Looking For Geese And Ducks Along The Lehigh River

Looking For Geese And Ducks Along The Lehigh River

Lehigh River (25 of 48)
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After seeing the return of the geese and ducks at the PPL wetlands along the Susquehanna River on Saturday I decided to head to the Lehigh River on Sunday morning  and look for  more of these migrating birds there. I usually see them on the river or in the nearby ponds and wetlands  in the Spring. 

It was sunny, windy and cold when I arrived. Temperatures were in the mid 30’s. I parked near a campground that I had never noticed before. Campsites were situated along the Lehigh River.  It looked like a nice place to camp during the warmer Summer weather. 

Leaving the campsite I walked a short distance  along the D & L Trail until I came to the Three Pond trail.

This trail transverses some wetlands and ponds that were  now flooded from the melting snow.

They are also situated at the foot of the Blue Mountain, near  the tunnel on  Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (I 476).

I was disappointed that there were no migrating ducks in the wetlands. There was only one Canada goose on one of the ponds and it wasn’t happy when I disturbed its territory. Its honking echoed throughout the wetlands.

There weren’t even many  Winter resident birds in the wetlands. There were, however, a few red-winged blackbirds who also made it known I wasn’t welcome in their nesting areas. They perched high in a tree top and  scolded me with loud checking calls. 

I was surprised there  wasn’t  more plants sprouting in the wetlands down here in southern Carbon County. The only thing I saw growing where  skunk cabbages sprouting in the saturated soil.

In fact I was surprised to still find some snow along the trail. 

I left the Three Pond Trail and walked along the D & L trail south toward the Lehigh Gap. There was more  snow and ice on the trail where the surrounding hills shaded the trail from the sun. 

Like the Susquehanna River, the Lehigh River was also swollen from the melting snow pack. It  was flowing rapidly along the trail.  In the Spring I usually see ducks and geese on the river but I think the it  was flowing to fast for them to swim and  browse for food. 

Seeing no ducks, geese or any other birds I decided to leave the Bowmanstown  trail and headed to the trail in Weissport. I have posted a number of blogs  about the  history of Lehigh Canal  near Weissport  and you can review search for them in the archives. 

When I arrived at the trailhead, about 4 miles north of Bowmanstown, I did find geese and ducks, but not the ones I was looking for. There are small flocks of Canada geese and mallard ducks that have become almost domesticated and live on the canal near the town. 

They remain here in the Winter time and I believe the town folks break the ice in cold years to allow them to stay. They are feed by the town folks and are  almost completely unafraid of  humans. It was easy to approach this  male mallard duck and

this Canada goose to get a  close up. 

After watching the local geese and ducks I started my hike on the old Lehigh Canal trail. I have often seen wood ducks here and hoped to see some on  the waters of the canal. 

The strengthening March sun warmed the cold morning air as I followed the trail between the canal and raging Lehigh River.

It was a nice day to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the trail but there weren’t a lot of birds here either. The only wild  ducks I saw on the canal where these male mallard ducks.

On the river I saw a small flock of common mergansers on the opposite side of the river. 

They stayed close to the shore and away from the swift flowing waters in the middle of the river. I only saw males as I hiked, but in editing and cropping the photos at home I did notice this one female. 

I hiked about 2 miles on the trail, walking past the ruins of some of the old locks form the Lehigh Canal that transported coal and other products from the Northeastern Pennsylvania mountains to the cites of New York and Philadelphia. 

It was a beautiful March day but I had had already hiked five miles when I decided to turn back.

I didn’t see any more wildlife on my hike. I was a little disappointed I didn’t see more birds or other animals but it was still a nice day to be outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs for my hike in search of geese and ducks along the Lehigh River. Lehigh River D & L hike March 14 2021..

“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.” ―Neil Gaiman

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