Earlier this month, Donna Rai and I took advantage of some great sunny weather and spent a long weekend at Camp F-Troop. We enjoyed two evening campfires, two four-mile hikes, an 11-mile kayaking adventure on the Allegheny River, and an hour of nighttime deer-spotlighting. But most of all we enjoyed viewing a great variety of wildlife all weekend.
During our Saturday morning hike, a large doe stepped out in front of us on the trail, placing one careful hoof after the other, and two fawns followed. Later that day on the river, we spotted two great blue herons near the shoreline fishing in the shallows, a troupe of purple-crested common mergansers swimming upstream past our kayaks, and two redtail hawks sailing overhead. That night while deer-spotlighting, we counted 30 deer in one hour, including two sub-legal and three legal bucks. We also spotted a raccoon, a porcupine, and a skunk, each a mile apart during our drive, crossing the road in the dark.
And Sunday afternoon, during a drive to Chapman State Park in the Allegheny National Forest, we saw a pair of ruffed grouse strolling just off the roadside and later two young gray foxes crossing the dusty dirt road. We stopped and hooted out the Jeep window at them, and one fox paused and stood broadside for a moment, displaying his fine orange and gray fur and the dark fire in his eyes. You can always count on good wildlife sightings at camp.
Good luck out there. And have a great week outdoors.
~ Don Feigert, 9-20-09