lot of birds along the road but there were none here either. They know the Summer is ending and are heading to the southern Winter homes. It seems like just yesterday the first robins were arriving. Summer went be so fast, too fast for me. But It was a good one and this was another great 7 mile hike in the Game Lands, no bear, but I saw a lot of the beauty of Nature and I am glad to be able to share it here in my blog. And here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Dennison Township Game Lands August 28 2022.
Only a few more days of August were to run, and September seemed already to have claimed the gardens, the fields, and the skies. ~Jeanie Gwynne Bettany Kernahan,