My First Visit To Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County

My First Visit To Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County

Marsh Creek State Park hike (35 of 46)
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I was in King of Prussia in Montgomery County last weekend.  I was there for both business and pleasure.  My business was completed Friday afternoon and I decided to visit the  Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County on Saturday morning . I wanted to get an early start but it was raining when I awoke at my hotel.. The rain delayed my hike for about an hour. It was about a 1/2 drive to the state park and I arrived at the Dorlan Mill Road  trailhead parking lot around 8:30 a.m. There  was only one other vehicle in  the parking lot.

It was a cloudy and cool February morning.  Temperatures were in the upper 30’s and falling. I began exploration of the park by following a trail that took me up a wooded ridge. The mixed oak, beech and tulip trees  were bare and drab  looking  under the cloudy skies. 

However there was a lot of green  Christmas ferns growing everywhere along the trail.  I have never seen so many of these ferns  on  any of my  many hikes in Pennsylvania.

I also found some shelf mushrooms growing on a fallen tree.

I soon  realized I was walking away form the lake.  I wanted to see if there were bald eagles and water fowl on the lake so I turned around and found the Yellow Trail. It followed  an access road toward the lake.

Here, in addition to the oak, beech and tall tulip trees,

I saw a few shagbark hickory trees growing along the road.

And, in some wetlands along the road, I saw dozens of skunk cabbage sprouting through the muddy soil, a sure sign Spring is near.

The road took me to  the dam on Marsh Creek Lake.

I walked up to the crest of the dam and viewed the 535  acre lake for the first time. The dam was built on Marsh Creek for flood control,  The lake was completed and  the State Park opened in 1974.

I crossed the crest of the dam where I  saw a few song sparrows scurrying in some blackberry brambles.  

As I looked across the lake I saw a few common mergansers swimming in a  small arm of thee lake that create a wooded cove . I walked over to the cove  and along the  shore of the lake,

Here I  saw a few  Carolina wrens singing  in the trees along the trail.

This male was singing loudly to attract the female sitting on a branch  beneath while he serenaded her,

 another sign of the approaching Spring. I love nearing their cheerful songs.

I also saw a few belted kingfishers chattering loudly and  flying along the shore of the lake.

One landed on a dried   common mullein flower stalk.  I think this lake  it will be a great place to see water fowl during the approaching Spring migration.

I walked along the shore to the back of  the cove where I  saw the flock of common mergansers I had seen across the lake. ,They saw me first and flew off before I could get a photo. However, I did see some more birds along the shore of the cove. A  Canada goose was hanging  out with some mallard ducks,

this is the male mallard duck.

Nearby  some American crows cawed loudly while feeding on something along the shore. It is unusual to see crows, mallard and geese together like this. As I commented earlier I think this will be a great place to look for birds during the Spring migration.

I walked back to the crest of the dam and then continued on the Yellow Trail along l the lake. I liked this trail.   It followed a ridge above the shore of the lake, allowing me to see any birds on the water below. And I saw a few common mergansers but they always saw me first and flew off before I could get any good photos,

There was a mixed hardwood forest above the trail with, a lot of willow trees, and a thick undergrowth of vines and shrubs. It looked like a perfect habitat for birds. And there was a lot of bird activity. However, like the previous evening, time wasn’t on my side. I had to check out of my hotel by  noon, and it was a half hour drive back to the hotel. I had already spent over an hour trying to capture photos of the belted kingfisher and Carolina wrens at the cove. However, I did take a few photos of the many white-throated sparrows scurrying on the ground along the trail.

I also saw a  Carolina chickadee,

  this red-bellied woodpecker and

this downy woodpecker. I also saw a hairy woodpecker, and heard a yellow-bellied sapsucker but wasn’t able to photograph and share them. I wanted to explore as much of the park as I could so I kept moving.

There was still some snow remaining from the storm that hit  eastern Pennsylvania last week but most had melted here in the southern part of the State. 

The Yellow Trail occasionally would approach  the shore of the lake,

and I would see common mergansers which always seemed to see me  and fly quickly across the lake.

After about a 1 1/2 the trail followed another cove and through a large field, then, 

crossing a small creek and through a wetlands. It was very muddy here. There was a board walk spanning parts of the wetlands.

On the other side the trail continued up a ridge. Here I found some old osage orange trees growing along the trail,

with their strange large fruit scattered beneath the gnarled limbs.

The wind picked up and the skies cleared providing beautiful views of the lake.

I had walked almost three miles and knew I had to head back, and, as I began my hike back this juvenile bald eagle flew overhead.

I always have time to photograph these majestic birds and watched it soar off over the lake.

It was a nice hike back with the late February sun shining in the clearing skies. I walked back along the lake,

to the crest of the dam.

The lake look a lot different under the blue skies and sunshine.

I took a different loop of the Yellow trail back to the parking lot, It took me through a mixed woodland where I encountered a few people walking their dogs.

It was late, almost 11 a.m. but I heard a small flock of golden crowned kinglets as I neared the parking lot. . I had to stop and try to photograph these elusive birds.

they were feeding along the trail and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

I was glad I did and can now share these  photos of these tiny, pretty birds.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Marsh Creek State Park birds February 24 2024.

I enjoyed my first visit to Marsh Creek State Park. There are a lot of different types of habitats and I know will be a great place to see some bird activity and enjoy the beauty of nature. I  am planning to return in early May. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile  my hike. Marsh Creek State Park birds February 24 2024.

I drove back to my hotel in King of Prussia,  the Courtyard by Marriot,  quickly showered and checked out. I drove the short distance to the Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar where I met my niece Cassidy. The meal was amazing. I had a delicious Brazilian seafood stew served with bread and rice. It was gourmet food for sure, and I would strongly recommend this place.

We shared the desert, a rum butterscotch bread pudding which was also delicious.  It was another wonderful meal with my niece. I hope to visit again soon. In addition to visiting my niece, I look forward to exploring more of nature and good food in Montgomery and Chester counties in southeastern  Pennsylvania.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children.” Theodore Roosevelt

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