Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:09:38 UTCCopyright: Copyright 2016
Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:00:48 UTC
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.
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 email@example.com.
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:00:00 UTC
2016-10-26T12:09:38ZCentral Pennsylvania song-writing duo puts the tale of the Raystown Lake monster to music. Raystown Ray, the lake monster rumored to dwell in the Huntingdon County lake of the same name, now has his, or her, own theme song. src="https://vine.co/v/eirlOJztB0D/embed/simple" width="600" height="600" frameborder="0"> The Song Whisperers - Bill Dann, of Tyrone, and Jack Servello, of Shippensburg - have put the tale of the great beast into song. Their collaborating video/slideshow producer, Michelle Peters, of Beech Creek, added the video. Songwriters Bill Dann and Jack Servello has put the tale of lake monster Raystown Ray to music.Contributed photo The result has been delighting viewers on YouTube ever since. Dann, who begins the process for the team, by writing lyrics like those, asked his Facebook followers for suggestions of "a local legend that would make a good Halloween song." Gary McGovern, of Tyrone, supplied some information on Raystown Ray, which intrigued Dann. A bit more research into the creature led him to George LaVanish, owner of the Tyrone-based Wilderness Editions wildlife art and print company, trademark-holder on artistic renditions Ray and owner of the RaystownRay.com website. Learn more about Raystown Ray "We agreed that Ray was a docile, gentle giant and should be portrayed as such," said Dann, who then was off and writing the lyrics, which passed to Servello for the music. The result includes these notes on the creature: "Ray isn't some barbarian. He's strictly vegetarian." And, "... he really is quite timid and meek. And if you look above his chin, you might even his friendly grin. When you see him, don't be alarmed. This gentle giant means no on harm. So try and catch a peak today of friendly, bashful Raystown Ray." Among Servello's special touches for the novelty song are the sounds of water bubbling "while Ray glides through Raystown Lake" and a chirping sound, offered as the sound made by the lake monster. The chorus of the song acknowledges the creature's disputed existence with: "Raystown Ray, Raystown Ray, please show yourself to us today. We know that some say you're not real, but we know you're the real deal. Rise up to break the surface here. Oh how we yearn to see you near. This big lake is made to frolic and play. Won't you indulge us, Raystown Ray." It's exactly the type of mystery that Dann likes to capture in their songs, the type that makes "people come up to you and ask, 'Did that really happen?' Then you know you've created an invocative legend." He explained, "I never know what the next one is going to be about. Yeah, it's nice, but where did that come from?" For his part, Servello said, "as soon as I saw his words, I had a melody I my head. Sometimes I need to rewrite a line or so. You try to make it interesting." It's a process that's been working for the duo for more than a decade. "Raystown Ray" isn't the first animal-related song from Dann and Servello. Several years ago, they composed "Thor, the Purple Squirrel from Jersey Shore" about the strangely colored, headline-grabbing squirrel in northcentral Pennsylvania. That one went viral, and was featured on the Travel Channel program "Paranormal Paparazzi" and on Dr. Demento's long running syndicated radio show. It also wasn't the first foray into the paranormal for the composers of "The Howlin' Hounds of Howard," "White Lady of the Buckhorn" and others. They've also produced more serious songs, including tributes to the likes of the Beach Boys and Ron Dante, lead singer of the Archies; patriotic tunes; holiday songs like "Tonka Trunks and Tinker Toys" and "Santa Does the Peppermint Twist;" and pleas for better treatment for dogs, including "A Warmer Place to Rest" and "All Chained Up and No Place to Go." About 50 of their songs are available on their dreamsedge YouTube channel. Raystown Ray was part of PennLive's Monsters of Pennsylvania series And, what do the song writers think about the folklo[...]
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:49:00 UTC
What about rabies and germs? Here are some truths about bats that might change your views of the Halloween icon.
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:00:00 UTC
Bird feeder season can wait for these feasting birds in a Pennsylvania backyard. Watch video
As many backyard birders position and fill their bird feeders for the coming winter, the birds are finding plenty to eat from the natural bounty that remains on drying plants, both wild and domestic.
Waiting to clean up flower beds and gardens allows time for the birds to pick off remaining seeds, pods and fruits.
In addition, harvesting tall grasses and the like and tying them into bundles can make for some free, additional feeder offerings later in the year, or right now to attract the birds into desired viewing spots.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:51:26 UTC
Orionid meteor shower rains bits of Halley's Comet into Earth's atmosphere.
As Earth passes through the debris left behind by Halley's Comet - Oct. 2 through Nov. 7 this year - bits of that debris are entering our atmosphere as meteors in the annual Orionid meteor shower.
Peak for the Orionids, which normally display 10-20 meteors per hour, is now.
Unfortunately, the moon is showing rather brightly these nights and can interfere with spotting the Orionids. And, cloudy skies are forecast for tonight, presenting another obstacle to favorable viewing of anything in our skies.
