Summer’s End

Some memories of late summer, fresh and vivid as ever; memories of fields, forests, streams … and precious friends along the way.

An Anglewing butterfly, Eastern Comma, on Panicled Aster

Eastern Chipmunk perched high up in a wild apple tree

Wild apples; a bumper crop with limbs bending, and sometimes breaking, under the load

Perching dragonfly (Meadowhawk), highlighted by a background of New England Aster blossoms

Thistle in a slight breeze

Monarch butterfly visiting New England Aster

A mountain stream, dead for decades from coal mine acid pollution, now with a heart beat due to massive, long-term clean-up efforts.

Cow elk, part of a family group of 4 (excluding the rutting, 7 x 7 heard bull that is keeping an eye on them); Pennsylvania’s wild elk herd.

“Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.”   – Pope Francis

“Pennsylvania Wilds”

Ralph Harrison 1928-2015: forester, conservationist, forest historian; the father of the Pennsylvania elk herd; a friend and mentor for 43 years. ……………..   In loving memory.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Goldfinches Behaving Naturally

One thing usually leads to another, whether it be home repairs or nature photography. On a recent trip to the local farm stand a scene caught my eye: a field of ripening grain bordered by a freshly minted hops operation.


My best vantage point  for the landscape photo happened to be at the edge of a commercial blueberry patch, now fallow with more weeds than blueberries in the rows. Milkweeds, fleabane and field thistles were everywhere, but the thistles had gone to seed and were the main attraction.


Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one interested in thistle seed heads. A flock of goldfinches was feeding up and down the rows – and I went along for the ride!




According to Watchable Wildlife, Inc., there are 60 million birders in the U.S. and “viewing” wildlife is a 50 billion-dollar industry. The commercial substitutes for thistle seed, sold for backyard tube feeders, are currently about two dollars a pound and a small part of this phenomenon. It’s refreshing to have the opportunity to observe birds behaving naturally, apart from the continuous offerings of steak and caviar in our backyards!


My first visit to the farm was fairly late in the day and it wasn’t long before fading light forced me to quit – but – not until I captured this late arrival to the weed patch!  One thing leads to another.


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.