Summertime Arrives At Community Park In Hazle Township

Summertime Arrives At Community Park In Hazle Township

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I have been busy at my office and I haven’t spent as much time  as I would would have liked at the  Community Park near my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne County  this Summer. . Last Summer I was able to take an  afternoon hike almost every day .  Not this year, I still  talk a quick three mile  walk, without my camera, on the streets  near my home.  However, I as was only able to get out to Community Park for  a couple of hikes this Summer.

But, as always they rewarded  with wonderful observations of nature, so I thought I’d share some of the natural beauty I always  find here.

I start my three mile hike with  a walk around Lake Irena.  I have been visiting this scenic lake since I was a child.. On my first hike, in late June the pretty purple  pickerelweed that grows along the shores of the lake was just starting to bloom. 

And when it does it attracts, bees, wasps, butterflies , dragonflies and other insects.

I  saw dozens of dragonflies hovering , darting and landing on the pickerelweed  on my hikes. I love this insects that flew over the waters o Pennsylvania before the dinosaurs.   I am no expert, I am relying on  INaturalist app for these identifications but I think they are correct. Please let me know if they aren’t. This I believe is a widow skimmer, a male, 

and I believe this is the female. 

This I believe is a slaty skimmer dragonfly ,

this a unicorn club tail dragonfly 

a chalk-fronted Corporal dragonfly and 

a eastern pond hawk dragonfly.   I was always amazed by these beautiful and delicate 

On my  first hike in late June the mountain laurel was past it’s peak and only a few blooms remained. 

The  trees, ferns, and plants along the tree were lush and green. Late June is probably the end of the early season burst of growth on our woodlands in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

The Spring burst of wildflowers was over now, but there were still a few Summer  wildflowers blooming, ,  including one of my favorite the oxeye daisies .

The pickerelweed along the lake  and  many spotted St. John’s wort flowers were also in bloom. 

It has been a rainy couple of weeks and rain is good  for the mushrooms. There were many different species  growing along the trails in the park, Including this  blusher amanita mushroom  and

and this grisette amanita. mushroom  

After walking around the scenic lake I would follow the trails into the surrounding woodlands.

Here , on my hikes later  in July I found the milkweed flowers starting to bloom. They always attract many insects and butterflies. I saw mostly  great  spangled fritillary  butterflies on my hikes,

but also a few American lady butterflies   

a few little glassywing  skipper,

and dun skipper butterflies and ,

this pretty red admiral butterfly. 

There were also some bumble bees and ,

a few red milkweed beetles on the  milkweed flowers and plants. Sadly, I didn’t see a single monarch butterfly. These beautiful butterflies were once common in our area but loss of habitat here and in the mountains of Mexico where they  migrate for the Winter have depleted their numbers. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the dragonflies and butterflies I saw on my hikes. Community Park  insects June to July 15 2023

It was nice to see the dragonflies and butterflies but I was also hoping to see some more exotic critters, like a bald eagle, an osprey, an egret or some snakes, all of which I have seen on past summer hikes in Community Park.

They were not around on these hikes but I did see a few birds including   American goldfinches, 

a great blue heron that was yawning and looked sleepy, 

and actually sat on the ground. I have never seen this before.  I always see them stalking prey or perched  in a tree. 

I also saw a few beautiful cedar waxwings. 

I had always seen these birds feeding on fruits and berries. Apparently they like insects too, 

this is not the best photos,  the cedar waxwing landed and took off very quickly, but it proves they like to eat dragonflies too. 

There were also a few oven birds in the  woodlands around the lake. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw  on my hikes.  Community Park birds June to July 15 2023

And there were a few other critters enjoying the summer including this beaver that I saw feeding on lily pads in the lake. 

It would swim out into the lake, dive, chew off a lily pad and swim it back to it’s lodge.

I watched it do this three times.  On the last time I walked out to the top of the lodge. The beaver swam back and didn’t see me until he was near the lodge . It was amazing how quickly he dived under the water when he finally saw me.  I waited for 15 minutes but it did not swim back out. 

I also saw a few gray squirrels,

and turtles on my hikes. 

Although I didn’t see any bald eagles, water snakes or ospreys I still enjoyed the beauty of the butterflies, dragonflies and birds I saw on my hikes at Community Park.  It is a great place to experience and enjoy Nature.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hikes at the park. Community Park June to July 15 2023. 


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

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