Saturday, May 25, 2013


Beaten by the wind, clinging on the edge of a cliff with hardly any soil to sink it roots into, this tree is a living symbol of the tenacity of life.
While fishing on Raystown Lake this morning I happened to look up as I was casting to where a rock cliff disappeared below the water.  High up on the exposed rocks a tree, nearly stripped bare of bark clung to the rock face.  After accessing its photographic potential for a moment I decided to wait until a cloud passed over the sun shading the background mountain side while the sun continued to shine on the cliff and the tree.  As the weather was quite windy with big puffy clouds scuttling across the blue sky I didn't have long to wait.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grapevine Visitors

Goldfinch Male
 Over thirty years ago I planted a pair of concord grapevines.  Over the years they have produced good quantities of grapes most years and provide a place for birds to congregate and even for a few species to nest.  Since the vines are only a few feet from our spare bedroom window I decided to remove the window screen and use our home as a blind for some "grapevine shots"

A brilliantly marked Goldfinch was the bright spot of the morning was he basked in the early morning sunshine.

Northern Mockingbird

A Northern Mockingbird found the grapevine inviting as he perched among the new shoots singing his way through an extensive repertoire. 

Sadly the day after I shot these photographs our temperature plunged to below freezing, killing the new growth as well any hope for a crop this year.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Duckling Escape

Finally finding time for an evening visit to the wetlands I was eager to see some of this year's waterfowl babies.  After concealing myself on a small hummock with camouflage blind material wrapped around both myself and camera rig I was soon rewarded when a young hooded merganser swam into view. 

Even though I was concealed the clicking shutter gave my position away as the duckling passed close by. 

Alarmed, the little merganser beat a hasty retreat. 

Throwing up a wake much like that of a motor boat!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meadow Grounds Lake: The Draining Picks up Speed

After a week of no water loss, the draw down of the Meadow Grounds Lake picked up its pace this week.  Visiting the lake Thursday evening we found that the lake had receded south beyond the northern access point.  This first photo was taken from mid-lake on the old roadbed facing the access point.

The remains of a bridge abutment can now be clearly seen at the point where Roaring Run once again intersects the old roadbed.

Facing south towards the breast wall one can see that the surface area of the lake is greatly diminished.

Even during its destruction the lake is still a beautiful tranquil spot.  It breaks my heart knowing that soon the last of the water will have flowed through the dam.
Following up on a tip I went in search of the reported fish disposal pit constructed near the lake.  Following the gamelands road that begins near the dam I soon found the site.  Apparently the PFBC expects to kill a large amount of fish as they finish draining the lake.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meadow Grounds Lake Update

Visiting the Meadow Grounds Lake Saturday evening, I was surprised to find the water level virtually unchanged from that of a week ago.  This is the first since the PFBC began lowering the lake back on March 4th that a week has passed with no change.
During the past week we did receive significant rainfall however considering how the lake has dropped through earlier rain events I feel reasonably certain that no additional stop logs were removed. 
This may be mere coincidence or it may indicate that something is afoot.  As I have reported here there is considerable push-back from the public and the Fulton County Commissioners concerning the PFBC's plan to drain the lake.  I find it interesting that the PFBC has recently (May 8th) reconsidered their plan to drain Coyler Lake in Center County and instead will maintain it 17 feet down from full pool until funding is made available to complete the repairs.  Could this be what is happening here at the Meadow Grounds?  Time will tell. 

 View from the northern road access.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

LBB's: Little Brown Birds

Grasshopper Sparrow perched on a dry mullein stalk
As a person whose main interest in birds is as a photographic subject, identifying some of my captures can be frustrating to say the least.  This is particularly true with what I have begun calling LBB's, my acronym for little brown birds.


Grasshopper Sparrow singing
The birds posted here fell into that category and remained there until my niece Amy visited Saturday while she and her husband participated in the annual Pa Migration Count.  Reviewing my LBB photos with her, she was able to give each a positive identification. 

Savannah Sparrow
I'm sure that as the nesting season progresses I will capture more LBB's and will require help putting a positive identification on them.  However that is just one of the things that makes wildlife photography so interesting, learning about the wild creatures who live around us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Derelict Fence and Bovine Roadblock

The beauty of a dead tree supporting a dilapidated fence along a rural Pennsylvania dirt road made me stop my car for a photo op.

A little earlier in the evening as I was passing through the same road I was forced to a stop by a bovine road block; cattle who were allowed to run free by the derelict fence.  After giving the car a good looking over the cattle moved to the side allowing me to pass by. 

A couple more instances of the many joys of rural living :)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Meadow Grounds Lake: Becoming Smaller by the Day

As the draw down continues the Meadow Grounds Lake shrinks a considerable amount each week.  Since my work schedule keeps me busy through the week I have been unable to visit the lake during any fish salvage operations and have not spoken to anyone with firsthand information.

Here my wife stands beside the handicap fishing pier.  The full pool waterline is just in front of her right foot.
This shot taken from the west end of the dam shows the steep ledges that protected the spillway.

2-23-13 before the draw down began

Friday, May 03, 2013

Backyard Wildlife

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Brown Thrasher
One doesn't have to travel long distances to photograph wildlife.  The photos in this post were taken around my home this week.