|Autumn Foliage in Pocono in Pennsylvania
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Autumn foliage at Tobyhanna Lake in Tobyhanna State Park in Pocono in northeastern Pennsylvania. The
autumn season is coming. We drove from New Jersey to Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania on October 8,
2008 for a one-day trip to enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage.
The sceneries along the highways all over places in Pocono area are also very beautiful in addition to those
around the lakes.
Two more views around Tobyhanna Lake
A large and fantastic field of boulders in Hickory Run State Park in western foothills of Pocono Mountains in
White Haven, Pennsylvania. The national parks service declared this boulder field a National Natural Landmark in
These rocks are not small pebbles but are large boulders. Some boulders are as long as 26 feet. The field of
boulder is 12 feet deep! The boulder field was created about 20,000 years ago during the most recent glacial
period. The glaciers and the melting waters carried the boulders down from the ridges and into the valley where
they now reside. This area has remained almost unchanged for the past 20,000 years. The Boulder Field is
truly a stunning sight, seemingly appearing out of nowhere in the park's dense woodland. Many visitors cannot
resist hopping from boulder to boulder across the field.
The address of Hickory Run State Park is RR 1 Box 81, White Haven, PA 18661-9712, Phone: 570-443-0400.
From I-80, take Exit 274 at the Hickory Run State Park Exit, and drive east on PA 534 for six miles.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Hickory Run State Park
The huge boulder field is located in the northeast corner of the park. The boulder field can be reached by car on
the well maintained but unpaved Boulder Field Road in Hickory Run State Park.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of the Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park
More views of colorful autumn foliage along the highways
Many bird watchers on the North Lookout at the top of the Hawk Mountain near Kempton in the southern margin
of Poconos in Pennsylvania to watch the autumn migration of raptors.
In September, October, and November, during the autumn season, over 17,000 hawks, eagles, and falcons
ride the air currents and are funneled along their flyway over the Kittatinny Ridge at Hawk Mountain on their
annual migrations. Their migratory flyways in general follow mountain ridges and shorelines of lakes that
provide migrating birds with thermals and updrafts. Some travel thousands of miles to southern part of South
We hiked up to this North Lookout on the mountain top on September 20, 2008 to join the big crowd of bird
watchers on the Hawk Mountain.
Many of these raptors start their autumn migration in September even before the tree leaves turn colors.
Everybody brought bottled water, sandwich, fruits and snacks to eat and drink while watching the hawk
migration. Many of them were also chatting with each other to exchange their experience and tips of bird
watching. It was like a picnic party of bird watchers on the mountain top.
The Address of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529-9449, United
States, phone: 610-756-6961. Hawk Mountain is located north of Hamburg, Pennsylvania, approximately 7
miles northeast of I-78. It is on the Hawk Mountain Road between Eckville and Drehersville.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Some bird watchers at the South Lookout of Hawk Mountain.
There is a visitor center and a large parking area near the top of Hawk Mountain. From the visitor center and
the parking area, it takes about 10 minutes of hiking to reach the South Lookout. From South Lookout, it takes
another 20 minutes of hiking on a rocky trail to reach the North Lookout on the top of the Hawk Mountain.
After we finished bird watching on Hawk mountain in the afternoon of September 20, 2008 and were driving
away from Hawk Mountain, we saw this big "kettle" or "vortex" of many vultures circling up (or spiraling up),
and soaring high on a "thermal " which is a rising warm-air column caused when the sun differentially heats the
ground surfaces. These vultures were getting a free
ride on the thermal, like on an elevator, to gain substantial height without having to spend energy to
flap their wings. A 'kettle' is a concentration of many raptors swirling, spiraling, and criss-crossing in an air
thermal (hot, rising air). Many raptors spiraling up in a thermal do sometimes look like boiling bubbles in a kettle.
While we were on the Hawk Mountain, our friends and other bird watchers told us that, in the morning before
we arrived, they saw a kettle of many hawks circling and riding up a thermal. After gaining enough height,
those hawks then glided south to start their day of migration south. We missed seeing that kettle of many
hawks in the morning, but saw this kettle of many vultures near the Hawk Mountain in the afternoon.
These migrating raptors use a very energy-efficient technique for their long-distance migration. Each morning
around 10AM when the sun is heating up the earth, hot air rises in updrafts. Somehow the birds find these
"thermals" and effortlessly ride them up thousands of feet. When a few birds find a thermal, all the birds within
eye-sight distance see them going up and fly over to take advantage of that thermal. Soon there may be very
large number of migrating raptors streaming into the bottom of the "kettle" of raptors (they call it a vortex in
Mexico, which is a bit more descriptive). Once the birds at the top of the kettle sense they’re no longer getting
much lift (the air is cooling and no longer buoyant), they glide off in an extended squadron to glide south and to
look for the next thermal and kettle to get the next free ride again. They also seek out mountain ridges and ride
the updrafts created by wind along the ridges. The thermal-up-and-glide technique is so efficient that these
raptors seldom flap their broad wings (i.e., powered flight) in such long distance migration.
A movie clip of a kettle of much larger group of migratory hawks in Mexico can be seen at the following
The Hawk Mountain is on the summit of an Appalachian Ridge in Pennsylvania located along the
Appalachian flyway of Hawk migration.