More Brilliant Sunshine But Not Much Wildlife At Leaser Lake.

More Brilliant Sunshine But Not Much Wildlife At Leaser Lake.

Leaser Lake (3 of 47)
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The skies were clear and calm when I awoke early Sunday morning . I had decided to hike at Leaser Lake  in Lehigh was County.  First,  I took my daily two mile walk through my neighborhood in Hazle Township, Luzerne County.  I  watched a brilliant sunrise in the cold morning air.   This was the first sunny weekend we have had since last August here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and I was taking advantage of it. It was a beautiful day  in the Susquehanna Wetlands on Saturday but I was a little disappointed in not seeing more birds and wildlife on my five mile hike. 

I heard there were snow geese sighting in Lehigh and Schuylkill counties during the week. And I have seen ducks and other  water fowl on  Leaser Lake in the past. There are woodlands and farmlands around the lake so I thought this would be a good place to see, and photograph some birds and other wildlife. in the bright sunshine.  Leaser Lake was built by the PA Fish and Boat Commission and opened in 1971. It is about 20 miles south of my home. I was the only vehicle at the parking lot when I arrived around 8:30a.m. The sun shine brilliantly over the blue waters of the lake.

I parked at the north boat access and walked toward the wooded trail on the west side of the lake. It is about a 4 1/2 mile hike around the 117 acre. I first walked past one of the inlets or arms of  the star shaped lake. I usual see some duck here but there were none on Sunday morning. A great blue heron was on the water and flew directly over me, but to fast for me to get any photos.

I walked into the mixed hardwood/hemlock forest and followed the trail under the mostly oak woodlands with hemlock, maple, and beech trees.

There were large patched of Christmas ferns along the trail.

I saw a pileated woodpecker in a tree and waited  patiently for it to get closer. After watching it for 15 minutes I saw a red squirrel in a tree. While trying to photograph the squirrel the woodpecker flew to a tree right in front of me. As I aimed my camera it flew off so I only got this poor  photo of the red squirrel.

The trail took left  woodlands and continued between the lake and some farm fields.

I often see birds here but there were very few on Sunday just a shy male cardinals peeking out from some pine branches,

and this ruby crowned kinglet that was hopping from branch to branch on another pine tree.

There are many Norwegian pine trees growing along the shore of the lake and a lot of pines cones on the trail.

As I hiked south on the trail,   the majestic Blue Mountain came into view to the north of the clear blue lake.

Cattails grow along the shores of the lake. I often see many song sparrows and migratory birds here in the warmer months but there were none on Sunday.

The only wildlife activity I observed were a few Canada geese that honked loudly as they flew over the lake.

The trail now followed another  arm of the lake which would end in a wetland. Here I had often seen ducks and many birds.

Again it was quiet on Sunday but I did see a small flock of eastern bluebirds,

this bluebird inspecting one the many nest boxes placed around the lake.

A small creek flows into this arm of the lake There are willow trees here, some showing the first hint of color in their branches, a sign of the approaching Spring.

A small flock of field sparrows was feeding here, the only birds I saw on this part of the lake.

I followed the trail to the main parking area, where there are maps of the lake,

and exhibits showing the fish and birds that live here.

I walked past the purple martin nest, they should be returning on their long journey from South America soon, and on the bridge over the crest of the dam creating Leaser Lake. Here one gets a  spectacular view of the  lake and the Blue Mountain.

The trail continues around the lake following a ridge to a grove of white pine trees.

Here one fines many marginal  wood ferns growing along the trail.

I followed the trail back down along the shores of the lake where I saw a small flock of common mergansers but they flew off behind the trees before I could get any photos. I was able to photo a small flock of white throated sparrows,

and dark eyed jucos in the trees along the trail.

I knew these birds often traveled together.  I just learned that, although they are not  closely related, they sometimes  mate with  with each other and produce hybrids.

I walked to another parking lot with the Memorial to Frederick Leaser, the person after which the park was named. He was a pioneer farmer who transported the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown during the Revolutionary War.  In addition to the scenic beauty and wildlife there is a  lot of history in this area. 

I followed the trail along another arm of the lake. I was enjoying the brilliant sunshine but disappointed I wasn’t seeing more birds and wildlife.

I now walked north facing the Blue Mountain. This mountain was the edge of the wilderness during the days of the Revolutionary War. The Appalachian Trail follows its summit. For those familiar with our area the cell tower in the distance is where Route 309 crosses the Blue Mountain.

The trail continued through the fields where many white pines were planted  and now many white pine cones were  found along the trail. 

The trail followed another arm of the lake and then headed west again back toward the north parking lot. Here I saw the last bird I would see on this  hike a downy woodpecker.  I was disappointed and surprised there were not more birds and other critters active on this beautiful February morning. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Leaser Lake birds February 4 2024.

The trail followed one more arm of the lake and I hoped I had  one more opportunity to see some ducks.  Unlike most other arms of  the lake, which are surrounded by fields this one is surrounded by a mixed oak/hemlock woodland.  I often see different species of ducks here,

But not on this sunny morning there were no ducks or any other birds as I walked  past this cove. There was a lot of last years Indian hemp or prairie dogbane  seed pods along the trail. The seeds from this native plant often attract birds but once again there were no birds to be seen on this sunny Sunday morning.

Growing under trees above the cove were small patches of garlic mustard.

I finished my hike walking  through a rocky wetland. Soon there will be hundreds of  skunk cabbages pushing through the muddy soil. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos from my five mile hike around Leaser Lake. . Leaser Lake  February 4 2024.

I finished my five mile hike back at the parking lot  on the north shore of the lake. I walked along the shore one last time hoping to see some water fowl or maybe even a bald eagle, but there were no birds or any wildlife to be seen. I was disappointed there weren’t more wildlife on this beautiful sunny February day but it was still a nice day to be outside and enjoy the scenic lake and Blue Mountain . It won’t be long until the purple martins and other migratory birds return. I will be waiting for them.

A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”-Henry David Thoreau

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