Still want to give it a try? The dark hours before dawn will be your best chance.
The Orionids radiate from the constellation the "club" of Orion, the Hunter, which gives them their name. Orion is currently ascending in our eastern night-sky in the predawn hours.
However, you do not need to locate Orion to find the meteors. Orion is just the area of the sky from which they radiate. They often aren't visible at their starting point and only become visible as they continue to streak across the sky, in all directions.
The Orionids are fast meteors, coming into Earth's atmosphere at about 41 miles per second.
Comet Halley - the most famous of comets and the source of the Orionid meteors - last passed Earth in 1986. The debris left by the comet hits Earth's atmosphere most fully around Oct. 20-22 each year, as Earth passes through the comet's orbit.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:00:28 UTC
Fall foliage report from Pennsylvania spotters says this is the weekend for best leaf-peeping of 2016 in parts of Pennsylvania.
More than half of Pennsylvania, all the way south to the Kittatinny Ridge - also known locally as the Blue Mountain - has reached peak fall color, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report from the Bureau of Forestry in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The state's northern fall foliage region - northern Wayne County, and all of Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter and McKean counties - was already at 100 percent full color this week.
In Pennsylvania's 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 - fall color ranges from 60 to 80 percent of peak. The best leaf-peeping of the year is expected through next week.
My secret fall foliage drive for the next nine days or so is Rt. 192 from Lewisburg to Centre Hall, which offers a nice variety of forests, mountains, agricultural areas and small towns.
Forests 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 - also have reached 100 percent for this fall.
After next weekend, the state's southern foliage zone - the area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern - will be the last hope of 2016 for anyone who has yet gotten out for their fix of fall color.
In the northern and western extremes of the zone, fall foliage ranges from 50-75 percent of peak. In the extreme southeastern corner of the state, the leaves are only 10-30 percent into their annual transition.
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:42:00 UTC
Of 11 species of bats in Pennsylvania, one is endangered, two are threatened and many have been impacted by white-nose syndrome.
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:21:50 UTC
2016-10-18T10:57:00ZPennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation stages event at Hammonds Rocks in Michaux State Forest as part of Stewards of Penn's Woods anti-graffiti initiative. With a recent Plein Air event at Hammonds Rocks in Michaux State Forest, Cumberland County, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation is continuing its attack on the graffiti epidemic that has plagued the popular boulder outcropping and vista. The foundation began the assault on an estimated 6,500 square feet of graffiti at Hammonds Rock earlier this year, with the first effort under a new Stewards of Penn's Woods volunteer initiative to scrub the boulders of the graffiti. The foundation held the Plein Air event to raise awareness of the problem of graffiti on state lands across the state - a hit-list of 37 graffiti-battered hotspots in state forests has been compiled - and demonstrate a better way to enjoy the beauty of our state parks and forests. For the events, artists carried their easels, paints and canvas, or a camera, to Hammonds Rocks to capture the natural beauty. Artist Nancy Mendes, of Mechanicsburg, captures the natural splendor of the Hammonds Rocks boulder outcropping Rocks in Michaux State Forest in Cumberland County during the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation's first Plein Air event for the Stewards of Penn's Woods anti-graffiti initiative.Contributed photo "Nature inspires art, but we prefer to see paint on canvas, not 500 million year old rock," said Marci Mowery, president of the Foundation. She said additional Plein Air and other anti-graffiti events will be held next year. Although the full extent of the graffiti problem has not been measured at the other 36 sites considered under the new stewards initiative, volunteers are being sought to take responsibility for trail heads, boat launches, islands, vistas and other wild spots under assault by graffiti, trash and other human-caused destruction. "It's a different way for people to get engaged in their state forests," explained Mowery. "Volunteers agree to go out (to their sites) a minimum of four times a year and do what needs to be done," everything from pulling weeds to removing graffiti or trash to reporting the need for larger efforts. In addition to continued maintenance, the ongoing return visits by the volunteers are intended as a deterrent to future destruction at the sites. Launched in 1999, the nonprofit foundation provides a voice and support for the state's 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest. Among the foundation's programs is a network of about 40 friends groups at state parks across the state. Artist Demi Hauseman, of Carlisle, draws inspiration at the Hammonds Rocks boulder outcropping Rocks in Michaux State Forest in Cumberland County during the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation's first Plein Air event for the Stewards of Penn's Woods anti-graffiti initiative.Contributed photo [...]
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 21:39:42 UTC
As an added bonus, clear weather is predicted in central Pennsylvania, creating perfect viewing conditions.
Sky watchers, get ready - a brighter-than-usual full moon, known as the "hunters moon" will light up the night skies this weekend.
As an added bonus, it also happens to be a supermoon, making it an even rarer occurrence. Luckily for us, weather conditions this weekend will be perfect for viewing the lunar event in central Pennsylvania.
Expect the moon to reach its full phase at 12:23 a.m. Oct. 16. So you'll be able to view it in its full glory both Saturday and Sunday nights.
Unlike a regular full moon, this month's supermoon and will appear brighter because the moon's orbit is actually at its closest point to Earth.
The "hunter's moon" typically falls in October after the "harvest moon." It gets its name due to the fact during most months the moon rises 50 minutes later each day, while in October it rises just 30 minutes earlier, according to National Geographic.
Basically, the hunters moon provides additional light for farmers and hunters.
If you miss this month's supermoon, don't worry. Two more supermoons will occur this year in November and December.
The November supermoon will be the largest visible full moon to occur so far this century, according to National Geographic.
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 12:00:00 UTC
Fall foliage report from Pennsylvania spotters says this is the weekend for best leaf-peeping of 2016 in parts of Pennsylvania.
Full-blown, 100 percent peak, fall foliage has come to Pennsylvania.
However, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report from the Bureau of Forestry in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, "there is a great deal of variation out there. In autumns like this are some of the most dramatic examples of autumn colors but they are not panoramas so they are missed."
If the northern tier of Pennsylvania is your favored leaf-peeping venue, this weekend, and maybe next week, is the prime time for a visit to Bradford, McKean, Potter, Susquehanna and Tioga counties, and northern Wayne County.
Routes 6 and 44 are recommended drives in the northern tier, but my secret spot for this week is Rt. 87 from just north of Tunkhannock west to Montoursville.
The Pocono Region - Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike and Wyoming counties, as well as northern Carbon and Wayne counties - is very close behind, at 80-95 percent of peak color. That means this weekend will probably be the best of fall 2016 and next weekend probably will be a bit past peak.
In Pennsylvania's 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 - west of the Poconos, fall foliage has reached 30-50 percent and best color is expected in the coming week.
Recommended drives are Rt. 22 west of Ebensburg, Rt. 56 east of Windber and Rt. 403 west of Johnstown. The Pine Hill Vista in the Pinchot Forest District is a great overlook from which to take in the autumn splendor.
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 - fall color is peaking and will continue to do so right through next weekend.
In the southern fall foliage region - an area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset counties - trees along the base of the Blue Mountain and points north have changed dramatically, but peak isn't expected until after Oct. 21.
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 12:03:00 UTC
Scattered in the far corners of Pennsylvania, Cherry Valley, John Heinz and Erie national wildlife refuges protect a range of threatened and endangered species, and their habitats.
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 18:01:00 UTC
In some years the Draconid meteor shower has been spectacular, showing thousands of meteors per hour.
Draco, the dragon constellation of stars that hovers above the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper in our northwestern night sky, is expected to be spitting out its peak shower of Draconid meteors tonight.
However, this year's shower is expected to be a modest one at best, probably only a dozen or so meteors per hour.
On the upside, Draconids are best viewed in the evening hours, soon after darkness falls, rather than midnight or later, as is the case with many meteor showers. Sunset will come at 6:39 p.m.
Cloud cover is forecast to be building throughout the evening, but should be only partial in the early evening.
No one is predicting that this year's Draconid shower will be anything beyond normal, but some years have been spectacular. Thousands of meteors per hours were seen in 1933 and 1946, and observers reported more than 600 per hour in 2011.
The Draconid meteors are debris left behind in the path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner as it orbits the sun. The comet was discovered in 1900 by Michel Giacobini.
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 12:20:00 UTC
Fall foliage reports from Pennsylvania, regional organizations and beyond the state place peak leaf-peeping a week away in the state's northern tier.
Peak fall color is expected across northern Pennsylvania by next weekend, according to the Weekly Fall Foliage Report from the Bureau of Forestry in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
For now, however, "along the higher elevations there are already plenty of trees that are turning, in particular the maples with everything from yellows through all of the oranges into the deep reds although many maples are still green. Black walnut continues to scatter gold leaflets with the breezes, and black gum is turning to deep reds and purples. Ash is gaining its muted purple, which will soon be lost from our forests as a result an invasive species, the emerald ash borer."
Even in the state's northern zone of Wayne, Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Potter and McKean counties fall color is only 20-30 percent en route to peak autumn colors.
The Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau's Fall Foliage Report notes that in northern Wayne and Pike counties. "due to the prolonged drought, there have been no significant changes this week. Over the course of the (upcoming) week, many different trees will start to change color."
To the south, in Monroe County and Carbon County, cooler weather and shorter days have brought some more species to the stage of fall color, but peak color is projected for Oct. 24, according to the vacation bureau's report.
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.
Peak color has come to the Adirondacks, foliage is nearing peak in the Catskills and hitting 25-50 percent across more southerly parts of New York, according to observers for New York Department of Economic Development's I Love New York program.
In Pennsylvania's 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 - fall color ranges from 5-20 percent. Peak is expected from Oct. 14-24.
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 - autumnal blaze is only slightly more advanced, at about 35 percent this weekend, with peak also expected Oct 14-24.
In the southern fall foliage region - an area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset counties - peak isn't expected until after Oct. 21.
My secret best spots of the week for fall foliage are the many peaks and ridges around Tannersville, N.Y., which is known as "The Painted Village in the Sky." It's another vacation village with a nice collection of restaurants, shops and lodging choices.
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 15:48:00 UTC
Make an educated guess on the fall foliage your leaf-peeping from a distance with a color-by-color guide for common Pennsylvania species.
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 13:53:00 UTC
2016-10-04T12:58:24ZCombining the hunting expertise of Cabela's and fishing/boating expertise of Bass Pro will benefit consumers and strengthen the company, says Bass Pro founder and CEO Johnny Morris. There's a Bass Pro in Harrisburg and a Cabela's in Berks County. Bass Pro Shops is acquiring Cabela's in a $5.5 billion deal, a merger of titans in the outdoors retail world. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017 and will be completed through a cash merger, which is subject to regulatory approval and approval of Cabela's shareholders and complete regulatory approvals. Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris will continue as CEO and majority shareholder of the new entity, which will remain a private company. Cabela's trades on NYSE as CAB, and the shareholders will receive $65.50 per share under terms of the deal, which was approved unanimously by Cabela's board of directors. As part of the merger: Bass Pro is entering into a multi-year credit-card partnership with Capital One. Capital One will originate and service the Cabela's CLUB, Cabela's co-branded credit card, and Bass Pro Shops will maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies' retail operations and deep customer relationships. Customer loyalty programs at Cabela's and Bass Pro will remain unchanged. All Cabela's CLUB points and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards points will be unaffected by the transactions and customers can continue to use their credit cards as they were prior to the transaction. Bass Pro Shops is proud to have secured preferred equity financing from the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and Pamplona to facilitate the transaction. Goldman Sachs has committed $1.8 billion and Pamplona has committed $600 million for a total preferred financing commitment of $2.4 billion. The transaction provides Cabela's shareholders with a premium of 19.2% to Cabela's closing share price on Sep. 30, 2016, the day prior to announcement of the transaction, 39.7% to the closing share price on Dec. 1, 2015, the day before Cabela's announced its exploration of strategic alternatives and 57.1% to the 90-day volume weighted trading average prior to Dec. 1, 2015. Morris said in a letter to employees and vendors that the merger brings together "time-tested, iconic outdoor brands: Cabela's, a leader in hunting, and Bass Pro Shops, a leader in fishing, and White River Marine Group, a worldwide leader in boating. ... This really is a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for both of our companies and clearly provides the foundation to create a 'best of the best' shopping experience for all outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come. I truly believe combining our two companies in this transaction will benefit our collective associates and our vendors while enabling us to enhance our service and expand our products to better serve our valued customers." Bass Pro was founded in 1972 by Johnny Morris and has 99 stores and Tracker Marine Centers, including one in Harrisburg on Paxton Street at the Harrisburg Mall. In 1978, Morris introduced the first professionally rigged and nationally marketed boat, motor and trailer packages with White River Marine Group. Cabela's was founded by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela in 1961 and has more than 19,000 outfitters operating 85 specialty retail stores. The nearest Cabela's is in Hamburg, Berks County. [...]
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 12:10:00 UTC
Pennsylvania moves up to No. 3 on list of states where drivers are most likely to collide with a deer.
Drivers in Pennsylvania are more likely to collide with deer this year, according to State Farm insurance company.
Based on an analysis of the company's claims data, State Farm moved Pennsylvania up from the No. 4 most likely spot last year to No. 3 this year.
According to the insurance company, a Pennsylvania driver has a one in 67 chance of colliding with a deer this year, up from a one in 70 chance last year.
A driver in the No. 1 mostly likely state - West Virginia - has a one in 41 chance of hitting a deer, while in No. 2 Montana a driver has a one in 58 chance. In Iowa, which slipped from No. 3 last year to No. 4 this year, the chance is one in 68. And in No. 5 South Dakota, the driver has a one in 70 chance.
Nationally the average is one in 164, which is slightly riskier than the one in 169 chance of last year.
Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm annually calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer, elk or moose from July 1-June 30 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data is then projected for the insurance industry as a whole, based on the State Farm personal vehicle market penetration within each state.
There were 1.3 million deer claims reported to State Farm from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
More than 133,800 Pennsylvania deer claims were reported to State Farm during that same period.
Average property damage claim was $3,995 nationally, down slightly from $4,135 last year.
State Farm noted that November is the worst month for collisions with deer, followed by October.