It's home to the great blue herring, osgrets and eagles as well as a number of warblers, black-billed cuckoos, phoebes, pie billed grebes, common yellow throats and willow flycatchers, to name a few.


It's home to the great blue herring, osgrets and eagles as well as a number of warblers, black-billed cuckoos, phoebes, pie billed grebes, common yellow throats and willow flycatchers, to name a few.
“We are very fortunate, in this part of Wayne County, to have these species”, Conservation Chairwoman Barbara Leo said at the start of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society’s (NEPAS) trail walk at Browning Beaver Meadow last Saturday morning.
The 78-acre sanctuary was donated to NEPAS in 1980 by Mel and Helen Browning. It is a wetland inhabited by beavers (hence the name), as well as a large variety of birds, wildlife, amphibians, reptiles and fauna.
This “best kept secret” of northern Wayne County is located a stone’s throw away from the intersection of Hellmers Hill Road and Hawley Road, less than one mile from the Lookout General Store on Route 191 North.
Armed with walking sticks, bug repellant, binoculars and cameras, a khaki clad group of about a dozen nature enthusiasts trekked off into the thicket after refreshments served by NEPAS.
Ribbon cutting
The first stop on the trail was a ribbon cutting ceremony orchestrated by President Kathy Dodge, Vice President Jim Sanders and Society Member Pete Snyder.
The new trail, aptly named, the Wood Duck Trail, will eventually loop the riparian zone at the mouth of the sanctuary and the meadow on the east of the preserve to connect with the second trail at the south and back up to the observation deck on the Hawley Road.
When finished, the entire trail will span approximately a mile and a half. The major obstruction at this point is a portion that has been flooded by the damming efforts of the beavers making it impassable. Once the beaver’s dam has been dismantled by hand, the waters will subside and the loop will be complete.
The amorous toads
Not far into the journey, cedar waxwings, with their bright yellow-tipped tails and pale yellow bellies were observed as the group listened to the call of the Baltimore orioles and the trilling of the mating toads.
Birdseye Speedwell lined the path as did trees dating 100 plus years in age as they approached a fern habitat and future home of an observation point on the trail named “Floyd’s Corner” in memory of local, Floyd Schnakenberg, a longtime supporter of NEPAS who had an affinity for this fauna. Educational signage, made available through a grant will be posted at each observation point along the trail.
The meadow
As the group emerged from the wooded area, a tree swallow could be seen skimming the surface of the waters as well as bluebirds flitting from shrub to shrub. A red admiral butterfly was spotted taking a rest on a stump along the water’s edge as this dedicated and knowledgeable band of bird lovers approached the meadow where the bobolinks nest and the meadowlarks can be seen.
The wood ducks
A bit further into the hike, three white tailed deer sauntered across the landscape and Leo cautioned the group to be as quiet as possible as they were approaching the habitat of the wood duck, which the trail is named after. The colorful female wood duck and her ducklings were indeed spottedat the current trails end where the beaver’s dam has closed the continuity of the loop around Browning Beaver Meadow.
Considered by some as the most beautiful of the water fowl, with their multiple colorings and bronze and purple sheen, this little family was indeed a sight to behold and a highlight of the tour. Hooded Megansers though not sighted on this particular day, are also known to inhabit the area.
The next planned guided tour of Browning Beaver Meadow will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 19. The Birds and Blooms-Floyd Schnakenberg Memorial Walk will explore this wetland sanctuary and allow visitors to observe breeding birds and get acquainted with native wildflowers too. The public is encouraged to bring binoculars and to wear sturdy shoes for this event. If you are interested in further information about this event, contact Joan at (570) 228-1704.

Audubon’s local heritage
HISTORY – Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society (NEPAS) was formed in 1971 in response to a Herron retreat that was being reportedly “knocked off” by developers near Wangum Falls. Its mission is:
“To conserve and restore our environment to benefit humanity, birds, and other wildlife, through education, action, and advocacy.”  It is a 501 (c) (3) organization with about 600 members.
FUNDING – The Audubon Art and Craft Festival to be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19, 2010 at the Wallenpaupack Area Middle School Complex is its major fundraising event.
Proceeds support scholarships to college students pursuing an environmentally related major and to youth and adult leaders for nature camps. They also fund environmentally focused school programs and organizations.
TWO SITES – NEPAS has two sites in Wayne County, Browning Beaver Meadow in Lookout and Price-Simpson Wetlands near Lake Ariel.
Events throughout the year include a Bald Eagle Field Trip with The Eagle Institute, an Annual Earth Day Celebration with short bird walks by Audubon, a Children’s Treasure Hunt for all ages at Prompton State Park and a Canoe/Kayak Trip on the Delaware. All events are free and open to the public, although there is a modest fee for the bald eagle and energy trips to help defray the costs of transportation and/ or entrance fees.
MORE INFO – A complete list of upcoming field trips, as well as membership information can be found at nepaaudobonsociety.org or by contacting them at (570)253-9250.