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Wild About PA



Read Marcus Schneck's blog on the great outdoors of Central Pennsylvania.



Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:50:55 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



Much of Central Pennsylvania still waiting for cicadamania 2013

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:00:48 UTC

2013-06-05T14:33:20Z

Where are the cicadas of Brood II?

The explosive emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas expected about now has yet to fully materialize in many parts of Central Pennsylvania, and may indeed not materialize this year.

Brood II, which is the group of the large insects emerging this year, has never been as abundant or widespread as the gargantuan Brood X, which also is known as the Great Eastern Brood. However, some areas like Bergen County, N.J., have seen millions of cicadas emerge in the past couple weeks.
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And, some locations in Central Pennsylvania - notably the Williams Valley/Lykens Valley area between Tower City and the Millersburg-Halifax area - have seen large numbers of cicadas, accompanied by the trademark deafening buzz of the insects in some spots.

Greg Hoover, ornamental entomologist in Penn State's Department of Entomology and one of the leading cicada authorities in Pennsylvania, said one of the questions he's hearing most often from the media the past few days is "Why don't we have them?"

Part of the answer is the smaller nature of Brood II, but another part is that many areas no longer have "an abundance of uninterrupted woodlands" favored by periodical cicadas they once did. The third part of the answer may reside in the unseasonably cold weather just before Memorial Day, which may have held soil temperatures just below the 64 degrees Fahrenheit required to stir the cicada nymphs to leave their tunnels in the soil in search of mating opportunities.

"Some of those colder overnight temperatures may have slowed things down a bit," said Hoover.

However, he noted, areas southeast and northeast of Central Pennsylvania have seen significant emergences, hinting that "by the end of next week, the peak of the emergence will be past. We're getting close to it, if not in some of the southeastern Pennsylvania counties are past peak."

Central Pennsylvania may have one chance to yet see some emergence out of Brood II, and that chance lies in the rainfall forecast the weekend.

"A rainfall event really triggers" the full emergence," explained Hoover.

If you spot cicadas, please report your sighting to mschneck@pennlive.com.


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Peak foliage color advances as autumn progresses: Fall Foliage 2016

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:20:00 UTC

2016-09-30T12:50:55Z

Fall foliage reports from Pennsylvania, regional organizations and beyond the state place peak leaf-peeping still a couple weeks away. A small corner of northeastern Pennsylvania has hit the 20-25 percent of peak color, but most of the state remains more than a week or two away from the best leaf-peeping of the season. "We are coming into week two and more and more trees are starting to show the coming autumn colors but the real show is in the distance yet," according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report from the Bureau of Forestry in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "There are individual trees which are brightly colored, but as is always the case in autumn, it starts slowly and then builds to a crescendo with the oaks providing the finale. There are some dry areas where a few maples have had their leaves dry up and drop off but most areas are still looking great. In many locales the maples are still bright green or just starting to turn but there are always pockets where the colors are already bright. Much depends on the microclimate, as it varies for each individual tree across the landscape." The most advanced fall foliage this weekend in Pennsylvania will be found in Lackawanna, Pike and Wayne counties, but it will be just 20-25 percent along its route to peak color, which is not expected there until Oct. 14-24. In addition, the bureau noted, in Pennsylvania's northern zone of Wayne, Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter and McKean counties signs of fall are starting to show up and most of the northern hardwood stands will be close to full color by next weekend. More immediately, "the lookouts along the Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area are some of the best places to view at the moment. The eastern portion of our forest near the town of Arnot, and the Armenia Mountain area appear to be changing quicker than anywhere else in the area. Lambs Lookout on Armenia Mountain would be a choice location for a fall viewing stop. Also, a drive across Landrus Road from Morris to Arnot would be of interest at this time." In addition, the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau's Fall Foliage Report suggests that foliage seekers can see some color by driving Rt. 6, Casey Highway, Rt. 29, Bear Lake and Bear Creek Road; around Tobyhanna State Park; and along Rt. 423. In the central fall foliage region - a funnel-shaped band with its narrow end in southern Wayne and Pike counties, stretching across the central third of Pennsylvania to Fayette, Greene and Washington counties, and widening to the northwest to include Erie and Warren Counties - autumn color ranges from 20-25 percent of peak color in Pike and Wayne counties to just 5 percent in the far western reaches of the region, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report. In the Laurel Highlands region - the mountainous area of southeastern Indiana County, southwestern Blair County, eastern Westmoreland and Fayette counties, and most of Somerset County - most spots remain less than 5 percent on their way to peak color, which is expected in the second or third week of October. In the southern fall foliage region - an area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset counties - the fall foliage transition is less than 5 percent. Peak color is not expected until the second half of October. Fall color generally progresses in a north-to-south pattern, meaning states to our north generally will hit peak color well ahead of most of Pennsylvania. Beautiful fall colors approaching near peak are expected in some areas of the Adirondacks this weekend, according to observers for New York Department of Economic Development's I Love New York program, while color change in most other areas of the state continues to progress slowly. In the Adirondacks, spotters reporting from Tupper Lake and Mt. Arab in Franklin County expect midpoint to near peak conditions with 45-50 percent leaf change. In Essex County, spotters reporting from La[...]


