A Hike On The Lehigh Canal At Weissport: No Wood Ducks But A Lot Of Fishermen, A Few Birds And Beautiful Scenery
After my visit to the Susquehanna Wetlands on Friday, where I saw so many critters, including some elusive wood ducks, I decided to hike along the Lehigh Canal in Weissport in Carbon County on Saturday. I made this decision because I had seen wood ducks here before. In fact some of my most beautiful photos of these skittish ducks were taken on this canal.
It was overcast and cold when I arrived in this historic town located on the Lehigh River. Temperatures were in the low 30’s. There is so much history here. The exploration of the Lehigh River and the befriending of some of the tribes of Native Americans by the Moravians. The unfortunate and brutal Gnadenhutten Massacre by other tribes of hostile Native Americans. The building of Fort Allen by Benjamin Franklin in response to the massacre. And the 100 years of history of the Lehigh Canal that transported anthracite coal to the cities on the East Coast.
I have some earlier blogs on this history that can be researched and read in the archives section of my blog. When I left my Jeep I realized my hopes to possibly see, and photograph, wood ducks were diminished. I learned it was the first day of trout fishing season in Pennsylvania. Fishermen along the trails of the canal would certainly have scared any wood ducks that may have been planning to nest here.
The swift flowing waters of Lehigh River are on the other side of the trail. There is an overlook along the trail where one can see the river and the bridge that separates Weissport from the also historic town of Lehighton.
Although Weissport is about 30 miles south of the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County there wasn’t many more signs of Spring here. The Dame’s Rocket and garlic mustard, shown here, were the only plants showing some green growth along the trail.
The singing of the red-winged blackbirds was another sign of Spring.
I also saw a few mourning doves in the trees above the trail.
I followed the trail for about a mile when I came to an area of the canal that must have been stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. How do I know this. By looking at the large number of fishermen and fisherwoman along the canal. There were dozens lining the canal for about another 1/2 mile. Needless to say I didn’t see much wildlife on this section of the canal.
There wasn’t much wildlife activity on my walk. I usual see some duck and common mergansers on the river. I only saw a few Canada geese on the river on this hike.
And there were no wood ducks on the canal. I only saw a few male mallard ducks were swimming on the cool waters of the canal.
I did see some song sparrows singing in the trees, and,
I saw my first migratory song bird of the Spring, a pine warbler perched on a tree branch above the trail. There will be more warblers, vireos and flycatchers seen in our woodlands as the weather warms and the insects on which they feed begin to appear.
I continued my hike on the trail. Out here there are still some portions of the rail that have the old cobblestones in place. These always take me back in time as I imagine the mules pulling the coal laden barges on the canal many decades ago.
The April sun was warming the cool morning air and I saw a lot more folks, walking running and biking on the trail on my return hike. I also saw some more wildlife including this eastern gray squirrel and,
a few more birds including this male northern cardinal,
an eastern phoebe and this
pretty, petite golden crowned kinglet, which took a while to get some photographs.
I continued my hike back on the canal trail . It was a quiet walk, until I came back to the now even bigger crowd of fishermen and fisherwoman and children along the trail. These folks may have prevented me from photographing some wood ducks, but it was good to see people outside t enjoying nature, especially the children.
and Canada geese that live here, even in the middle of Winter. The town folk in Weissport keep a section of the canal free of ice and feed them even on the coldest of Winters. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Canal Weissport April 2 2022.
I finished up my hike once again viewing the now blue waters of the historic Lehigh River. I didn’t see as much wildlife as I did in the Susquehanna Wetlands the day before but it was a pleasant hike and it is always good to be outdoors in beautiful Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Lehigh Canal Weissport April 2 2022.
“We do not ask what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens… The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.”
– Johannes Kepler