A Hike On The Lehigh Canal At Weissport: No Wood Ducks But A Lot Of Fishermen, A Few Birds And Beautiful Scenery

A Hike On The Lehigh Canal At Weissport: No Wood Ducks But A Lot Of Fishermen, A Few Birds And Beautiful Scenery

Weissport canal (11 of 34)
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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.  

I began my hike and walked along the remains of the canal that was built almost 100 years ago. 

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 only saw a few of them  near an area of wetlands along the canal. 

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.  

I walked past the fishermen and back to the peace and quiet of the canal trail as it followed the Lehigh River through the surrounding hills. 

There was some clearing and the rays of the strong April sun shone  down on the hilltops. 

This is one of the more scenic trails I hike on  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

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.

Near the two mile marker on the trail I came upon the “Bridge to Nowhere”.

This reflective spot is in somewhat disrepair but is still a nice place to rest and reflect on this insightful message.  I always do. 

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. 

I ended my hike at the 2 1/2 mile marker.

There is an observation deck here that provides views of the Lehigh River and surrounding hills. 

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.

These  energetic birds never sit still. 

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.

As I approached the parking lot I encountered the domestic flock of mallard ducks,

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


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