Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Camping Adventures-UPDATED!

We're back from camping at Little Buffalo State Park near Harrisburg. It was the only park where we could get a site that would accept dogs, as Domino (the official dog of my political blog) was coming along. Who knew that all the campgrounds would be so full? I guess everyone's too broke to go on a "real" vacation, so everyone in PA is camping.

We hiked, we played in the creek, we fished, we saw lots of birds (37 species, including a lifer!), and I made LOTS of fires. I mean LOTS. I had to make a fire every time we wanted to cook, and in between meals we left the site so it always had to be put out. That's a fire Friday night, three fires Saturday, and two fires on Sunday. I never thought I'd say this, being a bit of a pyro and all, but I'm TIRED of making fires!

Here are a few snapshots of what we did and saw:

Gretchen and I fishing:

Bass Master! Of course, the fish is maybe 5 inches long....
Domino:

A Box Turtle (Thanks, John, for the ID):

A baby American Toad (thanks to Katdoc for the ID):

My best-ever look at an Eastern towhee:

Domino, Gretchen, Em, and me playing in the creek:

A red admiral, which is Julie Zickefoose's favorite butterfly:

There were swallowtails everywhere:

Eastern Kingbird--this isn't a great pic, but I had much better looks at him while gawking and forgetting to take pictures (thanks John and Katdoc on the positive ID):

UPDATED! Here's a second even worse photo, showing just a touch of white in the tail--per John's comment:

Eastern bluebird!

Kat and Gretchen decided we needed to hike the most difficult trail, despite my pleas that I would have a heart attack:

Cooling off and skipping rocks in the creek:

Somehow I made it to the summit, although I was almost a goner several times along the way!

There were a lot of ducks on the lake, but only one kind, it seemed:



Are these gadwalls? Sadly, no--per comments, they are just mallards with the drakes out of breeding plumage. Already in their travelling clothes for the fall migration! Gretchen insisted they were a commune of lesbian mallard hens, but they didn't have the purple patches. Turns out she was kinda right!

Whew--I'm exhausted just remembering it all. The nights were cool, but days sure were hot.

The rest of the photos will be presented as a special treat: Kat will be doing a guest post on our Saturday evening fishing trip! She says she's calling it "Fishing Face." I don't know what she's talking about.

25 comments:

dguzman said...

If that's really an Eastern Kingbird, he'll be a lifer for me!

DCup said...

Very, very cool photos. I'm glad they didn't lose you on that hike. And great Towhee!

John said...

IDs:
Turtle - I think that's a box turtle.
Butterfly - Red Admiral
The last two ducks both look like mallards. I think the last one is a male in eclipse/non-breeding plumage.

I think you are probably right about the kingbird. The diagnostic point, though, is a white stripe across the tip of the tail, which is kind of hard to see in that photograph.

dguzman said...

Dcup--thanks, I'm glad I didn't have a coronary on the hiking path; I'm not so sure they wouldn't have left me behind on their quest for the summit.

John--Box turtle, got it. Red admiral, thought so, but it seemed more orange than red. Ah--so they WERE mallards. Interesting. The drakes on the marsh are still in breeding plumage (last time I saw), so I wonder why these guys were already in their traveling clothes? On the kingbird (?)--I checked my other pics, and boy--it's hard to tell. I wish I'd looked more closely when I was first watching him (and too awestruck to take a picture). Dangit! One of the pics shows a possible whiteness on the tail--I'll add it to the post.

NCmountainwoman said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all. I do hope you brought food and didn't have to depend on fish for dinner.

I love the Towhee. Great birds with a marvelous song.

KatDoc said...

Box turtle (a beaut!)

"froggie" I think is a baby American Toad

Ducks are mallards; males in eclipse plumage. You probably wouldn't find Gadwalls in that location. (Don't quote me on that opne.)

Eastern Kingbird is right - a big flycatcher; white band on the tip of the tail is diagnostic. If you hear them "sing" it sounds like electric sparks. When they are in flight, they will abruptly change direction, seeming to turn on their tail-tips to go after flying insects.

Flutter-by: I can't help you on that one.

Looks like it was a terrific time!

~Kathi

Lynne said...

Delia- That Bass Master picture is probably the cutest, most comical picture I've seen in ages!
You are adorable!!

Susan Gets Native said...

Gretchen was right...those are most definitely lesbian mallard hens.
LOL!

I've been sick as Hell for a few days, so I need to catch up on blogs.
I think we need to get you some field guides for amphibs/butterflies.

dguzman said...

Thank you all for the ID help (and thanks to Kat for taking that ridiculous fishing pic--who knew I looked that goofy?).
So we have
--Box Turtle
--American Toad
--Red Admiral butterfly (which is Zick's fave, BTW)
--Mallard (how disappointing--but I figured that gadwall was a little bit out there for an ID)
Thanks!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Looks like you kids had a great time.

Earl Cootie said...

Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Towhee. Looks like you've got a good number of the eastern birds covered. Seems like all I ever see are Northern This and Western That. Go figure.

Gretchen said...

I'm going to use this comment as the official "I told you so" to Delia....I know a mallard when I see one! After all, they're pretty much the only duck I can ID, ha.

dguzman said...

You know, no one's commented on the fact that I put "Gretchen and I fishing" instead of "Gretchen and me fishing." My grammar skills are deteriorating! It's early-onset Alzheimer's, I tell you!

And YES, Gretchen, you DID say they were mallards. You were right. Okay? (sheesh!)

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