Spring was in full bloom at the PPL Wetlands yesterday. I wanted to stay close to home today, I still have some catching up to do from my recent trip to Poland, so I decided to hike out the local Rails to Trails.
It was overcast and a bit cooler today as I set out from the parking lot. As I began my walk I immediately noticed that there was no were near as many leaves on the trees. It seemed like the growing season was at least a week or two behind the PPL Wetlands.
I forgot that we are at 1750 feet above sea level and the PPL Wetlands are at 500 feet above sea level. The 1250 difference in elevation sure does make a big difference in the local climate.
Still there were many signs of Spring on the trail. The various species of wild violets were blooming everywhere. .
As were the wild strawberries,
and both the high bush and low bush, pictured here, blueberries. These flowers will produce the first blueberries, or, as they are known here, huckleberries, somewhere around the Summer solstice.
As I walked along the trail I heard rustling of an eastern towhee in the underbrush. These birds were a lot more common when I was growing up and we saw many of them will picking wild huckleberries on many a summer morning. Their call in unmistakable. They hop and flutter low to the ground in thick underbrush. I watched this one for almost 15 minutes before I was able to focus in and get this photograph.
I also heard some more rustling in the leaves near the ground and watched, again for quite a while, a small mouse scampering under the dead leaves and low lying brush. I tried to get a photograph but he kept darting out of view as soon as I got him in focus. It was still an interesting experience. One does not often see a mouse during the day. And while watching the mouse I did manage to get a photograph of another elusive bird, I believe this is an oven bird.
I continued my hike, encountering a few couples and families out for a walk as well as a few runners and folks on bicycles. I also saw this little fellow climbing atop a rock to get a look at me.
I hiked out to the picnic area near the Dreck Creek Reservoir and continued onward.
I was going to try and get to the pine barrens but heard a woodpecker and hawk near an electric pole line and decided to try and find them.
I walked down to Dreck Creek which flows out from the reservoir. I sat for a bit and listened to the rapidly flowing waters. before beginning my return walk.
I noticed, and smelled, the wonderful aroma of, many wild arbutus growing near the creek. I love this time of year. There is so much to see as the natural world comes to life after it’s long Winter sleep. Every single leaf has a unique beauty, such as these black birch leaves.
Or this blackberry leaf.
Or the young leaves of this scrub oak tree. I could spemd a day observing and photographing the newly sprouted leaves. .
So much new growth, it is an amazingly beautiful word we live in and Spring always, to me anyway, seems to make me once again appreciate it. . I continued my walk watching the newly awakened moths, butterflies and bumblebees flutter about.
And there were more birds, robins, crows, sparrows, mourning doves and this blue jay. Here is a link to some more photographs of some of the birds I saw on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-to-trails-birds-April-30-2017-
It was a long hike, with my early morning walk I had ten miles in, but I would have kept walking if I had the time, since there is so much to discover,in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania in the Spring. I will have to work tomorrow and the rest of the week but I am already looking forward to next weekend to explore places yet unknown here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Rails-To-Trails-April-30-2017-
“Never miss an opportunity of noticing anything of beauty …”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Walking