Sunshine, Ice And Snow Flurries: Late November At Community Park
In many years here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we have already had plowable snow by late November. This year we have been, in my opinion, fortunate, and so far have only had a dusting of snow here at my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne County. However, it is late November and, as the nights continue to lengthen, the weather gets colder. And I saw the first ice forming on Lake Irena in the Community Park near my home this past week.
On Wednesday it was a beautiful but cold afternoon when I arrived at the park. Temperatures were in the upper 30’s with a brisk northwesterly wind. The skies were mostly clear and Lake Irena reflected their blueness.
I saw the first ice of the season forming along the shore. It was thin and only extended a few feet off of the shore but it was a sign of the cold and ice will soon arrive. I am not looking forward to it.
The cold may have already sent the bufflehead ducks and grebe that I saw on the lake last week on their journey south to warmer parts. I did see the four mallard ducks on the far end of the lake but they flew off as I approached. The only other wildlife I saw on my hike was a white-breasted nuthatch and
As I observed in my blog post from my previous hikes almost all of the trees have lost their leaves exposing their intricate bear branches,and some of last seasons’ bird nests and wasp or hornet nest were also now visible.
I left the lake that afternoon, but returned early Thanksgiving morning to work up an appetite for the big traditional dinner my niece Cassidy and Kelly and Kelly’s husband Ethan was preparing. It was a much different day. High clouds obscured the sun and gave the lake a somber look. The temperature was a little warmer. It was near 40 degrees which is average in these parts in late November.
And, finally I was able to get a photograph of the belted kingfisher that I have been seeing and hearing chattering around the lake. It finally landed on a tree branch on the other side of the lake. It was a good distance from me, and it was overcast, so this was the best photograph I was able to get. It is also heavily cropped but I finally captured this elusive bird.
I did see this Winter visitors for the first time in the park, dark-eyed juncos, or “snow birds”. They will be scampering on our woodland floors until they return to their breeding grounds further north in the Spring. Here is a link to a gallery with some more of the birds I saw on my late November hikes. Community Park birds November 24-26 2021.
The changeable November weather changed again on Friday and it was overcast, cold and windy when I arrived at lake early in the morning. There was one other person walking around the lake and braving the cold.
The threatening clouds made for some nice landscape scenery as I briskly walked around the lake. The cloudy skies produced occasional snow flurries and snow showers on my walk,, and I am sure they will not be the last we see this Winter.
I was a little disappointed I didn’t see any birds or critters on my hike. However, I will have to expect this as the advancing cold and ice force the critters to seek shelter. They will have to feed but it will just be a matter of chance that I am there at their feeding time. Gone are the days of summer where every hike allows a real opportunity to see, a snake, frog, turtles, many birds, insects, bears and so many other critters. Winter is natures bedtime. And I am already waiting for the alarm to go off in March, and nature to awaken with the return of life at Community Park. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photos from my late November hikes. Community Park November 24-26 2021.
Talk not of sad November, when a day / Of warm, glad sunshine fills the sky of noon, / And a wind, borrowed from some morn of June, / Stirs the brown grasses and the leafless spray. John Greenleaf Whittier