Wood Duck,Wrens and A Humming Bird: My First Hike Along The Schuylkill River Near Port Clinton.

Wood Duck,Wrens and A Humming Bird: My First Hike Along The Schuylkill River Near Port Clinton.

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There are three rivers within twenty miles of my home here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna, the Lehigh and the Schuylkill River. I have hiked along the banks of the Susquehanna and Lehigh rivers many times over the years.  But I have never hiked along the Schuylkill River (except in the City of Philadelphia), until Saturday.

Hiking the Schuylkill River wasn’t in my plans when I set out for State Game Lands 110 near Port Clinton in Schuylkill County Saturday morning. A friend  loaned me a birding guide that recommended hiking in these game lands. However, when I arrived in the quaint little town of Port Clinton I saw  a sign for a kayak and canoe launch and decided to investigate. 

I walked down to the brown waters of the Schuylkill and was surprised how wide it was and how fast its waters were flowing.  Where I usually see it, near its headwaters in Tamaqua you can almost jump across it. It was a cool clear day and the sun filtered through the leaves of the tall trees along the banks of the river. 

I saw a  narrow trail   along the river and decided to follow it. It was little used and overgrown. However the views of the flowing river and the canopy of ancient trees got my curiosity and I had to follow it.

It was a little rough going at first, their were some fallen logs and patches of poison ivy. But  I knew the thick, lush vegetation growing along the river may be a good place to observe some wildlife. 

I heard birds singing high in the tree tops but couldn’t see them. I did see a few butterflies, this one I haven’t been able to identify, 

and  this one, a Canadian tiger swallowtail  gathering nectar for some of the wild flowers growing along the trail.

There were some large old trees growing along the river including some of the largest black birch trees I have ever seen.

Sycamore trees, not seen in the mountains near my home, could also  be found along the trail.

I finally was able to see, and photographs one of the birds that I could hear in the lush forest that surrounded me, a Carolina wren.

It must of had a nest nearby since it remained near the tree trunk that I first saw it. 

And it didn’t seem to mind me taking photos.

As I watched the beautiful little wren I felt something dart past my head. At first I thought it was a large dragonfly. I turned to get a photograph and was surprised to see a ruby-throated hummingbird perched on a branch. 

This is the only hummingbird found in Pennsylvania. I have never seen one in the woods before. This is a female or juvenile. Unfortunately it did not stay long and let me get better photos. 

The wren was still  around and actually got closer to me. I could have watched it all day. 

I continued along the trail and it narrowed as I approached a  ledge of large rocks. It was also wet as small streams trickled over the rocks and from the ridge above the river. 

As I neared the river I heard some splashing and saw these baby wood ducklings swim out into the current.

Mom followed and frantically  tried to keep them together,

as she led them through the current to the other side of the river. 

After my encounter with the wood ducks I saw a couple of cardinals in the tree tops. This was the female .

The trail along the river ended and I walked up to the road leading back into Port Clinton. Along the road I found  one of my favorite Spring and Summer flowers in bloom.  I always have loved daisies, since we sang a song about them in first grade. 

The trail I planned to hike was  on the other side of an 800 foot ridge so I followed the road to the entrance to the game lands and trail, I had already walked three miles so I decided to just walk back to my car. 

It was a nice walk along the road. Large trees provided shade under which Christmas ferns grew alongside the road. 

I also saw some. yellow star grass flowers. 

In the tree tops I saw a red-eyed vireo and

a scarlet tanager, the last bird I was able to photograph on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Port Clinton hike birds. May 30 2020. 

It was a little more than a mile hike on the   road that led back to the town.

Along the way I came upon this old cemetery.  I love cemeteries and visit them when I travel. 

I knew this one was old since, after a quick tour, I found this grave of an man who died in 1847. 

I walked down a hill and into the small railroad town of Port Clinton. 

I took a quick walk through the town and this old church built in 1887.  I stopped at two landmarks in the town the Port Clinton Hotel, for some take out lobster bisque, oysters and fries and  some peanuts at the Port Clinton peanut shop.  I hope to return and further explore the river and surrounding game lands on some future hikes.  Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike in Port Clinton and along the Schuylkill River. Port Clinton Hike May 30 2020.


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson




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