August 2, 1832
On 2 August, we left Freiburg at nine o’clock and drove to Bethlehem in a small open carriage made entirely of wood ⟨[and]⟩ called a dearborn. The day was very nice, very hot, and we saw very beautiful birds. The goldfinches (Fringilla tristis) and great larks (Alauda magna) sat in the meadows and flew up as soon as we approached them. Only after long effort did we bag one of these beautiful birds. They can be recognized by their white tail feathers; in addition, doves (Col. carolinensis), thrushes, many redheaded woodpeckers, chipmunks on the fences, etc. In the beautiful Upper Saucon Valley, thickets alternate with homes, fields, and meadows. Beautiful trees provide shade here and there along the way, and near a small pond we saw from a distance turtles sitting on the bank and on old tree trunks in the water. As soon as anyone approached them, they plunged into the water. In our coach we already had three of these strange creatures, which clambered about at our feet.
In the noonday heat, we and Dr. Saynisch reached the lower inn at Bethlehem, where we took lodging for a while. Here I found several curiosities of nature. Dr. Saynisch owned a magnificent large eagle from the mountains of
Mauch Chunk Nazareth, which had been winged there, as well as several other interesting animals. The young botanist Moser was still here. He had already assembled a significant botanical collection, especially of rare aquatic plants from the Delaware and the Lecha. In the afternoon we—Dr. Saynisch, Mr. Moser, Bodmer, and I—made a short journey by boat to the two river islands situated near Bethlehem, which are overgrown with tall shady woods. The banks of the river, or the southeastern one, at least, are overgrown with timber. The Mauch Chunk canal runs along the other one, and only individual trees are to be seen. M2Particularly Quercus alba, coccinea, obtusiloba, tinctoria, and tall birch trees (Betula lenta, nigra), Quercus prinus and monticola, etc. [Ed.: Quercus coccinea is scarlet oak; Q. obtusiloba is Q. stellata, post oak. Betula lenta and B. nigra are sweet birch and river birch, respectively. Quercus prinus and Q. monticola are no longer recognized as separate species; both are subsumed under Q. montana, mountain chestnut oak.]. The other side of the river, as well as the two islands themselves, are most picturesquely covered with lofty, luxuriantly leafed, shady forest. Aquatic plants: Nymphaea advena and still different smaller ones, several species of Potamogeton, also Vallisneria americana and Heteranthera graminifolia likewise grow in the river.
In the dark grove, we went ashore and investigated the individual puddles we found there in order to find turtles and bullfrogs (Rana ocellata). Of the former there are as many as nine different species here. We found excellent plants, including Lobelia cardinalis (magnificently blooming red); Lobelia inflata; Heteranthera reniformis; Euphorbia corollata, maculata; Schoenus mariscoides; the nice Rhexia virginica; Hypericum corymbosum; Houstonia caerulea; Acalypha virginica; Scirpus mühllenbergii, ovatus, capitatus, atrovirens; and a large number [Page 1:55] of other plants, including Monarda fistulosa (with reddish white flowers); Cassia marilandica; C. nictitans; Hypericum parviflorum, sphaerocarpum; Ludwigia nitida, macrocarpa; Cyperus strigosus; Mimulus alatus; several kinds of Pycnanthemum; Polygala verticillata; and others. The forest itself consisted of several varieties of oak, walnut, chestnut, sassafras, Cornus florida, Platanus, and a large number of catalpa trees, most of the latter merely shrublike. Thirty years ago this tree was discovered growing wild here by Mr. von Schweinitz, even though it does not occur in the wild state elsewhere in this area.
A thundershower drove us into a dead, burned-out Platanus trunk, in which ten persons could easily have found standing room. Here we found some river mussels (Unio? ⟨[——]⟩) and three varieties of freshwater snails on the bank, but tried in vain to shoot a belted kingfisher (Alcedo alcyon)M3As we discovered later, this was not an Alcedo alcyon but an Ardea virescens, which occurs rather frequently here on the Lecha and the Monocacy. When chased from the bank, it immediately flies into the branches of the tall forest and perches there on a tree limb.as well as a duck. The splendid Tanagra rubra, of which we shot only the greenish female, also eluded me. We also missed the Baltimore oriole (Icterus baltimore); on the other hand, we brought back some very interesting plants. During the entire evening, there were threats of thunderstorms; the air in our room was very warm; at nine o’clock the thermometer in my room registered 18°R ⟨[72.5°F, 22.5°C]⟩. Occasionally there were showers and a little lightning, but there was no continuing rain.