They say that the golden hour just before sunset produces some of the best pictures. I’m not sure that I agree. In an overcast climate like Pennsylvania, low light can produce some problems for photography. A recent trip to eastern Lancaster County was something of a mixed bag.
Just a Few Lancaster County Covered Bridges
This post features a quick series of covered bridges in northwestern Lancaster County, the home of the largest number of covered bridges in the state. The first up is Schenk’s Mill Covered Bridge (or Shenk’s Mill Covered Bridge). It is a covered bridge that spans Big Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It is painted red and both approaches to the bridge are painted white. It is one of only 3 covered bridges in the county with horizontal side boards. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1847 by Charles Malhorn and Levi Fink. It was rebuilt in 1855 and is 80 feet long.
The Shearer’s Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that also spans Big Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design. It is the only covered bridge in the county painted entirely in red in Lancaster County, on both the inside and outside, including both approaches. The other all red bridge, Pool Forge Covered Bridge, is only painted on the outside. It is one of only 3 covered bridges in the county with horizontal side boards. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1847 by Jacob Clare. It was rebuilt in 1855 and stayed its original location until it was moved in 1971 to its present location in the Manheim Memorial Park. It is 86 feet long.
The Pinetown Bushong’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans the Conestoga River. The bridge is also known as the Pinetown Amish Covered Bridge, Pinetown Covered Bridge, Nolte’s Point Mill Bridge and Bushong’s Mill Bridge.
The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1867 by Elias McMellen at a cost of $4,500. In 1972, it was destroyed as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes. Due to a tremendous response of area residents who signed a petition for its reconstruction, it was among the first covered bridges to be restored after Agnes. In the spring of 1973, the bridge was rebuilt by the nearby Amish. To prevent damage due to future flooding, they raised the bridge to 17 feet 6 inches above the average water line. Lititz Run joins the Conestoga River at this site. It is 124 feet long.
The Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge, or Sporting Hill Bridge, is a covered bridge that spans Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks.
It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge was originally built in 1857 at a cost of $1,185 by James C. Carpenter. The bridge was named after the Kauffman’s Distillery Mill which operated in the late 1800s. In 1874, the bridge was rebuilt by Elias McMellen at a cost of $1,620. It is 84 feet long.
Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design. The bridge, which spans the Conestoga River, is 180 feet long, making it the longest single span covered bridge in the county. The original bridge was built in 1843 by John Russell at a cost of $1,988. It is a double Burr Arch truss system. It has been swept away in flooding numerous times, most recently in 1972 after Hurricane Agnes. Waters lifted the original structure off its abutments and carried it downstream. In 1973, following destruction from the hurricane, it was rebuilt at a cost of $321,302. While Schenck’s covered bridge is one of 3 bridges with horizontal siding boards, the Hunsecker’s Mill bridge may be the only one in Lancaster County with horizontal floor boards which give a unique vibration upon crossing. A detailed scale model (~7′ long), complete with stone abutments, was donated to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and may be available for viewing.
Erb’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans Hammer Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The bridge was originally built in 1849 for a cost of $700. It was built on the Erb family’s tract of land in the farming region along Hammer Creek. In 1887 the bridge was rebuilt by John G. Bowman for $1744. It is 70 feet long.
The Bucher’s Mill Covered Bridge (or Butcher’s Mill Covered Bridge) is a covered bridge that spans Cocalico Creek. After the Landis Mill Covered Bridge, it is the second shortest covered bridge in the county. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks.
It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Bucher’s Mill Covered Bridge was built in 1891 by Elias McMellen, using single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss construction, at a cost of $1167. A year later, in 1892, the bridge was damaged heavily in a flood and was rebuilt by McMellen for $1025. At only 64 feet long, it is one of the shortest covered bridges in Lancaster County.
A Very Grassy Land
Below are a few photographs of a favorite corner of northwestern Chester County. I go here in hopes of finding some grassland species of birds that sometimes frequent farmers fields. So far I have just found horned larks, but there have been snow buntings, eastern meadowlarks and others spotted in the area, so you never know ….
Some Horses and a Vulture Convention
A trip tp eastern Lancaster County provided a look at the following scenes:
A group of vultures found something dead and furry by the side of the road. There was one black vulture and several turkey vultures.
There were also plenty of horses enjoying their Sunday off. I think almost everyone likes horses.
Lancaster County Whimsy
I think this photo an extra large figure of an Amish farmer speaks for itself. It can be found at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Ronks. This place is one of my favorite smorgasbord restaurants and one of the few open on Sunday.
A Northern Visitor
The presence of a snowy owl in the area causes great excitement. Even the local news take notice. A bird in eastern Lancaster County recently created the expected onslaught of birders. I set out one Saturday to have a look as well. Note to self: don’t go looking for an owl without your “good” camera.
The bird was close to the road but not in front of the most photogenic backdrop. The online consensus is that it is a “she,” but I’m not sure how you tell juveniles from females.
A Lancaster County Traffic Jam
A drive through Lancaster County on a Sunday will usually result in quite a few Amish buggy sighting. A recent Sunday in September provided an unusually large display of this traffic.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties is great spot for bird watching or just enjoying a great day out. On my recent trip, I saw nearly 30 species of birds. I also passed dozens of horse drawn buggies on the way there and back. In one parking lot, I came across the following interesting sight:
A Better Day for Photography than Birds
A trip to the Octoraro Lake area for some birding did not produce what I had hoped for on the bird front. I saw some ducks and great blue herons and managed to take some of the worst bird photos I have ever attempted. I did better with photos of the surrounding countryside.
Finally, a shot from northwestern Chester Country, because I like it and don’t have another post to put it in.
Horned Larks and Goodbye to Winter
Disclaimer: There are no pictures of horned larks in this post
The grapevine (okay, Ebird) continued to carry news of horned larks, Lapland longspurs, and snow buntings in farmers’ fields in northwestern Chester County near Honeybrook. As mentioned in my previous post, I had visited this area over the Winter in connection with a trip to try to find a snowy owl that had briefly been seen nearby. On the first try, I had no luck. This time around I spotted horned larks in small flocks, which is a new species for my life list. This is a very picturesque area with lovely farms that merited more photos.
This young farmer was fertilizing his fields for Spring.
Here’s a better look.
Cattle feeding and soaking up the sun.
Two Amish schoolhouses are close to each other in this area.
Some looks at the farms and fields.
The plastic tubes are there to protect the young trees as they grow along this riparian boundary. The tubes will biodegrade over time.
Pennsylvania “standing stones.”