May Is A Great Month To Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trail
Last week I decided to hike the local Greater Hazleton Rails to Trail near my home in Luzerne County. It was dreary and overcast but I was surprised with the amount and variety of migrating song birds I saw on my five mile hike. There were birds fluttering in the trees all along the trail. So, I decided to return on Sunday and see if they were still there. The weather was completely different. It was summer-like, hazy, hot and humid, with temperatures in the 70’s when I began my hike. I love this kind of weather.
I immediately noticed the trees have finally started to change into their green Spring foliage. We are a few weeks behind the rest of our area because of our high elevation. I also noticed a lot less bird song and activity. Their were birds still singing but not like last week when the trail echoed with so many songs. There were no ovenbirds as began my hike. Last week they were everywhere. I did see another blue-headed vireo ,
and red-eyed vireo. Both were singing loudly form the tree tops. But that was it, I was a little disappointed.
and a lot of high bush blueberries or, as we locals call them, “swampers” “huckleberries”. I have picked hundreds of quarts in the heat and humidity of July in the swamps and wetlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
I hiked to the wetlands area near the trail where I saw and heard so many song birds the week before. This week I only saw this female eastern towhee,
a few chipping sparrows, and
this colorful Baltimore oriole
The trail soon took me through a culvert beneath an active coal mining haul road and up an embankment where it continued through a large reclamation area. As I noted in my previous blog, first there were many deep underground anthracite coal mines in this area. The area was then strip mined leaving large, steep pits and culm banks. The pits and culm banks were leveled about 30 years ago in a mine reclamation projects and are now creating a second or third growth forest.
Last week I found many song birds in the the young birch, pine and aspen trees growing in the reclamation area, but not on this hike. It was very quite. The trail continued across the active railroad right-of way,
The stream that feeds the strip mine “lake” flows beneath the trail. This stone structure was built for the railroad right-of -way sometimes in the early 1890’s. I have provided more specific information on the history of the railroads in earlier blog post with you can find by using the search tool.
and this black and white warbler. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw my hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails hike. May 22 2022.
I didn’t see as many migratory birds as on my previous hike but I enjoyed my hike on the trail. It’s a great place to hike in May, and, actually, any month of the year, well, maybe not in deep snow in January. I tried that and it wasn’t really that great. But still better then bring inside! Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Greater Hazleton rails to Trails May 22 2022
It’s spring again. I can hear the birds sing again.
See the flowers start to bud. See young people fall in love.