Back In Berks County: Another Lake Ontelaunee Hike

Back In Berks County: Another Lake Ontelaunee Hike

Lake Ontelaunee (17 of 54)
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On Saturday I returned to Berks County and made my third visit to  Lake Ontelaunee.  This 1,000 acre lake was formed by the damming of Maiden Creek in 1926 to provide a water supply for the City of Reading. (these are links to blog posts of  my two prior visits.  After a 41 mile one hour drive  I arrived at the Kindt Corner parking area on the west side of the lake.  It was partly sunny with a temperature in the low 40’s at the trailhead. 

 I hoped to see some wildlife and maybe find some morel mushrooms and ramps. Once again I followed the main trail that was  surrounded by large Norwegian pin, black walnut and oak tress. I left the main trail and  took a fire road toward the lake. 

The  trail was covered with  a carpet pretty yellow flowers.

Although they looked attractive, especially after the colorless winter forest floor, this plant, lesser celandine or fig buttercup , is an invasive species that endangers native wild flowers.  

It had completely taken over some areas around the lake, creating a pretty carpet of yellow flowers, but crowding out the native flowers that would usually grow here. 

Some of these native flowers  could still be found in certain areas on my hike including a number of species of violets, I think this is a common American dog  violet,

which created a much welcome  carpet of blue colors along the trails. 

And, I believe these delicate flowers were also native wild pansies.

There were also scattered native  Virginia spring beauty flowers in bloom adding to the colors of Spring 

There were many bird singing in the tree tops but they were hard to see and photograph high up in the branches. I was able to capture a photo of this red-bellied woodpecker who ventured a little closer to the ground. 

As I approached the lake I startled a couple of pair of ducks, I think they were mallards and they quickly flew off to the other side of the lake. 

I continued my walk on the fire trails along the shore of the lake. I was hoping to see a lot more  birds on my hike but for some reason they was not much bird activity.  And most of it was high in the tree tops. A few black-capped chickadees did come within camera range. 

Following the fire roads I walked under a variety of trees planted along the shores of the lake, including a large stand of Norwegian spruce.

And, hundreds of large black walnut trees. 

I didn’t find a morel mushroom on my five mile hike but I did find a few of these, I believe they are the remains of last Falls’ giant puff ball mushrooms.

I found a few of them and had fun dispersing some mushroom spores. This is a link to a you tube video I uploaded stomping on an old puff ball mushroom.

Walking along the lake shore I found many other signs of Spring. The canes of the blackberry brambles already have their first leaves.

As did the box elder maple trees. 

There were also large old cherry trees in bloom. They must have been planted shortly after the lake was created. 

On the ground I found some other wild flowers blooming including the invasive ground ivy, 

common dandelions and

soon to bloom, one of my favorite Spring flowers the native mandrake or May Apple. 

I walked on a  fire road and came to  a peninsula on the peninsula that juts out into the lake. Here I found a large flock of double-crested cormorants swimming in the water and perched on trees on an island in the lake. 

The quickly flew off when the saw me  even  though I was  across the waters of the lake. 

On my last visit I saw and heard a few kingfishers near this peninsula and I was hoping to see them again but they weren’t around on Saturday, only a couple of turkey vultures soared overhead. 

When I  walked to the northern edge of the peninsula and began my hike back clouds moved in. 

On my return hike I was a  little disappointed in not seeing more wildlife on my hike. However I saw  an osprey fly


I didn’t notice at the time, but when I edited the photos later I noticed it was carrying a nice sized fish it had caught. 

And, while photographing the osprey I saw this bald eagle in the distance. Well I didn’t find and ramps or morel mushrooms, and there wasn’t as much wildlife activity as I had hope, but any  day I see a bald eagle in the skies is a great day of hiking for me. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike. Lake Ontelaunee April 17 2021. 

“Spring with its wavin’ green grass and heaps of sweet-smellin’ flowers on every hill and in every dale. “
–  Roy Bean





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