A Few Places to See Birds in Central Pennsylvania

 

 

 

Dale’s Ridge Preserve

 

Merrill Linn Land & Water Conservancy manages this property northwest of Lewisburg.  Take Rt. 192 about two miles west of Lewisburg to Strawbridge Road. Turn right. A parking lot at Strawbridge Road and the bridge at Buffalo Creek leads to a trail.  The trail passes through a large number of habitats, including riparian forest, a pond, a hemlock grove, a white pine grove, second-growth hardwood forest, farm fields, meadows, and mature hardwood forest. This diversity of habitat provides a large bird list for so small an area.

 

Montour Preserve

 

The preserve, near Washingtonville in Moutour County, is really a complex of many good birding sites.  Among these are the power plant cooling water ponds, known as the Ash Ponds, Lake Chillisquaque, extensive deciduous forests, pine plantations, old fields, and brushy cover. This area is, arguably, the best place in this region for waterfowl.

 

Take Interstate 80 to the Rt. 54 exit at Danville. Follow the signs to Washingtonville and then to Montour Preserve. The Ash Ponds are on the north side of the power plant on Creek Road; the nature center and Lake Chillisquaque are a couple of miles farther north. There are observation points over the lake and a pleasant trail encircling it.

 

Walker and Faylor Lakes

 

These public reservoirs in Snyder County are proving to be excellent habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and interesting breeding birds, depending on the season.  A trip to these spots can include a short hike into Tall Timbers in Snyder-Middleswarth State Park near Troxelville.  Here there is old-growth hemlock forest and unusual breeding species such as Winter Wrens.

 

To get to Walker Lake, take Rt. 45 west to Mifflinburg, turn south on Rt. 104 to the village of Penn’s Creek, and turn west on Troxelville Road. Just before you get to Troxelville, turn left at the entrance to Walker Lake. Faylor Lake is not far away between Benfer and Beaver Springs.

 

R. B. Winter State Park

 

It hemlock groves, extensive hardwood forests, and open water make this park a good place to look for owls, whippoorwills, many species of breeding warblers, scarlet tanagers, thrushes, vireos, and occasional waterfowl. It is also cooler here in summer than the surrounding valleys, so a summer morning can be a refreshing respite from the heat.

 

To find R.B. Winter State Park, drive about 17 miles west of Lewisburg on Rt. 192 until you reach the park. Explore all the roads of the park and the vicinity to find a variety of habitats.

 

Allenwood Game Lands

 

State Game Lands No. 252, at the northernmost part of Union County, is managed for wildlife.  There are many ponds and small impoundments, marshes and swamps, brushy cover, and second-growth forests. The “Allenwood Game Lands” as they are known, can be good for migrating warblers, thrushes, and waterfowl. This is also a good place to hear drumming Ruffed Grouse. Wear hunter orange if you visit during hunting season.

 

To reach SGL 252, drive west of Allenwood on Rt. 44. After about 5 miles you will cross the creek and come to a handsome dark brown-stained frame house on the right. Turn right here and drive to the “T” intersection. Turn right into the game lands. About a mile ahead you can park and begin walking the many trails. Be sure to check the ponds for nesting waterfowl in season, and listen for singing Golden-winged Warblers from May through June.