Birds, Blossoms And Blue Sky At The Canal In Walnutport in Northampton County
I returned to the peaceful and scenic Walnutport Canal Spur Trail for a hike on Saturday. And, for the record, the quaint town of Walnutport is located in Northampton County, not Lehigh County, as I stated in my previous blog post. A reader corrected me, and please, I am an amateur at this so please feel free to correct any mistakes I make in identifying places, plants or critters.
It was another cold April morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was a freezing 32 degrees at my home in Luzerne County . I decided to head south. I took the 40 minute drive to Walnutport to hike on the towpath remaining form the old Lehigh Canal. I was hoping to see some of the birds migrating through our area now and to try and photograph the wood ducks I had seen on the canal on previous hikes.
The temperature was warmer, but was still a cool40 degrees, when I arrived, but the rays from the strong late April sun felt good as it shone in the deep blue skies. This squirrel sitting in a tree above the trail was enjoying a black walnut in the morning sunshine.
I saw a few fishermen and Canada geese as I headed south on the scenic trail and past the historic Kelchner Lockhouse. Built in 1828 it is one of the two remaining lockhouses along the towpath of the Lehigh Canal. So much history on this trail. I have included more links in previous blogs which can be searched in the archives.
Here I saw my first migratory bird, a yellow-rumped warbler. It was one of many of these warblers I would see on my five mile hike.
I was delighted to hear the distinctive cries of the gray catbirds that have returned to our area. These active and noisy birds are very common in our woodlands in the Spring and Summer.
There were also a few of the usual resident birds, American robins and,
northern cardinals. This is a pretty female.
I retuned to the tow path near the huge stone remains of a bridge that crossed the canal. I continued on the trail lined with ancient oak and tulip trees that were starting to produce their first leaves. It is a beautiful time of year.
In a large tulip tree near the stone bridge remains I saw this bird perched on a branch. My Merlin app identified it’s song as a warbling vireo, a bird I haven’t seen before.
I came to a park where the ruins of another lockhouse are displayed . I love the large sycamore trees that probably shaded the stone house. The children of the occupants could have played under their branches.
Here I usually find some bird activity. And I did on Saturday. I saw this blue-gray gnatcatcher singing on branch near one of the sycamore trees.
I left this small park and continued on the trail. The waters of the canal flow into a wetland here and the narrow trail follows the old towpath between the wetlands and Lehigh River below. I have seen a lot of mallard and wood ducks on the waters in the wetlands here on my last two visits.
There were no ducks at the beginning of the wetlands but I saw a few eastern phoebes,
and this beautiful pileated woodpecker. I heard a loud rapping on below the trail and this magnificent bird flew up and onto a tree. It quickly flew off as I approached
There was also this lone brown-headed cowbird foraging in the grass along the stream flowing through the wetlands.
My hike on the trail ended where the Bertsch Creek flowed into the Lehigh River. I began my return hike as the sun continued to warm the cool morning air. There were now a lot more turtles in the wetlands and along the shores of the trail.
and this pretty bird I saw hopping along in the mud near the Lehigh River. I think I had only seen one before a veery, a small member of the thrush family. I learned that this bird migrates from central Brazil and I find this amazing,
I was disappointed I didn’t see any duck on the waters of the wetlands. In fact the only wild ducks I saw on my five mile hike were a couple of mallard ducks swimming in the Lehigh River. They were in Northampton County. The river separates Northampton County and Lehigh County.
As I walked back along the trail I saw a lot more folks walking or fishing in the waters of the canal. I once again returned to the wooded trail that led to the Lehigh River in the hopes of seeing some more migrating songbirds. There were new song birds just the same cardinals, catbirds and yellow-rumped warblers. I did find that the trout lilies I saw earlier had bloomed. I love these delicate flowers,
I returned to the towpath trail, and again reflected on the ancient trees and old houses across the canal. I often wonder about the many folks who lived their lived in these houses and watched the barges float down the canal.
To me these birds always have a mean look on their faces. This one certainly did. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike on the Walnutport Canal in Northampton County. Walnutport Canal birds April 30 2022.
taking a walk to the Lehigh River. It’s waters reflected the deep blue skies. I didn’t see any wood ducks but I enjoyed my five mile hike on old towpath along the canal and the many birds, wildflowers and pretty scenery I saw . I hope to return soon Here is a link to another link to another gallery with some photos from my hike in on the Walnutport Canal Sur Trail Northampton County . Walnutport Canal April 230 2022.
“You start in April and cross to the time of May
One has you as it leaves, one as it comes
Since the edges of these months are yours and defer
To you, either of them suits your praises.
The Circus continues and the theatre’s lauded palm,
Let this song, too, join the Circus spectacle.”
– Ovid, Fasti (V.185-190, CE)