Fall Foliage And Migrating Birds At The Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails.

Fall Foliage And Migrating Birds At The Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails.

Rails to Trails birds (8 of 44)
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Last Spring I observed many species of  migrating birds on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails near my home in Luzerne County. On Sunday morning I decided to hike on the  trail starting at the parking lot on the eastern trailhead  near the patch town of Hazle Brook. I was  hoping to see at least some bird activity and,  maybe,  even  one of the bears that have been sighted here. 

The Fall foliage was near its peak in our area. It was mostly sunny and seasonably cool when I began my hike. The  woods were ablaze in their Fall colors in the morning sunlight. 

Shortly after I began my hike I heard, then saw a large flock of white-throated sparrows fluttering near and on the ground along the trail. 

These  sparrows  breed  just north of  our area and the  migrate to our area or further south for the Winter.

Soon after seeing the sparrows I  saw another large flock of migrating birds in a tree top. I knew they were warblers but had a hard time identifying what kind both on my hike and even at home . A bird identification group advised me they were blackpoll warblers. This was a lifer for me and I learned that these  warblers travel  farther  on their migration  then any other birds that migrate through our area. .  They fly over 1800 miles to the northern forest of South America for the Winter. Amazing to see them fluttering in the tree tops along the trail  knowing they will be  in these far away tropical forest in a few weeks, 

I continued my hike observing the many shades of colors on the leaves.  Many of the oaks were a bright red. 

As were  the blackberry leaves,

high bush blueberry leaves and

red maple leaves. 

Some of the oaks were more orange

and many of the ferns, including bracken ferns and 

the eastern hay-scented ferns were shades of yellow and brown. There were many shades of color on different species of trees and even on trees of the same species.

Mother Nature was putting on a great show this year. 

In addition to the beautiful fall colors I also saw a few more birds, this  colorful red-bellied woodpecker

and this drab, but still pretty winter wren,

 a flock of black-capped chickadees,

and  a large flock of dark-eyed juncos.  The juncos , like the white throated sparrows, breed just to the north of our area and migrate here in the fall. All of these  birds will likely spend the Winter  with us. 

Some high clouds moved in as I left the woodlands at the beginning of the trail and entered the reclaimed strip mine area. 

The trees along the trail were now new growth white birch, aspen, pine and locust, planted after the once strip mined area was reclaimed. 

Here, like in the Spring, I  observed a few large flocks of migrating yellow-rumped warblers.

There were dozens of them feeding on insects or seeds in the trees along the trail near the bridge that crosses the active railroad track. 

There was also a large flock of  the tiny golden crowned kinglets feeding with the yellow rumped warblers.

I continued my hike, enjoying the colors and migrating birds. 

I saw one more flock of birds, red-breasted nuthatches, that were feeding in a pine trees above the trail. I don’t see  many of these in nuthatches in  our area in the Spring and Summer. I wouldn’t see any more of these birds on my five mile hike, but I did see a lot of the other birds I saw earlier on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the migrating and non-migrating birds I saw on my hike. Rails to Trails  birds October 17 2022

I hiked out to the pine barrens and decided to head back. 

The sun  was now shining, creating a world of golden colors. 

There were  a few other people on the trail on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning walking, running and riding their bikes. Two women were walking their dogs. I was a great day to be outdoors. 

I saw some of the same birds on my way back, and, as the October sun warmed the chilly morning air some  bee,

  and flies s became active. 

At the end of the trail I again walked under the golden canopy of leaves above.  I didn’t see the bears but  I enjoyed the birds and Fall colors. The Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and get some exercise at the same time. I enjoy every hike all of my hikes in this great asset to our community, as I am sure all of the local Rails to Trails in our Commonwealth are. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike Rails to Trails October 17 2022.  

“The leaves are changing; I feel poetry in the air.”
― Laura Jaworsk

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