Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another Soggy Sunday

Man, it has been a wet June! We had an all-day soaking rain yesterday, around 2 inches, which brought our rain surplus to 6 and some inches. Considering we started the month with a 2-inch rain deficit, that's some serious rain for this area! The upside to that is that it's been cooler and I haven't had to turn on the air conditioners as much, and I get to wake up to the smell of fresh air flowing in my open windows. To me, that's heaven.

I had today off, just a single, so I walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store, and I got some scenes of the soggy mood of the day. Enjoy!

A baby bunny "hiding" in the grass on the Dykeman Walking Trail next to the ball fields
Walking through the wetlands on the Dykeman Walking Trail
A mushroom on the Upland Trail on the way up to the meadow
A Groundhog keeping a wary eye on me up on the upland meadow
A moody view of one of my favorite scenes up on the meadow
Looking at Blue Mountain from the top of the upland meadow
Mushrooms at the eastern end of the upland meadow
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Scenes from the Macro-World

It took me a little longer than usual to get to the grocery store this morning; I spent much of my time bent over, kneeling, or outright crawling to get very close to some rather small subjects. I knew from the first Eastern Comma butterfly I spotted that this was going to be a macro shoot today. Ah, the things you discover when you get down to ground level!

An Eastern Comma butterfly along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Day Lilies in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A Cabbage White butterfly in the wetland area
A Bumblebee visiting some Canadian Thistle by the duck pond
A Ladybug by the duck pond
Yellow Wood Sorrel up on the upland meadow
Daisy Fleabane with a tiny green visitor on the upland meadow
A Clouded Sulphur butterfly on the upland meadow
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Brief Visit

We're still stuck in that stretch of oppressive humidity, so I didn't plan on being outside much today. But I did need to run down to the local CVS, and while there I couldn't pass up the chance to visit the Brookside Avenue wetland, which is just behind the store. If you remember, this is the wetland I took you on a tour of last month. The recent hot and humid weather certainly has added some green to the area, and the ground underfoot is a lot wetter than it was in May. The Canada Geese are gone, but the Red-winged Blackbirds and the Grackles were certainly putting up a fuss at my presence. Also there were lots of butterflies and dragonflies, but I only managed to find one butterfly who sat still long enough to get a decent photo. So come along while I take a quick jaunt through the wetland.

A view of the water collection pond
One of the many waterways in the wetland
A water meadow in the wetland
A Red Admiral butterfly sipping on some young Joe Pye Weed blossoms
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, June 15, 2015


We have a warm front sitting right over us, and it has stalled and will stay stationary for several days. Which means that we are stuck in a tropical soup - temperatures get into the upper 80s (around 31º C) in the afternoons, which may not seem so tropical to some, but when the dew point is in the mid 70s (23º - 24º C) that indicates some fairly saturated air; it leads to unpredictable downpours and thunderstorms, especially once the sun heats things up a little. One local TV station's meteorological department labels any dew point 70º and above as "oppressive". I can't disagree! When you walk out the door, even in the early mornings when the temperature is in the balmy low 70s, you're still soaked in sweat within 5 minutes. It's not weather that I enjoy.

The effect of this weather on the foliage and flora around here is to make things even more lush. And of course the later wild perrenials are starting to bloom as well, and the weather has given them an extra little oomph in color and growth. A walk through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning proves my point. Enjoy!

Threatening clouds over Shippensburg, PA
Yarrow growing along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Moth Mullein in the Dykeman Spring wetland
On the Walking Trail north of the railroad tunnel
On the Walking Trail in the heart of the wetland
A baby Painted Turtle, about the size of my thumb, on the trail in the wetland
Deptford Pinks growing on the fringes of the upland meadow
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Trying To Stay Cool

Today we went back to hot, humid, and hazy Summer weather. I had been planning to take a nice hike today to visit Conodoguinet Creek and come back into town via Middle Spring Creek. But by 9:00 it was already hazy and I figured today wasn't a good day for a long hike. But I need to be outdoors, no matter how hot, and I really don't like air conditioning unless I absolutely have to use it, so I headed over to the shade of the Dykeman Spring Nature Park and the cooling waters of the creek and the duck ponds there. And of course I took the camera with me. Enjoy!

A view of the creek from the red bridge. The flash flooding from Monday's storm knocked away those logs/branches, which used to form a dam across the creek there
Ratty's pool, on the creek beside the nature trail. I always associate this spot with Water Rat and his home in "The Wind in the Willows"
Sedges beside the north duck pond
The red bridge over the creek
The Day Lilies are starting to bloom along the nature trail in the park
An old trestle left over from the days when the railroad came through on what's now the Dykeman Walking Trail
Yellow Wood Sorrel with a tiny visitor on the Dykeman Walking Trail
The "bridges" over the creek, between the ball fields
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sumer is icumen in

Summer is certainly settling in in central Pennsylvania. We're into the cycle where it gets hotter and more humid every day until a front moves through with violent thunderstorms to clear the air, followed by less humid and cooler air, and then the cycle starts again. We had a vicious storm pound us Monday evening - rain so hard the sound of it on the roof of the garden center where I work made even yelled conversation impossible, thunder and lightning, damaging winds... The wind was so wild that the fork lift that I thought I'd parked far enough under the canopy to stay dry got wet anyhow, and I ended up suffering a wet butt from the seat for the rest of my shift.

So now, two days later and my first day off since the storm, I did my usual amble through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on my way to the grocery store and noticed a lot of tree limbs down and evidence of flooding in and around the creek. I also noticed that the warm temperatures and the increased dampness raised a lot of fungi in the forested parts of the park, and if possible the place was even more lush than my photo essay showed last week. Yup, Summer is definitely arriving (the modern English translation of the 13th Century Middle English of the title). Take a look!

A swamp boardwalk in the wetlands area of the park
Fungi growing along the trail in the wetlands area of the park
Wild Strawberry, aka Indian Strawberry, growing along the Upland Trail
More fungi, this time along the Upland Trail
A Red-tailed Hawk having lunch on the upland meadow; she'd caught either a baby Groundhog or a rabbit
And it's already time for the first haying up on the meadow!
Of course you know I couldn't finish without including the song that provided the title of this post. Click here to read the Wikipedia article about the song and for the lyrics.

Photos and text © 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, June 05, 2015


According to all the weather forecasters June 1 is the beginning of meteorological Summer, not the Summer Solstice on June 21. Makes sense to me; after all, isn't the solstice called Midsummer Day in English tradition? In any event, the end of May got very hot and humid, and then June got cooler but the actual rain finally came, so Mama Gaia's green Summer robe has gotten very lush indeed. A walk through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning certainly bore that out.

Along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Wet leaves in the Dykeman Spring wetland
The red bridge over the creek i the wetland area
Mama and baby Mallards on the north duck pond
Virginia Creeper and English Ivy on the forest floor along the Upland Trail
A Long Dash skipper on Red Clover in the upland meadow
© 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger