Always A Great View At The Tank Hollow Overlook In Carbon County
For the past few years I have been hiking out to the Tank Hollow Overlook in State Game Lands 141 in Carbon County in June. This is when the mountain laurel bloom and they put on a spectacular display of color. This year I decided hike there a few weeks earlier. I wanted to look for the song birds that returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania or , maybe even see a bear or snake. And, of course, to enjoy the spectacular view at the overlook.
It was cloudy, cool and windy when I arrived at the Behrens Road parking lot in Forest Township early Sunday morning. The gate to the game lands was open so I could have driven to the trailhead of the Tank Hollow Overlook Trail, Instead , I decided to walk in and observe and enjoy the lush green new leaves on the trees along the access road.
AS I began my walk I noticed that some of the woodlands had been burned with controlled fires. The Game Commission does this to encourage new wildlife habitat. And it seemed to work, for the song bird anyway.
I saw and heard dozens of common yellowthroat warblers in the trees and shrubs along the road,
There were also a few black and white warblers,
and eastern towhees fluttering in trees and shrubs, . This is a male eastern towhee.
Some of them like this black and white warbler,
and this male eastern town had they feather messed up in the strong wind.
and a few gray catbirds as I walked through the burned woodlands on the one side of the road. The other side of the access road had some old oak, maple and pine trees but there were some meadows to. It was a great habitat for the migratory song birds to nest.
After about 3/4 of a mile the road descends a ridge with a more mature woodland.
There were more ferns growing here in the shaded northern slopes of the ridge, including bracken ferns and
Primrose -leaf violets were also scattered along the road.
As I approached the Tank Hollow Overlook trailhead a few folks also arrived by motor vehicle. to hike the trail. I started before them and walked along heavily used trail.
The trail to the overlook first passes through a mixed oak/pine/hemlock woodland. There are many mountain laurels here which will be blooming soon.
As it nears the overlook the trail continues through a a thick growth of rhododendrons. I have not been on the trail when they bloom later in June but I am sure it would be as beautiful as the blooming mountain laurel.
The trail ends at a large outcrop of rocks and boulders that provide the views of the Broad Mountain and the winding Lehigh River below.
I was the only one at the overlook. This is unusual since on most of my past visits I have usually encountered other folks enjoying the view.
The clouds were clearing providing some breathtaking views. It was still windy and cold standing on the rock outcrops.
I enjoyed the sound of the wind and the roaring Lehigh River fall below. I took in the view for about 15 minutes.
I then heard voices and decided to leave the overlook,
on the way I encountered a large group of people, ranging from toddlers being carried by their parents to elderly folks possibly in their 70’s and 80′.s hiking out to enjoy the view. After the walked passed, and it got quite again, I saw this black throated blue warbler,
this red-eyed vireo. The ovenbirds and red-eyed vireos are some of the most common birds seen and heard in our woodlands.
I hiked back to the access road and followed it down the ridge of the mountain,
seeing a few brown headed cowbirds on the way.
It was a nice hike. The clouds continued to dissipate and the brilliant May sun filtered through the new lush leaves of the trees towering over the road.
delicate wood anemone flower grew in the woods along the road.
I walked about another mile when I came to another parking area and gate. These is as far as you can travel on the access road by motor vehicle.
I continued on until I came to a fork on the now rock covered road. I had now walked around three miles and decided to hike back. I will have to decide which road to take when I return, hopefully soon.
I began my hike back up the ridge and saw this small fly catcher, an eastern wood peewee. I often hear these birds on my hike but this was one of the few times I was able to photograph one.
I was also able to see, and photograph this pair of scarlet tanagers, the male is vivid scarlet as it’s name suggest,
but the female is a duller yellow and brown but the are both beautiful birds.
On my return hike I saw a few deer, chipmunks and squirrels but wasn’t able to get any good photos of these critters to share, but I enjoyed seeing them in their woodland home.
I also saw many of the birds I have already identified but now new ones, however I did get a photo of a female eastern towhee, Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Tank Hollow State Game Lands birds May 21 2023.
It was a pleasant hike back up the mountain ridge.
I enjoyed the warm May sun that quickly warmed up the cool morning air. I hoped to see some snakes or maybe a bear but they weren’t around. I finished my five mile hike around noon and once again enjoyed the peace and quiet of the woodlands, the birds, flower, trees and the spectacular view from the Tank Hollow Overlook. I hope to return and explore these game lands soon.
Here is a link to a photo gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Tank Hollow State Game Lands May 21 2023
“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through fabric of illusion. Many refuse to admit it: I feel a mystery exists. There are certain times, when, as on the whisper of the wind, there comes a clear and quiet realization that there is indeed a presence in the world, a nonhuman entity that is not necessarily inhuman.” Ansel Adams
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