Blue Skies And Sunshine On The Lehigh River At The Lehigh Gap

Blue Skies And Sunshine On The Lehigh River At The Lehigh Gap

female common merganser on river
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The last few weekends were either  snowy or cloudy here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. And so were most of the week days. We had cold temperatures too. It was still cold  on Saturday, but we had clear skies,  and that meant, finally, sunshine!  I decided to get away from the snow we still have up here on the mountain  and hike along the Lehigh River near the Lehigh Gap. trees along blue waters of Lehigh River

I hiked this section of the D & L trail  a few weeks ago and started at the nature center near Slatington, This time I parked along the D & L trail near  Bowmanstown.D & L tree lined trail

It was cold when I arrived.  The temperature was a below average 30 degrees but the skies were clear and that March sunshine sure felt good. 3 Ponds trail

Soon after  leaving the parking lot I followed the 3  Ponds trail hoping to see some ducks or other birds on the ponds and wetlands.  The ponds still had some ice and I didn’t see anything. I haven’t been here in the Spring but I would think this area will be alive with the sound of the spring peepers in a few days. ponds near Blue Mountian

I made it back to the D & L trail and walked south along the Lehigh River. I soon saw a few common mergansers swimming on the deep blue waters of the river. common mergansers on Lehigh River

As is usually the case, as  I tried to get closer, they flew away.female common merganser in flight

It was a beautiful day for a hike. The trail followed the Lehigh River as it flowed along the Blue Mountain. trees on snow covered Blue Mountain

The March sun quickly warmed it up, making for a pleasant walk. I was disappointed I didn’t see more ducks on the Lehigh River. I did see a number of robins including a small flock feeding on the berries of a staghorn sumac tree. robin feeding on staghorn sumac berries

I never tried it, but I understand the berries make a refreshing lemonade type beverage. The robins sure enjoyed the berries. Here is a link to some more photographs of the robins feasting on the sumac berries. Lehigh Gap robins March 17 2018robin feeding on staghorn sumac

I also saw a few golden crowned kinglets,golden crowned kinglet on branch


some dark eyed juncos 

and a pair of house finches. 

My hike again took me past the house on the hill.  I provided some more information on this interesting house in a January blog post. It built by a Civil War general and is supposed to be haunted. 

As I neared the nature center at the Lehigh Gap I encountered a number of walkers, bikers and runners enjoying the March sunshine. Lehigh Gap Nature Center

I photographed a few more sparrows and finches using  the feeders at the nature center and then  began my 2 1/2 mile walk back to my car. 

The sunshine now was turning the trail to mud in some areas. I sure didn’t mind. Mud is another welcome sign of Spring. bridge and trees on D & L trail

I saw this bird  flying high overhead. I think it is a red tailed hawk but wasn’t sure. I didn’t think it was a turkey vulture.

I am certain this one is a turkey vulture. There were a number of them soaring overhead in the updrafts of warm air created by the sunshine.  turkey vulture in flight

I again saw a number of common mergansers on the river but no other ducks and few geese. I am thinking the migratory birds have already moved on to their breeding areas. Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap birds March 17 2018. 

As I walked back to my car some high clouds moved in but it was still a great day to be outdoors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. mountains and trees

The days of cold and snow are ending. Each day will bring exciting new sightings of birds, animals and flowers and buds as the earth continues to awaken from it long Winter sleep. I will be outdoors, with my eyes peeled, watching it happen. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Gap hike March 17 2018. cliffs above D & L trail

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” –Roman Payne