Monday, June 29, 2009

Hay Creek Watershed (Birdsboro Reservoir)

Another beautiful night for a walk (73 & sunny). By 6:30 along the old SR82, the road is completely shaded by the mountain and trees so photo ops were limited.

A secondary reason why there were few macro subjects was because the shoulders were mowed back about 4 feet. This was prime insect habitat or weeds depending on your perspective.

The Birdsboro Reservoir was calm and near mirror-like reflections were at every angle. Lighting is always tricky around the lake, for the skies are so much brighter then the trees causing high contrast situations.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reading Public Museum and West Reading

Nursing a sore ankle, so I thought an "urban" environment would be less stressful then hopping rocks, and hurdling logs.

Well, have you seen what happens to the sidewalks in mature neighborhoods in West Reading? A small consequence of big, old, beautiful mature trees is invasive root systems that skew most sidewalk slabs within three feet of the trunk. I pictured bikes, Big Wheels and strollers vigorously bouncing over the uneven pavements.

Keeping one eye on the ground and another for photo ops, I made it (with Max of course) to the Museum where the trails are paved and wide.

As I shared in prior posts, the grounds next to Parkside Road North are so impressive. The early Spring collection of flowers gave way to the early Summer collection of colorful Lillies and other species.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

French Creek State Park (Green Afternoon)

Max and I spent a great warm evening (70's) at French Creek. Great lighting, lots of people, some muddy spots, but minimal bugs made it a great outing.

We lapped Hopewell Lake (~2 miles), muddy in the usual seep areas, but overall pretty dry. The lake was filled with kayaks, canoes and fishing boats.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"TD Bank" Pro Cycling Race in Philadelphia

For many years, my favorite summer kick-off events is to go to the International Professional Cycling Championship. Philadelphia has been hosting the race for 25 years the first weekend in June. It was nearly lost this year, but the tour secured some last minute funding.

The course runs 156 miles, which is 10 laps from the Art Museum to Manayunk and back. Between 5-6 hours in a bike saddle is a pure endurance test. Women also race in the "Liberty Classic", a shorter 100 miles course, but with the same lap distance.

Near the Art Museum, the "feed zone" and vendor area are constantly buzzing with activity and are just steps from grand stands and great views of the sprint to the finish line. I always load up on free samples of nutritional products, sports drinks, and local interest giveaways.

Also across from and on the steps of the Art Museum is the VIP/main sponsor activity area. Dancing mascots, face painting, water ice, cow bells, back bags, rock climbing, crafts, all free, just to name a few things TD Bank shared.

I haven't been to the Manayunk leg of the race in years, but they open their arms and bottles for the day and make it a huge neighborhood party.
I can't remember the event ever being rained out. The weather is usually perfect too, making the day out in Philly even more memorable.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SGL-52 (First Visit)

I learned about SGL52 from Ken Lebo, a regular contributor to the Berks County Nature Blog (Reading Eagle).

Max & I visited about 9:30 AM on a mild 60 degree morning. There are three parking lots along Edwards Road and I stopped at the last and largest one, just a few hundred feet from the turnpike.

The main reason I chose this spot was to check out the Black Creek, but there were no trails. So we followed the rolling tractor road up the hill. Tons of colorful wildflowers were along the road and song birds were everywhere.

In the road, a turkey hen and chick spotted us and quickly laid in the long grass next to the road rather then running into the deep brush. As we approached, we spotted each other simultaneously and she hopped up, squawked and flew away leaving her baby to fend for itself.

Max is always leashed, but his uncanny tracking skills found the scent trail of the highly camouflaged chick. I guided him away from the hiding spot and he quickly picked up another scent as we proceeded on the walk.

Warning: This place is tick infested. The worst I have ever been to. The plants that drape into the road must have been loaded for I pulled multiple ticks off Max several times. I was doused in my organic non-DEET repellent so they avoided me I guess. I've noticted that tall grass (above 3") continues to be most common habitat for ticks. but they are surely anywhere outdoors.