It was a sunny start Sunday morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I was having a picnic in the afternoon and had yet to set up my lawn furniture.. So I was going to hike close to home until a friend posted a photograph of a mother bear and three cubs out on the local Rail To trails.
Well three cubs are rare and I was soon hiking out the trails looking for the bears and trying to think where the mom and her cubs may be.
I have heard of bear sightings in the pitch pine barrens near the beginning of the trail so I was soon in this beautiful section of the trails owned by a local land trust.
The woods were lush and beautiful this time of year especially in the early morning May sunlight.
This protected area is absolutely beautiful. I love how the pine and birch stand out among the lower heath, ferns and other lower shrubs.
I didn’t see any bear but soon saw this yellow rumped warbler perched high in a tree top singing it’s song to the woodlands below.
And there were many other birds darting in and out of the lower trees, including the scrub oaks and high bush blueberry plants. It is so hard to photographs them but I was able to capture this one, I think it may be a female common yellow throat.
As I walked back to the main trail a turkey vulture flew overhead.
And on the ground I saw a few chipmunks and this squirrel.
I also stopped to watch these busy creatures, red ants, scurry atop their nest. But there were no bears in sight so. having little time, I decided to drive the entrance on the far end of the trail, near Hazle Brook and hike out to the bridge were the bears were seen earlier that morning. Here is a link to some more photographs of my hike in the pitch pine barrens. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-heath-barrens-May-28-2017
I parked at the entrance on the east end of the current trail and hiked under an older forest of oak, maple and hemlock.
I was soon greeted by the sound of this beautiful birds singing high in a tree top, a scarlet tanager.
I have been fortunate this Spring to have seen quite a few of these birds this year.
I continued through the woodlands and to a more open section of the trail, where it winds it’s way through a former mining area that have been reclaimed.
I did not see a lot of birds in the still young trees along the trail , but I am confidant that the many trees planted here will provide food and homes for many species of birds in the coming years.
I walked out to the bridge where the bear and her three cubs were sighted earlier in the morning.
I didn’t see any bears, and continued my search and walked to the heath barrens about a mile further on the trail.
As I walked back I saw this hawk fly overhead
and this blue jay eating some type of insect in a tree. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rail-to-trails-birds-may-28-2017
There were also some wild flowers blooming along the trail, including my favorite, the lady slipper orchid or duck flower,
and a few may flowers.
And, a sure sign that spring is slowly sleeping into Summer, another of my favorite flowers, the daisies, are blooming.
I didn’t find the bears, and I now had only a few hours to put my lawn furniture out but it was sure worth the few hours of walking in the woods in the early morning May sunshine. Here is a line to some more photographs of my hike on the trail https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-Hazle-Brook-may-28-2017
“Details of the many walks I made along the crest have blurred, now, into a pleasing tapestry of grass and space and sunlight.”
– Colin Fletcher