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Archery season for deer opens Saturday: Do you know the history of the season?

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 17:24:00 UTC

2016-09-29T17:27:15Z

Many of today's archery hunters may not remember a time not so long ago when their weapons were not legal hunting devices in Pennsylvania.




What does Friday's black moon mean?

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:00:00 UTC

2016-09-29T13:19:41Z

In a rare occurrence, we will have a black moon in the sky on Friday night.

The black moon Friday night does not signal the end of the world as we know it. It doesn't even mean that the moon will be turning black.

It's simply the second new moon in one calendar month, something that happens every 32 months or so and some refer to as a black moon.

In most months the moon "turns black" once, meaning it enters its new moon phase, and nobody makes a big deal out of it.

But, when there are two new moons in the same month, we feel the need to give a special moniker, just as we call a second full moon in a month a blue moon.

In any new moon phase, the moon is not visible to us because the backside of the moon is exposed to sunlight. Because of coincidence in the lunar month and our manmade calendar, it's simply happening twice in September 2016.


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Shorter days means its time for star parties; here are Pa.'s October stargazing events

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:18:00 UTC

2016-09-26T13:22:10Z

With volunteers or staff on hand, with telescopes and star charts, hosted starwatch programs are great for newcomers. Astronomy organizations, observatories and parks across Pennsylvania will host stargazing events throughout October across Pennsylvania. Most of the events include assistance by volunteers or staff, and telescopes and star charts for use by the public. Many of the events are held only when skies are clear enough for good viewing and the sponsoring organization will announce cancellations on their websites or Facebook pages. Here's the list of Pennsylvania stargazing events in October. Cherry Springs State Park The only International Dark Sky in Pennsylvania and one of the darkest spots on the East Coast will host a Night Sky Tour at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. All visitors are urged to arrive before dark at the park along Rt. 44, southeast of Galeton in Potter County. Pre-registration is required at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/cherrysprings. The York County Astronomical Society An Observing Starwatch will be offered at its observatory at John C. Rudy County Park near York at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Telescopes and star charts will be available. The society's website is http://www.ycas.org/directions.htm. Rittenhouse Astronomical Society A Public Star Watch and First Light Celebration will be held at the new Muddy Run Observatory built by Exelon Corporation in Holtwood at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. First light is the first viewing for a new observatory or telescope. The group's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/events/1580250588945934. Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society A Star Party will be held at its South Mountain Facility along East Rock Road at Allentown on Saturday, Oct. 8. The event will include a planetarium show for families with children ages 14 and younger at 6 p.m., a talk on "Life in the Universe" at 7 p.m., a planetarium show at 8 p.m. and time with provided telescopes starting at 7 p.m. The society's website is http://www.lvaas.org. The Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers A Star Party will be hosted on the model airplane field in the southwest corner of Valley Forge National Historical Park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. For questions about the weather, call the DVAA hotline at 484-238-0960. Chesmont Astronomical Society The monthly Star Party will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Marsh Creek State Park, Downingtown. The society's website is www.chesmontastro.org. The Astronomical Society of Harrisburg A Public Observing Program will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at the society's Naylor Observatory at Lewisberry. For possible cancellations, call 717-938-6041 after sunset. Black Moshannon State Park near Philipsburg A Draconid Meteor Shower Watch is expected over the park's lake at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. The Draconid shower shows about 10 meteors per hour.  Grundy Observatory in Lancaster A public observing night will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at Franklin & Marshall College's Grundy Observatory at Lancaster. Stoner Park in Lancaster There will be  a Public Star Watch at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21.  [...]


