No Mushrooms But A Pleasant September Morning Hike Around Leaser Lake in Lehigh County.
It was a beautiful September morning last Saturday in Hazle Township, Luzerne County. And September is the peak of wild mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As many of you who follow my blog know, I love foraging for wild edible mushrooms. I have been doing so since I was a young child. Many of my mushroom hunts can be found by researching the archives of my blog website. This was not a good mushroom season. We had little rain and there were few mushrooms growing this Summer. We got some rain last week but I didn’t find any of the edible mushrooms I gather on a hike near my home Friday.
This past year many of the areas where I had found my favorite “red top’ (aspen scaber stalk) were lost to industrial development. My family dries these mushrooms and we use them in a traditional Polish mushroom soup on Christmas Eve Holy Supper. My wonderful nieces now make the soup and continue this beautiful tradition. Those are “red top” mushrooms shown above. This being said I decided to explore some new areas and thought the woodlands around Leaser Lake in Lehigh County might be a good place to look for some mushrooms..
So I took the 40 minute drive to the lake and arrived around 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the North boat ramp.. It was a chilly 55 degrees when I arrived. The skies were clear but there was a mist on the lake. There were already quite a few fishermen on the lake.
I left the lake and entered the woodlands along the west side of the lake on the Lakeside Trail. It is about a five mile hike around the lake.
The woods were still lush and green but they were quiet, On my last hikes these woods were filled with the songs of warblers, vireos and other song birds. There were no birds singing Saturday . And there were no mushrooms either. I was disappointed I thought there may be some chicken of the woods or hen of the woods (we call them ramsheads). There were not many wildflowers blooming either, just the pretty white wood asters.
Of course the were many ferns, including these Christmas ferns.
It was nice walking under the tall trees with the September sun filtering through the leaves.
The trail left the woodlands and continued along the lake.
There were fields along the trail and many spider webs.
And if there are spider webs there are spiders. This was one of the orb weaver spiders I saw along the trail.
The sound of birds now filled the air. But it was only gray catbirds that I heard.
There were dozens of these noisy birds fluttering in the trees along the trail.
I would see them throughout my five mile walk around the lake.
The trail continued along the lake. There were many birch trees along the trail. Red top mushrooms grown near birch trees and this is where I hoped to find them. Unfortunately the ground near the birch trees all around the lake was overgrown with goldenrod, milkweed and other plants and wildflowers. I did not find a single edible mushrooms on my hike,
It was still a pleasant day to be outdoors enjoying nature. In addition to the many gray catbirds I did see a few wood ducks and this song sparrow along the trail.
There were a lot of late Summer wildflowers still blooming along the trail, including as I said many fields of goldenrod flowers.
The milkweed plants had produced their pods which will soon release their silky seeds.
and the delicate and beautiful touch-me-not or jewelweed flowers growing along the trail.
And where there are wildflowers there are insects, and I saw few including many common eastern bumblebees,
a red-spotted admiral butterfly and
a few dragonflies including this widow skimmer.
The trail followed the arms of the lake and one of them became a wetlands. There were a couple of folks fishing here,
amid the many cattails growing along the lake. I walked around the wetlands and came to the Southern Main parking area. There were a lot of folks fishing. picnicking or just enjoying the beauty of the lake. The purple martin nest here were empty and their occupants were migrating to the tropics for the Winter.
The trail crossed the dam on the lake and then proceeded through some woodlands on eastern side of the lake.
The September sun was still strong and warmed the cool morning air and I continued my hike along the shores of the lake. The lake reflected the deep blue skies.
Near another arm of the lake finally heard and saw some birds. There were a few field sparrows,
and this house wren singing in the fields along the trail.
I also saw a few northern mocking birds. As I was watching the mocking birds,
this beautiful red shouldered hawk landed on a dead tree branch above my head.
before flying across the lake.
The trail left the lake and continued through fields of soybeans,
this is what soybeans look like if you haven’t seen them before.
I walked through the fields until the trail turned ack toward the lake. As I walked back to the lake a Coopers hawk flew overhead and
I heard and saw this warbling vireo in a tree along the trail.
It was nearing noon when the trail entered a woodland on the northern side of the lake. In the Spring the trail here was almost under water. It was still wet in spots but much drier now because of the lack of rain this Summer. The trail also gets very rocky here before it leaves the woodland and again follows the northern shore of the lake.
Here I saw this turtle enjoying the September sunshine,
and this eastern phoebe catching insects on the shores of the lake. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the critters I saw on my pleasant September morning hike around the lake. Leaser Lake Critters September 10 2022.
I didn’t find any mushrooms but it was another nice hike in the woodlands of Pennsylvania, and I enjoyed seeing some wildlife, wildflowers and beautiful scenery. And once again I enjoyed sharing it here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike around the scenic lake. Leaser Lake September 10 2022.
Happily we bask in this warm September sun, which illuminates all creatures.” – Henry David Thoreau