Not Much Wildlife But A Lot Of Wildflowers On A Hike At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails
I had a lot of chores to do, and there was an Eagles preseason game on at 1 p.m., so I decided to hike early and close to home last Sunday. It was overcast and a mild 67 degrees when I arrived at the Hazle Brook Road entrance to the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the mixed hardwood woodlands at the start of the trail was the silence.
In the Spring these woodlands were filled with sounds of the song birds. The singing of oven birds, red-eyed vireos, warblers and vireos echoed in the tree tops. On Sunday the woods were quiet. Many of the song birds have already started their migration south.
After about a mile the trail left the second growth woodlands and entered the active and reclaimed coal mining areas. The fresh water stream that separated these old growth forest from the mining areas was dried up. There were native trout in this stream in the Spring.
and a lot of goldenrod flowers. These flowers get a bad rap. They do not cause allergies in humans. That would be ragweed. Goldenrod is an important late Summer source of food for many insects. And there are many different species, this is early goldenrod and this,
spotted knapweed flowers. I was amazed by the number of wildflowers I saw along the trail. Unless you are looking for them, many would go unseen on a hike in our woodlands. I was glad I was looking for them , and that I was able to share there beauty here on my blog .This is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the wildflowers I saw on my hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails wildflowers August 21 2022.
I continued on my usual five mile hike on the trail, walking through the culvert under the active mining haul road. The culvert will soon be complete. It will be graded tp prevent erosion and then landscaped.
On the other side of the culvert the trail took me into the reclamation areas. This area was once a large strip mine. I was again surprised that there was no bird activity in the birch, pine, locust and aspen trees along the trail.
even though I did see a lot of milkweed plants. I used to see hundreds of these caterpillars on the milkweed plants on my hikes. Not these year. I only saw three monarch butterflies all Summer. Hundreds of these beautiful butterflies used to fly over our meadows and roadsides here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not anymore, these butterflies are now endangered and may soon be extinct because of the loss milkweed plants due to land development. It is sad.
I also saw a few of apple like growths on scrub oaks trees along the trail. The aren’t apples they are growths created by oak gall wasp and serve as nurseries for their young. The wasp causes the oaks to create these galls. It is another amazing wonder of the natural worlds.
As I was finishing my five my hike I found this two color bolete mushroom along the trail. I missed in on my walk out on the trail. I was glad to find it. We have had little rain in our area this Summer and they have been very few mushrooms growing. This was one of my favorite edible mushrooms so it was a great way to end another great hike on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trail . Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails August 21 2022.
You belong among the wildflowers You belong in a boat out at sea You belong with your love on your arm You belong somewhere you feel free. ― Tom Petty