A Leisurely Hike Around Leaser Lake In Lehigh County

A Leisurely Hike Around Leaser Lake In Lehigh County

Leaser Lake (34 of 48)
Previous Post
Next Post

I returned to,  what is becoming , another favorite hiking trail on Sunday, Leaser Lake in Lehigh County. The five mile trail around the scenic lake takes one through a number of different habitats and provides great opportunities to observe and photograph nature.

I drove to the north boat launch parking  lot and found there were already a lot of fishermen on the water in their small boats.  It was a cool morning with mostly clear skies. The lake reflected the blue skies.   I began my hike  following the loop trail on the west side of the lake. The trail first passes through a mixed hardwood/hemlock woodland.  

The trail was wet from the heavy rains the previous evening and the small stream along the trail were overflowing.

Sign of Spring were everywhere along the trail. There were patches of blue violets,

and the Christmas ferns,

and cinnamon ferns were unfurling their first leaves. It was a nice section of the trail and I hoped to see some bird activity here. There are usually many woodpeckers and other Winter resident birds but not on Sunday. I didn’t see a one. And I walked down to the shore of the lake were I usually see some ducks but  there were fishermen in a boat that probably scared them away. And the Louisiana waterthrush  I would see here last Spring wasn’t here either. 

The trail leaves the woodlands and continues through  some farm fields along the lake. 

Here there were plenty of birds who traveled  back to our area since my last hike, the tree swallows.   I would see dozens of them flying  over the lake and fields snatching up insects. These birds Winter in Florida and Central America. 

Many are making their nests in the many bird boxes set out are around Leaser Lake. They are beautiful birds and I’m glad to see them back. 

I continued on the trail along the lake, 

and saw a few American goldfinches. The males are now in their bright yellow Spring feathers. Many of these  common and colorful birds stay here in Winter while other are short distance migrants to the Southern United States. 

There were also a couple field sparrows , 

and many red-winged blackbirds in trees along the trail.  I saw mostly the always  visible males singing high in the trees tops, 

and a few elusive females  hidden closer to the ground. Like the goldfinches some of the field sparrows and red-winged blackbirds are short distance migrants,  while others remain in our region for the Winter. 

I walked along the shores of the lake enjoying the spectacular views of the Blue Mountain in the  distance.

The trees along the lake were all sprouting their first new leaves, even the oaks, always the last to lose their leaves in the Fall and last to get them in the Spring. 

The trail followed one of the arms of the lake that ended in a wetlands. 

Here I saw a lot more tree swallows, 

a few American robins, 

a painted  turtle and 

a green heron.  Green herons  winter in Florida,  Central America, the Caribbean and even as far as South America. Hard to believe they can travel so far. 

The willow trees looked beautiful with their new leaves shinning in the morning sun. 

The trail continues for a short distance through a grove of trees where I saw this pretty little blue gray gnatcatcher hopping on the branches of a tree. They are also long distance migrants returning from Florida Mexico and the Caribbean. 

The trail  next took me to the main entrance and picnic area near the  crest of the dam creating Leaser Lake. 

This beautiful native red bud tree was in full bloom. 

Here I saw the purple martin nests. There were dozens of these beautiful birds nesting in large nest placed near the lake. 

In the nearby woods I saw a few white throated sparrows and 

common grackles .

A red tailed hawk soared overhead. 

I walked across the crest of the dam and into some woodlands near the backyard of  some residential housing. There were a lot  of pine trees planted here. 

I gathered some garlic mustard, an invasive plant which is edible and delicious, growing along  the trail. 

I was surprised there wasn’t any birds activity . I usually see some wrens and warblers here. I walked down to the lake and past the monument to Frederick  Leaser, the  local farmer who transported the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown during the Revolutionary War.  You can search my previous blogs for more info on this famous Lehigh County farmer.

After visiting the memorial, I followed the trail for a short distance along the lake. It then proceeded through some fields above  another arm of the lake. 

There spectacular views of the lake, the Blue Mountain and the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of birds or other wildlife, except, 

this brown thrasher singing loudly  high in a treetop.  Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike.  Leaser Lake birds April 23 2023. 

The trail turned back toward the lake and continued through some more fields before descending into a wetlands near the north boat launch parking lot. Here the trail  continues through the wetlands , with some rocks and thick tree roots. 

Skunk  cabbage, 

mandrakes and May apples created patches of green along the muddy trail. 

There were also wildflowers blooming in the wetlands including wood anemone,

 fringed polygala, 

and dwarf ginseng. These white flowers reminded me of the woodlands near my  home where, as  a child , I  would see them every Spring. 

The trail left the wetlands and took me back the parking lot.  I took a last look at scenic Leaser Lake before finishing my five mile hike. I had hope to see some more water fowl and migratory birds but I was still another great hike. I love the woodlands of our Commonwealth, especially in the Spring.   Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Leaser Lake hike April 23 2023. 

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more that what we could learn from books.” — John Lubbock

This is my first post