Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Morning

On my way from the laundromat to the grocery store this morning, I traveled by way of the Dykeman Walking Trail. It's been very humid lately, with an afternoon/evening thundershower every day, and often fog in the early morning. So everything is fairly damp, including the air, so that us poor humans walking about get pretty damp pretty quick ourselves. 

The result of all that dampness is an increased bug population, and in the Dykeman Springs wetlands area more bugs mean lots more Swallows zooming around scooping them up. We have a combination of Tree Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, with the occasional Barn Swallow flying along to provide extra color. This morning as I was walking past the fence around Ripple Field I noticed a bunch of Rough-winged Swallows lined up on it. Most of them flew off when I got near, but one juvenile stayed put, and even started doing the "feed me" dance - rapidly fluttering the wings with beak agape, begging for food. I'm still wondering id the little bugger actually thought I was Papa!

The little'un stayed there with me just maybe 10 feet away, and then Mama swooped up and tried to get him/her/it to move off. This was definitely a "FLEE THE EVIL HUMAN, YOU DIMWIT!" move. It didn't work, and the little bugger was still there on the fence when I moved on. I guess parents are right - their kids really don't listen to them.

Along the trail at the duck pond the Swallows were doing their zooming tricks over the water, scooping up all those delicious mosquitoes and gnats and dragonflies, etc. But what really caught my attention was the sight of a flock of Cedar Waxwings joining in the hunt. But unlike the Swallows the Waxwings paused to rest on overhanging branches from time to time, allowing me to get this shot:

On one of the bridges over the creek I found this Orb Weaver spider's web still beaded from the morning fog, which had burned off by then. I wonder if Mama Spider used that big drop as her own personal reservoir?

On the way back to the street I managed to get a better shot of a Common Wood Nymph butterfly than I was able to get last Sunday. Last week I had to use the zoom, but this week this butterfly actually allowed me to get close enough to use the macro setting, hence the superior clarity. I love getting this close to nature!

And that's today's walk. Enjoy!

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

To and From

Here are some pictures taken on the way to and from work yesterday and today. Yesterday morning I managed to get some shots of the Super Moon. This one below worked best:

Coming home today I decided to walk back along Neff Avenue, one of Shippensburg's back alleys. The following two shots are of a vegetable garden growing behind the Church of the Nazarene.

And then a little farther down Neff Ave. was this ivy-covered barn.

Yup, there are sights to see along my everyday routes.

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dykeman Park Upland and Meadow Trails

For the last two and a half years you've seen lots of photos of the Dykeman Springs wetlands here on Roy's World. I've mostly stuck to the area north of Dykeman Rd., where the bulk of the wetlands are. I always thought the area south of the road was limited to the bigger pond, the old spring house, and the trout hatchery. Well, yesterday I discovered I was wrong; the hill behind and above the springs (aside from the property belonging to the Dykeman House Inn, which is private) is home to a network of trails with a lot of scenic variety. I didn't have much time yesterday, but this morning I went exploring!

I got a lot of shots, and 29 of them passed quality control; there's no way I'll be posting all of them here. Instead, I'm posting a few of my favorites; you can see the whole thing, complete with instructive captions, by clicking here to visit the web album or by scrolling down and watching the web album's slideshow. Meanwhile, here are my favorite photos from today's shoot: some stairs climbing a hill in the woods on the Upland Trail; Deptford Pinks along the Meadow Trail; a serene view of a bench and ducks on the usually-depicted pond; and a Wood Nymph butterfly along the nature trail on my way out at the end of the hike. Enjoy!

And as promised, the slideshow of the entire hike:

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tucked Away

My original plan today was to visit various geocache locations in the area, not to search for the caches themselves but to visit the locations and see what might be photogenic there. The nearest cache is right across the street in the little gazebo park, and once I started taking pictures there I had a better idea - to visit some of the little tucked-away, off-the-beaten-path parks and picnic areas in Shippensburg (you can visit the web album here). So I got some shots of the concrete benches, just right for plunking down with a sandwich and a drink for a nice, shady lunch, and the little children sculpture in the gazebo park.

Next I headed off for a little park tucked just behind the Borough of Shippensburg municipal offices on North Fayette St. But on the way there I ran across some photogenic scenes: Daylilies on McCreary Ave. and a little Chipmunk on Burd St.

