Thursday, June 30, 2016

Scenes from the Macro-World - Small Flower Portraits

Another perfect Summer day, and while out and about I got some very close-up shots of small wildflowers. Yes, I did the patented Hilbinger Crawl, slithering on my belly in the tall grass to get close enough to these beauties to use the macro function on the camera. The results were definitely worth it!

Scarlet Pimpernel
Deptford Pink
St. John's Wort
Moth Mullein
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Morning Walk and a Conversation

I walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning and noticed how Summer is moving on apace. Lots of birds and birdsong today, at one point dominated by two Gray Catbirds mewing at me from deep in the foliage, not pleased with my presence. And the Canadian Thistle is up in full bloom, a sure sign the Summer is well settled in.

The haying is still in progress up on the meadow. The farmer who does it was up there this morning and we stopped and had a nice long talk. He asked me if I'd seen any Turkeys up there lately, as he doesn't want to overrun any nests and will actually delay cutting if he thinks a nest is in the area next on his progress. Heh, heh! And lo and behold, while we were talking a big hen appeared from the woods on the north side an started running across the meadow. We figured there must have been somebody on one of the trails walking a dog that spooked her.

He was saying how being up on the meadow was his favorite part of his work, because it's always so beautiful up there, away from the rush of people and cars, away from the noise, and out with Nature, watching the birds and the critters. I have to agree; my walks through the park, both in the wetland and up on the meadow, are the high point of my week. And the fact that he was up there on a Sunday morning tells me that for him it's like it is for me - that's our "church" out there in the outdoors, surrounded by Mama Gaia (although I sincerely doubt he'd mention her!) and enjoying every moment of it.

So here are some scenes from this morning's walk.

A Gray Catbird along the Dykeman Walking Trail letting me know my presence was not appreciated
A Canadian Thistle bloom with a busy visitor
The haying continues up on the meadow
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, June 19, 2016


[Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice but I'll be at work, so I'm posting my annual celebration today.]

In our modern urbanized, mobile society the Summer Solstice is considered the first day of Summer, despite the meteorologists annually announcing that June 1 is the start of the actual season. But our agrarian ancestors had a more practical view of the situation - the crops were already well up, in the orchards the nascent fruit was already appearing, and the hot weather had already settled in, so obviously the Solstice was the midpoint of the season, hence the name Midsummer. I tend to agree. Heck, the farmers around here have already done the first haying, so obviously Summer is well under way. In any case, here are some shots from this morning's walk in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park (when the temps were already in the 80s [26º - 30º C]) to celebrate Midsummer!

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Perfect Day

What a perfect Summer day! Blue skies and puffy clouds, warm and almost hot but dry rather than humid. A great day for being outdoors! I had walked up to the Shippensburg Township Recreational Park for the annual SHAPE Gallery Solstice Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the "festival" was a major disappointment, definitely not what I was expecting. But all was not lost; the park also serves as the Shippensburg trailhead for the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, which you long-term visitors to this blog know is a favorite hike for me. So I just walked up to the trail and did a walk up to Duncan Road and back. And of course I got some pictures of farms, mountains and clouds along the way. Enjoy!

A view of The Knob, part of the North Mountain ridge
Farms, mountains, and clouds - Summer in the Cumberland Valley
A typical Cumberland Valley view
Another, wider view of The Knob
A large farm along the Rail Trail
My first vacation week (actually 9 days) is coming up in the middle of July, and one of those days I intend to use to hike the whole trail, all the way up to Newville and back. So stay tuned!

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Under Cover

Another walk in the woods, this time on the undeveloped end of the Rail Trail. Very serene and calm, and very, very green.

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Three Elements

I took a walk yesterday with Earth, Air, and Water. Not Fire, though; the temperatures were quite moderate, with a delightful breeze to make it even better.

Yes, the sky really was that blue!
A juvenile male Baltimore Oriole in the Dykeman Spring wetland
The creek running through the wetland
On the banks of the north duck pond
Walking up the Upland Trail
More wispy clouds in the blue, blue sky
The season's first haying continues on the upland meadow
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

A Day-Off Ramble in the Park

Today was the perfect early Summer day - warm but not hot, sunny, gorgeous blue sky with the occasional wispy cloud, a nice breeze, and no humidity. I had the day off, so what could I do but ramble through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park and take in the perfect day.

Walking in the woods on the Dykeman Walking Trail
A big ol' Snapping Turtle laying low in the Dykeman Spring wetland
Bindweed in the wetland area
A young Northern Water Snake along the creek in the wetland
A Spring Azure butterfly on White Clover up in the meadow
Daisy Fleabane in the upland meadow
It finally dried out enough to start the first haying of the season
A male Baltimore Oriole at the edge of the meadow
A young Groundhog on the Meadow Trail
Cinquefoil along the Meadow Trail
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, June 03, 2016

A Damp Summer Morning

June 1 marks the start of meteorological Summer. We're now three days in and the weather has definitely been summery, and very damp as well. It rained last night, was very steamy and misty in the morning, and then some rain again in the late afternoon. A walk through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning shows the result of all that warmth and humidity.

Ox-eye Daisies along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Papa and fledgeling Red-winged Blackbirds in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A Painted Turtle in the Dykeman Spring wetland
Yellow Hawkweed in the park's upland meadow
The Deptford Pinks are sprouting up in the upland meadow
A Silver-spotted Skipper in the upland meadow
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger