August 21, 1832
21 August: Last night Dreidoppel went out with our landlord, Wöhler, to hunt various kinds of animals. They left the house as soon as it was dark and took along a neighbor and his dog; they went to the Lecha Mountain and had the dog search. In the darkness they tramped through rocks and wild forest. The dog began barking, and after they had run about sixty paces to reach it, they found the air all befouled. The dog had caught a skunk and bitten it to death. The odor that the animal emitted because of fright was dreadful; in general, however, this has been slightly exaggerated.
Today I went up along the canal in the direction of Mauch Chunk. Tall trees border the bank of the Lecha, where the Ardea virescens likes to sit on roots and rocks. Trees of several kinds form this border: the oaks, Quercus alba, coccinea, tinctoria, obtusiloba; Betula; Nyssa sylvatica; Robinia pseudoacacia; sassafras; and others. On the embankment itself, which divides the canal from the Lecha, many thistles grow, at whose woolly seeds and red flowers the goldfinch (Fringilla tristis) is frequently found. One passes several locks, and at each one there is a guard who has his own house, which has been built here for him. From a distance one can already hear the blowing of horns from barges as a signal of their approach.
In the lowland beside the canal, there are thickets that are partly overgrown with wild grapes and hops; there were several kinds of birds here, such as the flycatchers: Muscicapa tyrannus, crinita, rapax Wils., and others; the cedar waxwing (Ampelis americana); the song sparrow (Fringilla melodia); the catbird, in limitless numbers; the fox-colored thrush (Turdus or, better, Mimus rufus). And the hummingbird (Trochilus colubris) was extraordinarily numerous on blooming thickets of Eupatorium, Solidago with its golden flowers, Helianthus or Rudbeckia, Clematis with white blossoms, and the Impatiens fulva with bright orangered blossoms. They perched on the dry branches of old hickory (Juglans) trees and preened themselves, but they were swift in their whirring flight as soon as someone approached their tree.[Page 1:62]
The view of the river was often very picturesque (the canal continuously runs directly along its northern bank). Tall timber covers its banks, and several small, extremely picturesque islands dot its surface. At several places fish traps have been built.
On a meadow with bushes beyond the canal, and in the adjoining fruit trees near several habitations
on the hill, many birds were moving about, including the splendid Baltimore troupial, which gleamed like a flame. On the very steep hills, a young man plowed with two horses and, in so doing, used the words so well known to me that one constantly hears during such work at home on the Rhine. Near one of the canal houses I crossed to the other side of the canal and, in the woods located there, climbed the mountains. But before I leave the canal, I must still mention that, in the rocks laid down to protect its sides and base, I saw several of the nicely striped chipmunks (Sciurus striatus), which calmly let me pass by them and were not at all shy. The cute animal looked most delightful when it sat or agilely ran on the stones. In the forest I generally found few animals except the redheaded woodpecker, the Baltimore oriole, the small downy woodpecker, and several small birds. The floor of this forest is almost completely devoid of plants because cattle graze here. It is covered with dry foliage.