Mother Nature with all of its beauty has really blossomed over the past two weeks. I have recently witnessed a few amazing things that I have seen before but never seem to get tired of. The early part of spring was nothing short of a washout. Every nook and cranny that could collect rain runoff did. The reptiles, amphibians and insects that reproduce in wetlands or vernal pools certainly had no problem finding a place to lay their eggs. The magic of Mother Nature truly comes to life when you can witness the birth of God’s creations. I have had that experience on several occasions.
I hunted the same game land roads throughout the spring turkey season. These trails were often covered with old tire ruts and depressions. They were always filled with water and critters waiting to reproduce. I walked around the same miniature pond every other day for two weeks. It started with a few newts floating around and before I knew it the bottom was covered with all kinds of eggs. I recognized tree frog eggs, salamander eggs and newt eggs. They were all shapes and sizes and they magically appeared at different times. By the end of the turkey season, the water hole was bursting with life. There must have been five thousand tadpoles on my last visit.
The birds are certainly nesting and working hard at feeding their young. Tree nesting birds may have a better chance of surviving than the ground nesters. Tree chicks are tended too by the adults and won’t leave the safety of the nest until they can fly. The ground nesting birds like turkeys have been struggling since the beginning. The cold damp evenings of this rainy spring spells disaster for them. The same thing could be said for grouse and pheasants as well. They have a tendency to develop colds and malnutrition. We can only hope that the recent warm weather didn’t come too late for our ground nesters.
My morning excursions into the woods also provided for other baby wildlife viewing opportunities. I have already seen baby opossums, rabbits, skunks and raccoons. It is important to remember the most important rule for dealing with wildlife of any age and that is “leave them alone!” While most baby animals look cute and cuddly, they could bite or scratch you and they may be carrying a disease such as rabies. Any baby animal is better off with their parents then at a rehabilitator.
The same rule applies when dealing with fawns. Whitetail deer are also having their young now and fawns can appear on the ground without notice. It is important to remember that mother deer will leave their fawns safe and sound while they are out feeding. Whitetail deer typically feed their young in the morning and evening, leaving the fawns alone for most of the day. If you find a fawn, enjoy your discovery by taking a photo or two and walking away. The mom will most likely return. If you are totally convinced that the mom is no longer taking care of the fawn for one reason or another, you should leave it alone and call an animal rehabilitator. Tonight on Pennsylvania Outdoor Life, we’ll walk with Kathy Uhler of the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in the Poconos. She will have a few more tips for anyone finding a fawn. You can check out her web site at www.poconowildlife.org. Now is the time to enjoy Mother Nature. Remember to take a camera because baby animals are everywhere.
June is River’s Month and there is certainly reason to celebrate the Susquehanna River. It is a beautiful scenic river that many local residents take advantage of. This waterway is home to many fish including bass, walleye and musky to name a few. Many anglers can’t wait for the conditions to get right so they can hit the river. Bass season on the river opens on Saturday, June 18th. I have watched an increase in the number of canoes and kayaks being paddled down the river as well. I still enjoy summer days on the Susky.
You can Celebrate River’s Month by taking part in the 2011 Wyoming Valley RiverFest. It runs from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19. While most of the shoreline activities center around the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Parks River Common and Nesbitt Park you can begin the celebration on the water. The weekend long event kicks off on Friday evening, June 17th with a guided river trip which paddles for 3 hours from West Pittston to Wilkes-Barre. Once in Wilkes-Barre you can hang around and enjoy some live music, food and other entertainment from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday’s celebration will begin with a 14 mile sojourn from Harding to Wilkes-Barre for anyone interested in getting on the water. Or you can join the Festival on Saturday in Nesbitt Park from 12:00pm to 5:00pm for food, live music and a host of other activities for all ages! The festival continues Saturday at the River Common.
On Sunday, June 19th, witness a first for the Wyoming Valley. Watch as eight local teams race Dragon Boats from the River Common. Teams from Pennsylvania American Water, Guard Insurance Group, PNC Bank, The Times Leader, and Entercom Communications, Luzerne County and Wilkes-Barre will be competing on the river. These 40 foot long ancient Chinese boats are raced around the world by teams of 22 people paddling in unison. The PA Fish and Boat Commission will be conducting a family fishing clinic (call 570-477-2206 to register) or you can register for a guided sojourn that will be paddling from Wilkes-Barre to Hunlock Creek. For more information and to register for one of the guided trips go the River Common web page at www.rivercommon.org.
Have a great day!