Woapalanne is said to have been the name of the leader of a band of Native Americans who lived along a significant stream in northcentral Pennsylvania. He is said to have participated in raids against settlers along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and was killed under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1779. The name has been translated into English as “Bald Eagle”.
Many features have been named for Woapalanne using the English translation: Bald Eagle Creek, Bald Eagle Mountain, Bald Eagle State Park, Bald Eagle Township and the Bald Eagle Valley. The creek runs through both the township and the valley of the same name, the valley is bordered by the mountain and the stream forms the lake in the state park.
Recently I took my cedar strip-fiberglass-epoxy version of the Nesmuk-style canoe the Wee Lassie (the canoe is for another post) and paddled the flat-water portion, and some of the bordering backwaters of Bald Eagle Creek at the head of the park’s 1,700 acre lake .
The stream is bordered by riparian forest and some wetlands; with the diversity of habitat, the whole area abounds in wildlife.
There were birds –
A pair of Canada geese with their goslings –
A great blue heron hunting in the shallows –
Common grackle fledglings seemed to be everywhere –
So too were female red-winged blackbirds, irate about a mysterious stranger near their nests -
This is the time during the year when young things are readily seen, a female mallard with her ducklings -
But, it wasn’t just an abundance of birds that made the area interesting. It was an abundance of forget-me-nots in bloom along the streambank.
And the yellow spatterdock flowers emerging from the water –
Even though the day was cool, several painted turtles were basking in the sun –
In a backwater there was a well-maintained beaver lodge. But the most interesting sighting of the day was a horned grebe that allowed a rather close approach –
That bird should be on its breeding grounds by now, not in northcentral Pennsylvania.