Trout Lilies And Thrushes: A Pleasant And Peaceful Easter Morning Walk In Walnutport

Trout Lilies And Thrushes: A Pleasant And Peaceful Easter Morning Walk In Walnutport

Walnutport hike (15 of 38)
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While hiking in the Susquehanna Wetlands last  Saturday  I found trout lilies just beginning to bloom. I love seeing these delicate and ephemeral  yellow flowers when they bloom in early April.  They only bloom for a few days so I try and enjoy them as much as I can. One of the areas I have seen  many  trout lilies is in the woodlands along the Walnutport canal in Northampton  County. And,  since the Walnutport is further south, and warmer,  I thought they would be in full bloom here on Sunday. 

So, early Easter morning I drove to Walnutport  to hike along the  historic Lehigh canal. I also hoped to see some birds and wood ducks on my hike. It was sunny but cool when I arrived. Temperatures were in the low 30’s. as I began my hike on the trail along  the canal.  I wasn’t the first one there. There were already a number of fishermen along the canal. 

And a few  birds, robins, trying to catch  a worm. 

I walked past the historic lockkeepers house,

and past the large ancient oak trees along the trail. 

I was surprised that the large flock of Canada geese. mallard ducks and domestic water fowl weren’t swimming in the canal. I left the canal and walked into the woodlands. where the trout lilies grow.

I found them, but they had not yet opened. I was hoping the warm April sun would encourage them to bloom  by the time I returned . 

 Garlic mustard, an invasive, but edible wild plant, was growing everywhere along the trail. 

I followed the woodland trail as in meandered along the Lehigh River, 

leaving the trail at the “old swimming hole” I  always imagine the youngsters swimming here, before the days of  smart phones, television and even radio. This was the place to be on a  hot Summer afternoon. 

I walked back up to the trail along the canal and past the huge trestles from the abandoned railroad track. It was built over 140 years ago and abandoned in the 1930’s. Again I reflected on the  lives of the  passengers on the train, looking down at the youngster in the Lehigh River splashing in the “old swimming hole” on a hot Summer day. Where were they from? Where were they going? Where they traveling for pleasure? Or Business? So many thoughts when I see old ruins. 

I walked past some more ancient oak trees

and  I heard the squawking of a red- bellied woodpecker in the treetops and soon seen another one nearer to the ground. 

On the river I saw  some common mergansers, 

this couple slowly swam away,

and this male flew when he saw me.

I  continued my walk and came to a lock with a small waterfall. Beyond the lock was a wetlands were I had seen dozens of mallard and wood ducks on previous hikes. I was surprised when I didn’t see any as I walked above the wetlands. 

I did  see a lot of other birds in the trees along the trail,

including a pair of Carolina wrens, 

 one was  singing loudly in the cool morning air.

A pair of brown headed cowbirds were perched high atop another tree. 

Nearer the ground were some of our Winter resident birds, including song sparrows,

 dark eyed juncos, and, 

black-capped chickadees. 


I followed the trail to it’s end where it meets the  Bertsch Creek

On my walk back I heard and saw a this Louisiana waterthrush. It was in the same location I saw my first one two years ago. 

These birds are not “thrushes” but actually warblers and one of the first to return to our area to breed in the Spring. They spend there Winters in Central and South America and the Caribbean 

I  also saw  a few of these migratory birds, palm warblers. They also  spend there Winters in Mexico , Central America and the Caribbean. It amazes me they can travel so far, and in a very short time. I am glad they are back. 

On my walk back did not see any wood duck or mallard ducks in the wetlands.  I was very surprised since I  have seen so many here the past three years. I did see one pair of mallard ducks on the waters of the canal on my hike back, 

and, as I thought, a lot of turtles warming up in the April sunshine, 

There were dozens of them on the logs in the canal and along the shore. 

 I walked back into the woodlands along the trail, and much to my delight, I found  hundreds of the trout lilies now in full bloom. 

My mission was accomplished.

Trout lilies  bloom for such a short time and  will be gone in a couple of day. 

Before I ended my five mile hike I would see a few more birds.  one of my favorite the white throated sparrow,

a downy woodpecker, 

and some common grackles. Here is a link to a gallery in my blog website  with some more photos of the birds I saw on my five mile hike. Walnutport hike birds April 9 2023 

I finished my hike and walked down to the deep blue waters of the fast flowing  Lehigh River.  Watching a river flow is another one of my favorite things to do in Spring. Actually, I like doing anything outdoors in Spring in Pennsylvania. It was a nice peaceful Easter morning walk, I could have walked until sunset,   but  it was time to head home and spend some time with family Here is a link to a a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Walnutport hike April 9 2023 


A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night,
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Ben Jonson


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