Another Winter Walk Along The Lehigh River
The arctic weather continued on Sunday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I awoke in the morning to find a temperature of -4 degrees at my house. The wind had subsided and the clear skies meant we would have some sunshine. I knew it would be cold but I wasn’t staying inside. I decided to return to the Lehigh Canal in Weissport to see if the bitter cold had frozen the Lehigh River.
I decided to first walk to the railroad bridge over to the Lehigh River expecting to find the river to be frozen. To my surprise it wasn’t. There was some ice build up along the river banks but it was flowing just as swiftly as it was last week.
After about a half mile on the trail I smelled the pleasant odor of a campfire. I soon saw a brave fellow ice fishing on the canal and warming himself next to a fire. He told me the fish weren’t biting, having only caught one.
I walked along the canal which ran along the Lehigh River but at varying distance, sometimes as far as 100 yards, and at other areas right along the river. I enjoyed listening to the roaring of the waters on this cold day.
I also saw a bird scampering up a tree trunk. At first I thought it was a nuthatch but they usually scamper down a tree trunk. I took a few photographs with my zoom lens and discovered, later at home, that it was a brown creeper. This was my first sighting of the bird. I enjoy finding and identifying (with much help from my birder friends) new species of birds.
I also saw, for the first time, this winter resident. It hopped from tree branch to tree branch across the canal making it almost impossible to photograph. I was delighted when it flew across the canal and landed in a tree near me. It is a golden-crowned kinglet.
It stayed nearby feeding on insects burrowed in the trees branches Here is a link to some more photographs of this pretty little bird. Golden crowned kinglet.
I made it out to the “Bridge to nowhere” again, about two miles out. I stopped to rest a bit on this bench provided by a local church. I decided to head back. I was cold but invigorated by the brilliant sunshine, the deep blues skies and white snow. I was also enjoying so many birds on this cold Winter morning. I was hungry and wanted to watch some football or I might have hiked until dark.
On the way back I was watching a few titmice in a tree when I saw this squirrel cautiously looking at me. There were again very few chipmunks or squirrels active in the cold. And when they are they are very secretive.
I believe it is because they are one of the few sources of food for this fellow I spotted high in another treetop. It is some type of hawk and I am sure it was looking for a squirrel or chipmunk to make a sudden, and last, move. Such is survival in the harshness of Winter.
On my return hike I met a number of folks who were braving the freezing temperatures to enjoy the Winter scenery and January sunshine. I also saw many of the same birds I saw on my hike out and another beautiful Winter resident, the colorful blue bird.
I was again very cold when I returned to my car. It was a cold well earned and which provided me with the peace and quiet I so love, the beauty of a frozen nature I so appreciate, and the observation of so many birds I so enjoy. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike along the Lehigh. Lehigh River hike January 7 2018
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd