About Me

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We are known as PaWingers or just The Wingers by our Geocaching friends. When we found our first cache we had to come up with a name to log the find. We came up with this name simply because of residing in Pa. and because one of our many passions is cruising this beautiful country on our Honda Goldwing. Aside from geocaching we are passionate about most anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling and biking. We are blessed beyond words with a wonderful son and daughter in law. We're also blessed with some terriffic family and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate due to the fact that after being married over 40 years we still enjoy these things together.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paddling Bennetts Branch in late February

We are so lucky to have several choices for paddling in our area.  I talked with my paddling buddy this morning and we decided to paddle Bennetts Branch between Caledonia and Grant, a distance of approximately 13 miles.  The day was exceptional with perfect water levels and mild temperatures. 

This is a shot of Russ appearing to have just emerged from a narrow ice jammed channel.  Hey, you don't get to paddle among car sized ice bergs every day.

We do understand that not many people would paddle this water in the winter but sadly not many paddlers enjoy it in nice weather either.  It's some extraordinary water with beautiful scenery, loads of critters and enough whitewater to hold your attention.  Today we saw several elk, turkeys, ducks, geese and a Pileated Woodpecker.  To make it even better the mountains were snow covered and the banks were lined with huge ice from the recent ice jamming,  Hey, what's not to like!!!

Wildlife taking advantage of a mild late February day.

As February silently slips into our chronological history book for 2011 the wildlife were out in abundance enjoying the break from the harsh winter.  The temperatures were very pleasant and the winds were calm to non-existent.  What a perfect day for enjoying some good old Pa wildlife.  The snow is still deep in the woods but the warmer temperatures and warmer sun has helped to reduce the hard crust that is so devastating for animals.

 Every season provides it's own splendor and winter is no different.  The beauty is there for those that leave the warmth and protection of their homes.

While we set comfortable and warm within our heated abodes the ominous shadows of winter coexist in nature.

The Ruffed Grouse saw this beautiful day to be an opportunity to sit high in the trees feeding on some tender buds.  Although enjoying his feast he was fully aware that he was being watched and was ready to take flight in an instant.

This big bull was looking silly so we snapped his picture.

Hold on, I want to make a funny face when you take my picture!

One minute they're sharing a good joke and the next minute.........

they're locking horns and arguing about some cute cow that the other bull took into it's harem.

And you better not mess with me in the fall!!

Ahh, another successful day of elk hunting in the Benezette area.  Just like hunting you need to try to outsmart your prey.  In this case we spotted this bull a 1/2 mile away and anticipated his route and his destination.  If our hunch was correct we would be hunkered down and waiting for him.  As it turned out, our hunch was correct and we were there and got the shot.

Hunting with a camera isn't that different than hunting with a firearm the only difference to us is that the rewards are greater.  When I say the rewards are greater I simply mean that after we get our shot the subject or victim walks away so we can hunt them again another day.  After we take our shot others can still hunt them and perhaps get the shot that they have have so badly wanted.  It's true our hunting doesn't put meat on the table but it does give us something to hang on the wall.  And now that we think about it, we rarely go home hungry because of the wonderful eateries in the Benezette area.

I hunted for many years with a firearm and I'm by no means on an anti hunting crusade nor do I look back at my hunting years with shame or regret.  It's a great sport and I have many fond memories.  I've just changed my weapon of choice.

So I was asking this elk if they got snow this morning.  He said, "we just got a dusting".

He's a big fella!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bird Watching on the Allegheny River

Today was a perfect day to head up to the outflow of the Kinzua Reservoir in hopes of spotting some Bald Eagles.  When their tummies begin to growl or they just crave a snack they seem to hang around open water looking for a bite to eat.  After hanging out for awhile it looked like we may have been stood up by these magnificent critters but perseverance paid off.  We went down river about a mile and we spotted an eagle on a small patch of dry land at the leading edge of an island.  As we set up the tripod we were thrilled to see 3 mature eagles and 1 immature eagle.  They were not only looking for a meal but also seemed to be enjoying the sport of swooping very close to a nearby goose time after time.  The goose stood his ground and the eagles eventually tired of that game.

We were looking for eagles but this beautiful Cardinal caught our eye and we just had to snap a couple quick pictures.

As we headed back home we spotted a nice flock of turkeys and a few deer snacking away on something that was apparently quite tasty.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February Wildlife

Winter 2011 has been a tough one on the critters.  They have had to endure very frigid temperatures and thick ice that makes it tough to get around and to find food.  Luckily we were blessed with a nice February thaw and the wildlife sure seemed to be taking advantage of it.  Today they were out and about and gathering lots of nourishment in preparation for the balance of the winter.

Mr Gray Squirrel stuffing his face

Now that's a lot of Bull!

No, This wasn't Photoshopped.

Note the black radio antenna.    Maybe he has XM.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winslow Wildlife

We spent the afternoon wandering around Winslow Hill in hopes of getting some good images of wildlife.  We spotted some nice big bulls but it was difficult to get close enough for some good pictures.  The snow was especially treacherous yet and we didn't want to cause the animals to have to run and risk hurting them.  These icy conditions are very hard on wildlife.  We watched a flock of turkey as they tried to get down thru the crust in search of food.  Once again, we kept our distance to not panic them.  We love to get good pictures but won't put the animals at risk for a picture.  The deer we saw were making every effort to move as little as necessary.  Hopefully the icy crust will soften so the critters can move more easily.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fooling around in Photoshop

This is something I haven't fooled around with very much.  It's called Selective Color and it's kinda cool.  This picture was taken on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail between Cumberland and Frostburg.  I just picked it at random to experiment with.  I kinda like it.