Another Hike In The Tioga State Forest Near Arnot In Tioga County

Another Hike In The Tioga State Forest Near Arnot In Tioga County

Tioga State Forest (19 of 48)
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I slept well after my busy Saturday attending two college graduations, driving 100 miles and hiking 7 miles. I awoke early  at my hotel in Mansfield in Tioga County. It was overcast and cool but I still planned to  hike in the Tioga State Forest again. I had a quick cup of coffee, checked out of my hotel and was on the road by 6:15 a.m. I drove to the small  village of Arnot and again parked just outside of the town along the Arnot Road  near the entrance to the Tioga State Forest.

I  walked along  Arnot road back toward the village, passing the small ponds with the  beaver lodges along the way. I soon heard a sort of moaning sound which had me curious.

As I continued my walk I realized it was a pair of American  beavers getting romantic.

I watched as they embraced and rolled in the water until they realized I was watching. One of them, I am thinking the male splashed it’s tale as the couple separated. I am sure they continued their activity I  interrupted after I left.

I walked along the highway and heard, then saw a colorful yellow warbler in the same tree where I saw the Baltimore oriole the previous afternoon. It’s bright yellow color stood out on the dreary, cloudy and cool morning.

I also saw a few American robins,

and swamp sparrows in the wetlands near the ponds.

I came to Landrus Road, it was the name of the  well maintained dirt and gravel access road into the Tioga State Forest I hiked on the day before. The lush green new leaves also stood out on the cloudy morning.

As I entered the forest I heard and saw this red-eyed vireo,

singing in a tree along the road. These birds are long distance migrants and travel from  their Winter homes in South America to breed here. They are one of our most common warblers.

I also saw this eastern cottontail rabbit scamper across the road.

There were a few trails that led into the forest but I decided to continue my hike on the access road,

and to see if there was any wildlife on the ponds I saw on Saturday. I came to the first pond and there was no wildlife activity. I hoped to maybe see a bald eagle or osprey, or at least a great blue heron or a kingfisher. Although I saw on wildlife I still enjoyed the peace and quiet feeling  of the forest  and pond in the morning.

I continued to the second pond,

and the bird blind I saw on Saturday.

.  Here I did see a few water fowl including this female hooded merganser.

I left the blind and stood along the shore of the pond near the campsite,

and I saw a couple of spotted sandpipers hopping on a beaver lodge. These birds migrate from Mexico and South America to breed  here in North America and the forests of Pennsylvania.

and a couple of  greater yellowlegs,

that were flying  over the pond and landing on the stumps in the water. These birds were just passing through our area on their way to their breeding ground in the boreal forests of  northern Canada.

I also  heard the distinctive  song of an eastern phoebe and  saw this bird  singing in a tree near the campsite.

I left the pond and continued my hike on the access road.

There were a lot of birds singing in the trees, besides the red-eyed vireos, yellow warblers and robins I had seen earlier  I also saw a black and white warbler,

a hairy woodpecker,

and many ovenbirds. The ovenbirds were the most common bird I saw and heard on my seven mile hike.

A light and raw began to fall as I continued my hike through the lush forest.  I soon learned there were a few  primitive camp sites along the road, this one occupied by a some folks in a camping trailer.

There were also a few more side trails which I wish I had more time to explore. I followed the trail out about two  miles when I decided to follow a side trail that took me on a gradual climb up a ridge. The  were some wetlands along the trail.

Along the trail there were more wildflowers in bloom including many different species of violets, this, I believe is a marsh violet,

and this a common white bog violet. As I caution in all my posts, I am no expert at birds, or any flora or fauna I rely on field guides and iPhone apps for my identifications so please forgive, and correct me if I misidentify a plant or animal species.

Heartleaf foamflowers and

plantain leafed pussytoes also grew in the moist soils along the trails. All of these are native flowers.

The trail  continued through a mainly second growth hardwood forest  with mostly black cherry trees. In this forest I saw  a few more birds, including a beautiful scarlet tanager , which stood out in the lush green canopy of trees,

and a  black throated green warbler.

The light rain continued on my hike and  I saw dozens of eastern newts , also called red-spotted or orange newts crawling on the ground of the trail and surrounding woods. The newts have three stages in their life cycle and these were in their terrestrial sub-adult phase. 

The trail continued up the ridge,

and here there were many cinnamon ferns growing on one side of the trail,

and golden ragwort flowers

on the other side.

The trail then crossed a fast running stream, I believe it was called  Red Run,

and then took me to a small pond. Here the trail continued but it  narrowed and become overgrown. I was out about 3 1/2 miles so I decided to  head back.

Near the pond I saw an American redstart, 

some song sparrows,

and eastern towhees, this is a female.

The skies began to gradual clear on my hike back. I saw many of the same birds as my hike out, and also a few common yellowthroats. Here is a link to a gallery  with more photos  of the birds I saw on my seven mile hike. Tioga State Forest Arnot birds May 12 2024.

As I was nearing the end of my hike I saw a Park Ranger driving on the  access road .He stopped  to say hello and we engaged in a pleasant conversation on my wildlife sightings and the  Tioga State Forest.

Of course, the skies began to clear as I left the forest,

and walked back to my Jeep.  I looked for the beavers on the pond but they were probably resting from their morning activities.  It was around 11 a.m. when I finished my seven mile hike. I still had a two hour drive home ahead of me.

I  wish I could have spent some more time  in the forest, one of so many we are  blessed to have in  Penn’s woods in our Commonwealth. However, we are destroying so much of the forest that remain unprotected so  we must encourage  the politicians to create  more  state forest and game lands to preserve the beauty of nature for the future generations to enjoy.  And this old timer who hopes to have a few more years left to explore the State Parks  and Forest of Pennsylvania. Here is a link to a gallery  with more photos  from  my seven mile hike. Tioga State Forest Arnot birds May 12 2024.

“Nor do we pay greater worship to images shining with gold and ivory than to the forests and to the very silences that they contain.” Pliny the Elder

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  Henry David Thoreau

 

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