Thursday, June 27, 2019

Leavitt Branch

Several weeks ago I spent a few days in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, also just called the Poconos. But the Poconos aren’t really mountains – the Poconos are actually a plateau that was covered by the Wisconsianan glacier about 18,000 years ago. When the glacier melted it left a varied landscape of kettle holes and waterfalls on a plateau now covered by a variety of vegetation from acidic bogs with boreal vegetation, to scrub oak/pitch pine barrens, to oak hickory woodlands, to northern hardwood forests.

The Poconos are best known for resorts and a stock car track, but there are also hunting and fishing clubs and scout camps covering extensive acreage, large tracts of state forest and state game lands and beautiful and fascinating places for the naturalist.

Several of us joined a naturalist I’ve known for a number of years on a short hike along the Poconos’ Leavitt Branch. Leavitt Branch is a beautiful stream, much of which is on a private tract of 5,000 acres that is not open to the general public.

This is a stream known for its trout fishing, but that was not why we were here this day. Our goal was a waterfall created by a combination of the glacier that covered the plateau and the stream now called Levitt Branch. It’s a beautiful waterfall about 55 feet from top to bottom.


Later that day I visited a smaller waterfall further upstream –

Quite some distance downstream is another high waterfall that we didn’t have time to visit. Perhaps on another day I’ll go back to the Poconos, hike down Leavitt Branch and enjoy that waterfall.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hey Mom, Wait for Me!

By this time of year most species of wildlife have had their offspring. Some of those young ones are now old enough to face the world alone – squirrels and chipmunks and cottontail rabbits and great horned owls quickly come to mind. Some species are born later in the year or are dependent for a longer period.

In the last couple of weeks the camera traps above the house have gotten videos of some of those young animals and their mothers. The young ones followed their mothers around: to nurse when they were hungry; to gradually learn what foods are palatable; where to take shelter from storms (rain seems to have been unceasing lately); and, hopefully, how to stay away from danger.

Here are some of those videos: of spindly-legged fawns and black bear cubs –

Young ones  often have to hustle to keep up with their longer-legged mothers and the bear cubs were no exception.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Northern Spring

Older posts (here and here) contained photographs and videos from camera traps at our son and daughter-in-law’s place far to the north. Recently we visited and I took the opportunity to check the cameras once again.

Although a couple of the cameras had only a few photos, others yielded much more of interest. There was still snow on the ground when this white-tailed deer passed the camera –

Ten days later when a flock of turkeys came by all the snow had melted –

For two months a camera trap that takes videos had been further down the hill. It was set up to take videos along the length of a fallen log and the remaining stub of the dead tree from which the log had fallen. Here are the birds and mammals that appeared in those videos –

I’d also set a camera trap at the edge of their pond in hope of getting photos of the otter that shows up at the pond a couple of times a year. No otter this time, but a pair of mallards spent some time on the pond –

At other times wood ducks and black ducks have spent time there, however this time it was only mallards.

But the camera at the pond provided a real trophy in the form of several photographs of an American bittern –

Their property borders thousands of acres of additional woodland so I never know what may appear in photos or videos from these camera traps.