The Muck – Wetlands Birding Trail and Observation Blind
We stayed overnight in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania and, in the morning, I headed off to take another look at “The Muck”‘ a stretch of marshland along the Marsh Creek. This wetland is one of Pennsylvania’s IBA’s (a designated “Important Bird Area”). I had tried to get there the night before just at dusk but discovered that my timing coincided with train car shunting time and found myself waiting on the wrong side of the tracks while train cars were being shunted back and forth.
Now, in the daylight, I was back and had no problems with the train. The Tiadaghton Audubon Society has erected an excellent bird observation blind 300 feet out into the marshland with easy access via a graveled pathway.
Even in the parking lot, I was treated to seeing a number of bird species including White-throated Sparrows, Goldfinches, and a Catbird. In the nearby trees, a woodpecker could be heard but not seen. Photographing any of the various birds was going to be more of a challenge though as they scattered quickly upon my arrival.
I always carry sunflower seeds in my camera bag and today a small Chipmunk foraging along the side of the trail was the recipient of a few of those seeds but wouldn’t pose for the camera.
Since I wasn’t having much success photographing the live creatures, I decided to change lenses and photograph things that wouldn’t fly away on me. The wildlife observation blind is well positioned at the end of a built-up pathway that extends out into an ideal location in the marsh.
Although there is some tall vegetation close to the shore, generally the vegetation is short, or has been thinned out, thus providing excellent sight lines even while walking out to the observation hut.
While I was walking out to the hut, a Yellow Warbler was singing in the brush, a Common Yellowthroat was off in the distance and a collection of Canada Geese were landing in the open water. Red-winged Blackbirds were also there making their presence known and a Kingfisher landed on one of the overhead power lines where the lines stretched out over the open water. A pair of Tree Swallows were sitting on one of the bird boxes but quickly departed at the sight of this stranger with a big lens.
The blind at the end of the boardwalk is in good shape and well constructed with plenty of portals for wildlife observation. It was a nice sign to see that benches and stools were also present. It would have been easy to sit there all day and just watch the world of the marsh and its inhabitants go about their daily activities.
While I was sitting in the blind waiting for some of the wildlife to come close enough for photography purposes, a large bumblebee decided to entertain me as it sought shelter in the lee of the blind. It would appear in front of one window and then disappear and then show up in front of another window.
After a bit of entertainment trying to photograph the fast moving bumblebee, I turned my attention back to more stationary wildlife like the Swamp Sparrow singing strongly, a female Red-winged Blackbird sitting in the bushes by the path, and a pair of Tree Swallows resting on the overhead wires.
When I headed in to “The Muck” I said that I wouldn’t be gone long.
My time was up! Time to get moving quickly or risk getting shot! 🙂
Great Blue Heron
Chipmunks, bees, frogs, dragonflies, damselflies and various butterfly species added to the entertainment of less than an hour at this marsh.