Frost, Fallen Leaves And A Green Heron, Yep, A Green Heron At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails

Frost, Fallen Leaves And A Green Heron, Yep, A Green Heron At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails

Rails to trsils (12 of 36)
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We had a heavy frost here in Northeastern Pennsylvania  last Sunday morning.  It was a freezing 28 degrees with some high clouds  at my home in Hazle Township.  I decided to stay close to home and  hike on the nearby Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails.   Most of the beautiful  Fall colors on the trees I had seen on my hike here two weeks ago were gone.  Almost all of  the trees along the the trail were  leafless, their bare branches visible for the first time since early last Spring. 

Their  leaves were now scattered on the trail and their decaying woodsy aroma filled the air as I  walked over this crunchy  leafy carpet. 

It was a  somber walk. There was silence at the beginning of my hike. I didn’t hear one bird song as I walked along the trail. 

A thick frost covered the  woodlands and coated the leaves with a coat of ice crystals. The sweet fern leaves, 

eastern hay-scented ferns

bracken ferns and 

green foxtails grasses were all covered in frost. 

The woodlands along the trail were now mostly brown but some leaves added  color to the now bleak scenery including some yellow blackberry leaves, 

some frost asters, aptly, covered in frost, 

and some tree clubmoss or princess pine provided some green color amid the brown leaf litter on the forest floor. 

It was still quiet  as I continued my walk on the trail and approached the coal mining reclamation areas.   I still didn’t see or hear a bird or any other critter. 

It was here I saw a large bird fly onto a branch in the woods along the trail I was surprised to observe a green heron perched on a branch .  I have only seen these birds near lakes, ponds or wetlands. And I never have seen one this late in the year. Most migrate to Florida, the  Caribbean or even South America for the Winter. It must have strayed form it’s usual migration path. 

The trail continued through the  reclaimed coal mining  lands. I was again surprises not to see any birds in the young pine, birch, aspen and locusts trees growing along the trail. 

I crossed the bridge over the active railroad track, 

and here saw, and heard a red-bellied woodpecker. 

These beautiful birds remain in our area in the Winter.

The high clouds and cool temperatures made for a somber and reflective walk. 

When I neared the pine and heath barrens the clouds began to dissipate and  the sun warmed up the cool morning air. 

I decided to end my hike and began my 2 1/2 mile walk. The skies continued to clear, and the air got warmer. 

I think the warmer temperatures  stirred up some birds activity. I saw a small flock of white-throated sparrows

, a few tufted titmice 

a flock of dark eyed juncos, 

and a few golden crowned kinglets. 

There were a few blue jays in the treetops, 

and a few American crows flew over head.  Here is a link to a  gallery with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails October 30 2022. 

I didn’t see many more birds on my walk back and no other critters. I always hope to see a bear out here. 

I notice  these yellow flowers on a witch hazel tree. They are our only native tree that blooms in the Fall., 

There were also some milkweed pods and seeds glistening in the morning  sun. 

I finished my five mile hike. I knew the seasons were changing. In the Spring and Summer I always encountered bikers, hikers, walkers,  runners and dogwalkers. On Sunday I didn’t see one person on my five mile hike.  Although it was cold I was still glad I walked the trail and enjoyed the  beauty of Fall. I will continue my hikes throughout the  Fall and Winter, , even in the snow and cold ,  there is beauty in all seasons. But I am already looking forward to Spring, and the return of the leaves and song birds.  Here is a link to some more photos from my five mile hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails October 30 2022. 

Behold the groves that shine with silver frost, their beauty withered, and their verdure lost! Alexander Pope


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