The Song Birds Return, A Hike Along Lehigh River At The Lehigh Gap

The Song Birds Return, A Hike Along Lehigh River At The Lehigh Gap

skunk cabbage and bridge on trail
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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. clouds fog and trees on Blue Mountain

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. tree reflection on pond

I only saw this one mallard duck on the ponds but did notice a lot of insects flying above the ponds and wetlands. mallard on pond

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. blue gray gnatcatcher  in tree

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. skunk cabbage on trail

I returned to the D & L trail along the Lehigh River. Here I saw this warbler in the trees. chestnut-sided warbler in tree. 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.  chestnut sided warbler on tree branch

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. bikers on D & L Trail along Lehigh River

I saw a lot more birds on my walk. There were a few goldfinches, gold finch in tree branch

a filed sparrowfiled sparrow on ground

and this yellow-rumped warbler. 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. spring on trail

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. tree swallow on power line

They were everywhere. Flying overhead, perched on trees and power lines  or looking over the many bird houses placed along the trail. pair of swallows on bird house

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. Lehigh Gap Nature center

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. Bobolink and D & L trail intersection

There were nice views the river and surrounding towns from the trail.view of Lehigh river and Palemrton

I saw this osprey perched in a tree enjoying the  view.  As I was changing my camera settings he flew from his perch.osprey with fish on branch

I only then noticed I had interrupted his lunch. He flew off, fish in  talon, to a more quite location. osprey in flight with fish in talon

The were a lot of sparrows in the trees and I also saw this black throated gray warbler, another first sighting for me. black throated gray warbler

And I saw few of the beautiful prairie warblers on the trail. prairie warbler on tree branch

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. oven bird on tree branch

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  

purple flower blooming on trail