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Did the deer that worried Dauphin County residents have chronic wasting disease?

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:00:00 UTC

2016-09-26T12:07:20Z

A deer that appeared to have wasted away to just skin and bones was tested for chronic wasting disease.

An emaciated deer found near Williamstown in northern Dauphin County did not have chronic wasting disease, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Southeast Region Director Bruce Metz said the deer tested negative for CWD, a highly contagious, always fatal disease among members of the deer family that has been found in 25 wild deer and several captive deer in Pennsylvania.

After a photo of the deer circulated on Facebook and a Williamstown resident called to report that the deer had collapsed on his property last week, Wildlife Conservation Officer Scott Frederick killed the deer and took the carcass to Penn Vet's New Bolton Center in Chester County for a necropsy. 

According to the center, CWD was not detected in the brainstem or lymph nodes of the head from the deer. 

The center did find that the animal was suffering from a severe fungal infection in the esophagus that had spread into the deer's chest, leading to pneumonia in one of its lungs.

Where have we come with CWD in Pennsylvania?

CWD is a member of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy family of diseases that includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease in cattle, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, and scrapie in sheep and goats.

It was first recognized in Colorado deer and elk in 1967, and has since been found in animals in about two dozen states and Canadian provinces.

In Pennsylvania it first was detected in 2012, in captive deer in an Adams County, which led to the establishment of the state's first chronic wasting disease management area in parts of Adams and York counties.

State agencies have since established two additional CWDMAs, while all 25 wild deer detected with DMA has been within CWDMA 2, which includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset and Cambria counties.


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Official start of fall not accompanied by peak leaf-peeping color: Fall Foliage 2016

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:10:00 UTC

2016-09-23T12:12:47Z

Fall foliage reports from Pennsylvania, regional organizations and beyond the state place peak color still a couple weeks away. Fall foliage worth peeping remains at least a few weeks or several hundred miles of driving outside of Pennsylvania, according to several annual reports on autumn color. "Fall colors are just beginning to show in Penn's Woods," noted the Weekly Fall Foliage Report from the Bureau of Forestry in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. According to that report, the most advanced fall foliage by this weekend in Pennsylvania will be found in Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties, but it will be just 10-20 percent along its route to peak color, which is not expected there until Oct. 15-24. The bureau continued to note some factors that will impact Pennsylvania's fall foliage this autumn, at least in some areas of the state. Unusually warm, dry weather patterns in some parts of the state have caused premature development of the abscission layer at the base of the leaf stem to protect the tree from moisture loss. This situation occurs when trees are growing on dry, shallow or rocky soils or there is a deep seated drought in place. Formation of that layer will prevent those leaves from transitioning to their fall color, but the effect will be localized and "across the broad vistas of Penn's Woods we should still see panoramas of beautiful fall colors." The dry summer could further impact the brilliance of this fall's foliage in everything from individual trees to groups of trees to miles of forest. For 92 great spots for fall foliage viewing in Pennsylvania, check out the following post. Best leaf-peeping in Pennsylvania In Pennsylvania's northern of Wayne, Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter and McKean counties - the first zone to see color each fall - only a few tree species have started the process of changing color, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report. The transition is spotty across the region and peak color is not expected for another two weeks. The Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau's Fall Foliage Report agrees that in Wayne and Pike counties many trees will begin to change color over the course of next week.  For now, "foliage seekers can see some color by driving Rt. 6, the Casey Highway, Rt. 29, Bear Lake and Bear Creek Road along the northern border of the Pocono Plateau." In southern Wayne and Pike counties and northern Monroe County, some trees have experience early leaf drop because of dry conditions. And, in southern Monroe County and Carbon County, individual trees have launched into their fall display, but peak is not expected until mid-October. In the central fall foliage region - a funnel-shaped band with its narrow end in southern Wayne and Pike counties, stretching across the central third of Pennsylvania to Fayette, Greene and Washington counties, and widening to the northwest to include Erie and Warren Counties - autumn color ranges from 10-20 percent of fall color in Pike and Wayne counties to just 1-3 percent in the far northwestern reaches of the region, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report. In the Laurel Highlands region - the mountainous area of southeastern Indiana County, southwestern Blair County, eastern Westmoreland and Fayette counties, and most of Somerset County - most spots are less than 5 percent on their way to peak color, which is expected in the second or third week of October. The southern fall foliage region - an area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset counties - the fall foliage transition is less than 5 percent. Peak color is not expected until the second half of October. Fall color generally progresses in a north-to-south pattern, meaning states to our north generally will hit peak color[...]


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Fall foliage 2016: Best ways to peep leaves in Pennsylvania

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:11:00 UTC

2016-09-23T12:37:00Z

From driving tours to overlooks to campsites, Pennsylvania offers a nearly unlimited range of ways to experience the coming fall foliage.




Pennsylvania nature video: Young red fox forages for insects and fallen fruit in an orchard

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:30:00 UTC

2016-09-18T17:48:13Z

A red fox finds a varied diet in a Pennsylvania orchard. Watch video

Red fox, like the youngster in this video, eat everything from insects to small mammals and birds to fruits, berries and grasses. They also eat any carrion, animal waste or garbage they encounter.

The species remains common in many suburban and agricultural areas of Pennsylvania, despite pressure from a number of threats, including coyotes. For decades, the larger canine has been encroaching into the range of the red fox, which it kills whenever it gets the chance.

The red fox's adaptability to a wide range of foods in a wide range of habitats enables the animal to continue to exploit niches within the human-dominated landscape. The animal is an efficient hunter and will kill more prey than it needs at the time, burying the excess in caches for future use.


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Wildflowers, wild films, women in the outdoors: Pennsylvania outdoor highlights for this week

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:00:00 UTC

2016-09-18T11:09:43Z

Here are 14 outdoor programs and activities you can get in on this week.




Is Friday's harvest moon also a supermoon? Depends on your definition.

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 12:00:00 UTC

2016-09-16T12:12:13Z

A lunar eclipse also will coincide with tonight's full moon, but where will it be visible?

The full moon tonight is this year's harvest moon, which annually is the full moon closest the first day of autumn (Sept.22).

By some definitions it also will be a supermoon.

A widely accepted definition for a supermoon, developed by astrologer Richard Nolle, is a full moon occurring when the moon is at more than 90 percent of its closest orbital approach to Earth.

That is not the traditional, scientific use of the supermoon term, which insists that a supermoon occurs only when the full moon comes when the moon is at its closest approach to Earth.

If you need more than a full moon to get you outside with your eyes on the sky, this full moon is also a supermoon. Maybe. It's kind of a controversy.

The harvest moon definition has never been clouded like that of the supermoon. There is only one autumnal equinox and only one full moon closest to the first day of autumn.

However, the September full moon also is known by a few other names, most of them of Native American origin, including barley moon and corn moon.

Another important note about tonight's full moon is that it will also be a lunar eclipse, but not one visible anywhere near Pennsylvania. The eclipse will be visible in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

If you want to view the eclipse live, you can do that in an online sponsored by The Old Farmers Almanac on the Slooh website.


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Best spots to see elk in Pennsylvania

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 12:00:00 UTC

2016-09-13T15:30:56Z

While state agencies have done much to provide large, public viewing areas, here are some lesser known spots for additional views of the Pennsylvania elk herd.




Pennsylvania Nature Video: Water beetle frenzy

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 17:13:58 UTC

2016-09-12T00:17:39Z

Watch a swarm of water scavenger beetles jostle each other for position on a backwater of the Susquehanna River. Watch video

Water scavenger beetles are an insect superfamily of more than 3,200 species worldwide known as Hydrophiloidea.

They are mostly aquatic, although in most species the adults fly, which is their means of spreading to new waters. They are a freshwater species.

Most adults feed on algae or decaying matter, while their larvae are predators on a wide range of aquatic critters. In a few species, the adults also are predators.


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Bowhunters festival, native plant sale, bouldering: Pennsylvania outdoor calendar for this week

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 11:00:00 UTC

2016-09-12T11:08:43Z

Here 10 outdoor happenings you can get in on this week.




These are the insects invading your Pennsylvania home right now

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:44:00 UTC

2016-09-06T12:45:04Z

Home remedies range from repellents to toxics in the battle with the bugs.




Close out the summer as master of campfire cooking

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 10:30:00 UTC

2016-08-29T11:32:11Z

Campfire or firepit cooking can be taken to the next level with a bit of new technique and additional gear. Here are some tips to help you end the summer season as a champion of open fire cooking.