Spring Is A Little Behind At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails But It's Still Spring

Spring Is A Little Behind At The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails But It's Still Spring

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            <![CDATA[Spring was in full bloom at the PPL Wetlands yesterday. I wanted to stay close to home today, I still have some catching up to do from my recent trip to Poland, &nbsp;so I decided to hike out the local Rails to Trails.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Rails-to-trails-1.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-76843" src="https://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Rails-to-trails-1-300x200.jpg" alt="Rails to trails -1" width="300" height="200"></a>

It was overcast and a bit cooler today as I set out from the parking lot. As I began my walk I immediately noticed  that there was no were near as many leaves on the trees.  It seemed like the growing season was at least a week or two behind the PPL Wetlands.  Rails to trails -3

I forgot that we are at 1750 feet above sea level and the PPL Wetlands are at 500 feet above sea level. The 1250 difference in elevation sure  does make a big difference in the local climate. Rails to trails -2

Still there were many signs of Spring on the trail. The various species of wild violets were blooming  everywhere. . Rails to trails -45

As were the wild strawberries,Rails to trails -24

and both the high bush and low bush, pictured here, blueberries. These flowers will produce the first blueberries, or, as they are known here, huckleberries, somewhere around the Summer solstice. Rails to trails -47

As I walked along the trail I heard rustling of an eastern towhee in the underbrush.  These birds were a lot more common when I was growing up and we saw many of them will picking wild huckleberries on many a summer morning.   Their call in unmistakable. They hop and flutter low to the ground in thick underbrush. I watched this one for almost 15 minutes before I was able to focus in and get this photograph. Rails to trails -8

I also heard some more rustling in the leaves near the ground and watched, again for quite a while, a small mouse scampering under the dead leaves and low lying brush. I tried to get a photograph but he kept darting out of view as soon as I got him in focus. It was still an interesting experience. One does not often see a mouse during the day. And while watching the mouse I did manage to get a photograph of another elusive bird, I believe this is an oven bird. Rails to trails -61

I continued my hike, encountering a few couples and families out for a walk as well as a few runners and folks on bicycles. I also saw this little fellow climbing atop a rock to get a look at me. Rails to trails -32

I hiked out to the picnic area near the Dreck Creek Reservoir and continued onward.Rails to trails -28

 I was going to try and get to the pine barrens but heard a woodpecker and hawk near an electric pole line and decided to try and find them. Rails to trails -37

I walked down to Dreck Creek which flows out from the reservoir. I sat for a bit and listened to the rapidly flowing waters. before beginning my return walk. Rails to trails -39

I noticed, and smelled,  the wonderful aroma of,  many wild arbutus growing near the creek. Rails to trails -42I love this time of year. There is so much to see as the natural world comes to life after it’s long Winter sleep. Every  single leaf has a unique beauty, such as these black birch leaves. Rails to trails -49

Or this blackberry leaf. Rails to trails -44

Or the young leaves of this scrub oak tree. I could spemd a day observing and photographing the newly sprouted leaves. . Rails to trails -4

So much new growth, it is an amazingly  beautiful word we live in and Spring always, to me anyway, seems to make me once again appreciate it. . I continued my walk watching the newly awakened moths, butterflies and bumblebees flutter about. Rails to trails -58

And there were more birds, robins, crows, sparrows, mourning doves and this blue jay. Here is a link to some more photographs of some of the birds I saw on my hike. https://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-birds-April-30-2017-Rails to trails -63

It was a long hike, with my early morning walk I had ten miles in, but I would have kept walking if I had the time, since there is so much to discover,in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania in the Spring.  I will have to work tomorrow and the rest of the week  but I am already looking forward to next weekend to explore  places yet unknown here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I love the Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today. https://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-To-Trails-April-30-2017-Rails to trails -10


“Never miss an opportunity of noticing anything of beauty …”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and WalkingRails to trails -46





  1. John Stahura on May 1, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Yep that’s an ovenbird. Distinctive song says “teacher, teacher”. In your spare time, you’d enjoy naturalist course I’m taking. Your journal is always well done and you could probably teach much of the course, but much more to know always. In spite of being a biology “teacher teacher” for 35 years, I’m learning many new things!

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on May 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks John sorry i missed this been so busy hard to keep up with the blog and Facebook I wish i had the time to take the course, one of these years, I decided to go to india are you going?