The little park behind the borough offices has a picnic pavilion and a playground, sandwiched between the office building and Branch Creek. The swings and stuff turned out not to be so photogenic, but the picnic pavilion turned out looking pretty good.

There's another little picnic area on the edge of the Shippensburg University campus, at the intersection of Burd Run and Fogelsanger Roads on Burd Run. I decided to head up there on the undeveloped section of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, and on the way I ran into an old friend - an Orchard Orb Weaver spider (Leucauge venusta), a very small spider who becomes gorgeous when you get closer to her via a macro lens.

The picnic pavilion and bridge on the Shippensburg University campus is a nice cool, shady spot beside Burd Run that looks like it would be a great place for a picnic on a hot summer day.

Back into town we go, to visit a little garden park tucked behind the Widow Piper's Inn, a colonial era stone house which served briefly as Cumberland County's first courthouse, at the corner of King and Queen Streets.

And back home we go, pausing on the porch to take a last shot of the gazebo park across the street. Now it's time for lunch!

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

Today is the first day of this week's "weekend", and I went walking. It's overcast and very humid in advance of a very stormy front due to pass through tonight and tomorrow, and as we've had a goodly amount of rain already, things are looking very tropical and lush. I ended up walking in my favorite place, the Dykeman Spring wetlands, and I got inspired to get macro shots of the growing population of wildflowers springing up in the place. You can go to the Picasa web album to get a closer look and see where the places are on a map of the are. I've also posted a few of the stellar shots below, followed by a slideshow of the entire album. Enjoy!

There's a lot of Crown Vetch up now, growing all along the Dykeman Walking Trail and throughout the Dykeman Spring Wetland Park. This is a relative of Clover.

Canadian Thistle is also popping up in the meadows and fields along the trail and in the wetland area.

The Dykeman Walking Trail starts just off the end of Seneca Ave. by the Little League ball fields, passes by the fields and between some swamp area and through a wooded area, and then passes through a tunnel under the railroad tracks before entering the wetland park itself. This is a shot from inside the tunnel looking at the start of the park area.

There's a lot of Honeysuckle springing up now. A couple of weeks ago it was the Multiflora Roses perfuming the air in the wetlands; now it's the Honeysuckle acting as Mama Gaia's air freshener.

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, June 10, 2013

At Work

This is what I see at work every day this time of year. The scent is also fantastic, but unfortunately they haven't figured out how to get scratch'n'sniff onto the internet as yet. These shots were taken with my smart phone (LG Optimus).

Asiatic Lilies

More Asiatic Lilies



© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, June 07, 2013

A Black & White Day

Here it is, another day off, and it's overcast, damp, and raining. We had a front move through last night, and now tropical storm Andrea is moving off to the east of us, dropping yet more rain. I had no choice but to hit the laundromat and the grocery store, so I decided to make the most of the situation and get some more black & white photos. I wandered around a bit while the laundry was washing and got the following photos (although the gazebo shot was taken after I got home from the grocery store). You can also see them in my Picasa web album.

 These old, painted-over doors are on an old outbuilding along one of Shippensburg's "alleys", Neff Ave. At some point it appears that people needed barns behind the house even in town.

Old Order Mennonite buggies parked behind Pague & Fegan Hardware, an old store that has just about everything you could ever need, and then some. The Amish and Old Order Mennonite farmers in the area love this place, as evidenced by the three buggies parked here. Note: You can tell which group is visiting by the color of the buggies - Mennonite buggies are black while Amish ones are gray.

A look at God's Acre cemetery on Prince St. It was looking appropriately gloomy today, and I couldn't resist a shot!

Here's the laundromat I use, conveniently just catercorner across the street (and coincidentally owned by my landlord). It was surprisingly empty, given the weather. Hmmmm...

It was out-and-out raining when I got back from grocery shopping, so I took the opportunity to get a shot of the gazebo park across the street, puddles and all. The shot was taken from my front porch.

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, June 02, 2013

A Serene Sunday Morning

Out walking this morning between errands on my day off. It was very calm and serene - no traffic, no people, mild air and a little bit of a breeze. These five shots were the best of the lot taken during the walk: the gazebo park across the street from me; Branch Creek where it passes under King St. at McLean House; some of the Multiflora Roses scenting the air in the Dykeman Springs wetlands; some Corn Speedwell in the Dykeman Springs wetlands; and some Mallard ducklings on one of the duck ponds in the Dykeman Springs wetlands. Enjoy!

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger