Sometimes people refer to “urban hiking” as walking around town, which is technically true I suppose, but more often than not the term is used to describe green space that is located in or around urban areas. Such is the case, with my “new backyard”, Lancaster County Central Park. With over 500 acres and a variety of trails it makes for an ideal get away for those us living in the city. For me, the entrance is located right across the street from my townhouse complex.
I frequently encounter trail runners, joggers, walkers, hikers, bikers, dog walkers and birders on my morning hikes, so solitude (especially) on the week-end is harder to find. Apparently, there are even a few graffiti painters, although the sample below is the only one I have seen so far and looks to be older.
There is a large area near the highest elevation of the park that is designated for bird nesting. The meadow is dotted with bird houses and wildflowers and is popular with birders. A wide mowed grass trail circles the meadow. Over the last two days I have spotted Eastern Blue Birds, Red Winged Blackbirds, a Baltimore Oriole (the bird not the baseball players), and a beautiful Indigo Bunting.
BELOW: Across the meadow and in the distance the Lancaster city skyline is visible:
BELOW: The wildflowers are nearly finished for the season, however, the pretty but invasive phlox species is still blooming.
One thing that was much missed by my feline friends when living in Maine was watching the birds. In all of our previous homes in Pennsylvania we had managed to attract birds to our feeders, providing stimulation and entertainment for Pebbles and Bam Bam.
For whatever reason, we were unsuccessful in attracting birds to our home in Maine despite my best efforts. So I was hopeful that our current winter location, next to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland would proved more successful.
It wasn’t until mid December that (apparently), the native food sources began to disappear and birds began appearing at our feeders. Now we have a lovely variety of birds – Woodpeckers (for the suet), Chickadees, Juncos, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jays, Purple Finches, plus the normal assortment of sparrows and wrens. I was excited to see several red-winged Blackbirds, but unfortunately they brought with them a small flock of more common blackbirds and starlings who are eating me out of house and home. Hopefully, they will be moving on in a week or two to greener pastures.
Needless to say, Pebbles and Bam Bam are enjoying the scenery immensely, and take turns using the prime viewing spot pictured below.