| Green Lane Park (formerly Green Lane Reservoir)
encompasses nearly 3,000 acres of open space in Western Montgomery County,
within an hour's drive of Allentown. An 800-acre lake and a variety of
terrestrial habitats make the park attractive to an impressive variety
of birds. In addition to the large man-made lake, there are two smaller
lakes, mixed mesophytic and upland oak forests, conifer plantations, Red-cedar
barrens, fallow fields, and a shallow marsh/meadow.
Begin your tour at the tennis court parking lot on Green Lane Road.
From the parking lot, take the short walk to Knight Lake. In early autumn, scan the wooded shoreline for Wood Duck. Flocks numbering over 100 birds have been seen here in recent years, along with smaller numbers of Green and Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, and American Wigeon. Wading birds include Green, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons and Great Egret are also regular at this time. Late in autumn, look for Pied-billed and Horned Grebes, Gadwall, and nearly any of the diving ducks. Hooded Merganser sometimes winters over in good numbers.
In spring most of the waterbirds already mentioned return. In addition, all six species of swallow can be seen here most years. During the breeding season, check the scattered shade trees for nesting Warbling Vireo, Orchard Oriole and Baltimore Oriole. Before leaving the area, be sure to scan the hillside north of the parking lot for Black and Turkey Vultures and hawks. (Note: Knight Lake can also be accessed from a small parking lot on Rte 29).
The center has an observation room overlooking a feeding station. Here one can find the expected mix of feeder birds, including Brown Creeper, Purple Finch (most years) and Fox Sparrow. While at the center, check the "Recent Bird Sightings" log and pick up a park checklist. The Nature Center trails offer decent woodland birding, but songbird variety is much better in the nearby Unami Creek Valley.
This road takes you past large fields and Red-cedar stands, and offers several looks at the lake. Noteworthy species to look for include Wild Turkey, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, and Prairie and Blue-winged Warblers. Just after crossing a bridge, make a sharp left turn on Ward Road and another left into a small parking lot. The deep-water area here offers good possibilities at any time of year. Look here for Red-throated and Common Loons, grebes, cormorants, and diving ducks in the proper seasons. Common merganser often number in the hundreds here during spring migration. It is also a good place to see Bald Eagle and Osprey.
The shallow area northeast of the parking lot is worth exploring between October and April. (Knee high waterproof boots are recommended!). The dense plant life here can harbor both bitterns, Ring-necked Pheasant (increasingly scare in recent years), Virginia Rail, Sora, Marsh Wren and Rusty Blackbird in the appropriate seasons. Sparrows including Savannah, Field, White-crowned, Fox, Lincoln's and Swamp join the numerous Song and White-throated Sparrows each autumn.
Fall and winter are the time to find raptors at Church Road. Scan the numerous fields and hedgerows for accipiters, Red-tailed and Rough-legged (rare) Hawks, Northern Harrier, and American Kestrel. Short-eared Owls can be found here from January through Marsh of some years. Scan the nearby fields west of the parking lot before dusk and you may get your owl(s).
Northbound waterfowl usually peak in mid to late February. Small numbers of Tundra Swan and Snow Goose usually visit at this time. Scan the large flocks of Canada Geese for rare (but regular) White-fronted Goose. Check any group of gulls for Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Iceland Gull, Bonaparte's and others. (Note: Birding at Church Road is best after 2:00pm or on a cloudy day. The morning glare can make birding difficult, at best.)
~ Kevin F. Crilley
From the south - Take the northeast extension of the PA Turnpike to the Lansdale Exit #31. Take Rte 63 North to Green Lane, at the junction of Rte 63 and Rte 29. Turn right and take your first left onto Park Road. Go a short distance and where the road splits (Hill Road to the right) go left on Green Lane Road to begin your tour as written at the beginning of this site guide.
To Report Sightings: