I had seen a lot of different species of birds on my last couple of hikes to Tank Hollow in the State Game Lands 141 in Carbon County. So , last Saturday I decided to return to the Game Lands for another five mile hike. . It was partly sunny when I parked at the gate located on Behren’s road. The gate was closed which meant I had to walk out to Tank Hollow.
I didn’t mind, it is a nice hike, but I was hoping the gates will open so I could drive out and explore some more of the Game Lands. However I don’t think they will be open until hunting season in the Fall. I began my hike on dirt access road to the Game Lands. It is wide, well maintained and easy walking.
I found hiking on this road is a great place to photograph the many birds nesting in the woodlands along the trail. And it didn’t take long until I saw this common yellowthroat,
and eastern towhee on my hike, . However, unlike my last couple of hikes ,for some reason , there weren’t as much bird activity.
The only other bird I saw until I got near Tank Hollow was a red tailed hawk. I saw it fly over the road and land on a tree branch a 100 yards away. I slowly approached,
and the hawk did not fly away ,
until I got pretty close to him. When he thought I was too close, the turned looked at me and flew off .
I returned to the trail and noticed that almost all of the mountain laurel was gone. It’s spectacular display doesn’t last very long. However, other Summer flowers were still blooming along the trail, including clusters of oxeye daisies,
whorled yellow loosestrife,
and sheep laurel.
The milkweed flowers attracted some bees, wasps and beautiful spicebush swallowtail butterflies.
I also saw a few widow skimmer dragonflies ,
and one other critter, this eastern chipmunk hiding in the brush as I walked past.
I continued my hike under the partly cloudy skies. As I noted above there were not as many birds active on this part of the trail. At another gate, and parking area, the trail descends a steep ridge.
The woodlands become more dense here and there were still a few faded mountain laurels along the trail.
I left the access road and followed the trail to Tank Hollow.
Here, in these more dense woods I found a few species of amanita mushrooms growing, I believe this is a yellow patches mushroom,
and this a grisette mushroom.
I saw none of the many species of birds I saw here on my last hike. The only critter I saw on the trail to the Tank Hollow Overlook was this eastern American toad.
As I approached the overlook I did find some more lingering mountain laurel flower, enough to brighten up the now cloudy morning.
It was cloudy when I got to the overlook. I took in the view, which was still spectacular, despite the clouds,
I was treated to hear a passing train on the railroad tracks along the Lehigh River. I love trains.
I left the overlook and hiked back to the main access road. I followed it for about a half mile.
Here I saw a few of the first rhododendron flowers of the Summer. These evergreen plants are related to the mountain laurel and blooms a few weeks after the mountain laurel bloom ends.
AS I started my hike back I saw this whitetail deer peering at me from the woods.
I walked back up the ridge, and near the controlled fire areas, I started to hear and see some more birds again. I saw a few field sparrows,
a scarlet tanager, always a beautiful sight in our forests,
a tufted titmouse,
a red eyed vireo,
an ovenbird, I was hearing these cheerful song birds on my entire five mile hike ,and
a pair of mourning doves.
and a pair of eastern towhees. This is the male,
and this a female with a beak full of bugs.
I also saw a rarer sight, a female rose breasted grosbeak so drab compared to the males. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos o the birds I saw on my hike. Tank Hollow birds July 1 2023.
I walked backup the ridge and finished my five mile hike at the parking lot. It was another great hike in the Game Lands and I hope to keep exploring the many acres on the mountain ridges above the Lehigh River. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Tank Hollow July 1 2023.
“Blessed be the Lord for the beauty of summer and spring, for the air, the water, the verdure, and the song of birds.”
– Carl von Linnaeus