I stopped to explore a conservation area, coincidentally right after a heavy rain which completely changes a natural area because everything that lives comes out after the storm is over and the place is very busy, even noisy, with all the activity.
I was photographing water droplets on the grass, nice enough, when a damselfly literally wandered into the picture, looking like a small model airplane in the lens.
This happens to be an Eastern Forktail damselfly. Part of the fun of the exploration is getting out the guidebooks and hitting the internet to learn about what you just discovered you didn’t know.
Here’s a close-up of the damselfly. The above photo is more attractive, but the photo below is a little more clear. I discovered this species hanging out at Wingfield Pines in Upper St. Clair, PA (near Pittsburgh), a property protected by the Allegheny Land Trust.
As I arrived at twilight, the group was gathered around the bonfire as the temperature dropped again toward the single digits. Who could say that winter has no color as even the heavy overcast sky colored with the shades of a winter evening and the snow reflected, catching flashes of firelight here and there?
This was a good old-fashioned skate outdoors, though I never did put my skates on—too busy taking photos and talking.
The place is Wingfield Pines in Upper St. Clair, a conservation area owned by the Allegheny Land Trust that has been used for farming, mining, a health club and a golf course in this century alone. Now it’s been allowed to rest and enjoy just being there with the gentler human uses of hiking and dog-walking and the occasional skate, not to mention that big old AMD remediation project, but the land is forgiving.
The old golf ponds freeze solid in weather consistently this cold, and the terrain is perfect for cross-country skiing. Read about Wingfield Pines on the Allegheny Land Trust website.