It was clear and seasonably cool 43 degrees when I awoke Saturday morning. After my usual morning walk through my neighborhood I decided to drive to Lehigh River and hike the D & L trail. It was sunny when I left my house. However, it was cloudy when I arrived at the Bowmanstown parking lot.
On my last hike on this section of the trail I discovered the Three Pond Trail. I thought I might find some water birds on the ponds or in the surrounding wetlands along the trail.
I only saw this one mallard duck on the ponds but did notice a lot of insects flying above the ponds and wetlands.
Insects usually mean the return of the many migratory song birds that feed on them. And sure enough I saw this blue- gray gnatcatcher darting in the trees.
There were still no leaves on the trees but many were starting to put out buds. There were plenty of skunk cabbage growing in the wetlands.
I returned to the D & L trail along the Lehigh River. Here I saw this warbler in the trees. I later identified it as a chestnut-sided warbler at home.(I had help form my birder friends in identifying the gnat catcher and some of the other birds I saw on my hike. ) Here is a link to some more photos of this beautiful bird. Chestnut-sided warbler.
The sun had burned off most of the fog and sun and it warmed up nicely. I love walking in the sun. So did a lot of other people. The trail was crowded with bikers, walkers and runners.
I saw a lot more birds on my walk. There were a few goldfinches,
a filed sparrow
and this yellow-rumped warbler.
I followed the trail which was once a railroad right of way. There were many small springs flowing off the Blue Mountain to the right and west as I walked south.
I was disappointed not seeing a lot of duck or geese on the river. I saw a few mallards and common mergansers but none near enough to photograph. There were, however, many tree swallows darting over the river feeding on what must have been a fly hatch.
They were everywhere. Flying overhead, perched on trees and power lines or looking over the many bird houses placed along the trail.
I walked about 2 1/2 miles to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center. There are butterfly gardens and bird feeders here and will be a good place to observe wildlife in the summer.
I began my walk back and decided to try a different trail. When I came to the Bobolink Trail I followed it up it’s steep incline to the Lehigh & New England trail. This trail was also once a railroad right of way.
There were nice views the river and surrounding towns from the trail.
I saw this osprey perched in a tree enjoying the view. As I was changing my camera settings he flew from his perch.
I only then noticed I had interrupted his lunch. He flew off, fish in talon, to a more quite location.
The were a lot of sparrows in the trees and I also saw this black throated gray warbler, another first sighting for me.
And I saw few of the beautiful prairie warblers on the trail.
There were also some elusive oven birds fluttering in the trees along the trail. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap Hike birds April 28 2018.
I came to the Three Pond Trail which connected back to the D & L trail after a steep descent through some nice old growth woods.
It was a good hike for me having seen three new species of birds and many old favorites. I was hoping to see some water birds and possibly a bald eagle. No luck there. But it was another great hike here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Gap Hike. April 28 2018.
“Spring would not be spring without bird songs.”
– Francis M. Chapman