Nature Walk with Brad Klein

Nature Walk with Brad Klein

Nature Walk with Brad Klein highlights the natural world in the Lehigh Valley. You’ll hear this occasional short feature, during WLVR’s Morning Edition.

Aside from being an award-winning journalist and producer, Brad is an avid naturalist. He leads popular nature programs for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and  the American Museum of Natural History. And he is a co-founder of the New York City Bat Group.  Brad loves the natural beauty of Pennsylvania and is excited to share the sights and sounds he encounters.

Expect brief seasonal stories of what can be observed on any given day. Birds, Plants, Insects, mammals, astronomy, weather, and even poetry will make appearances.

Click HERE to share nature sounds from your neighborhood.

Rara Avis!

Orange-crowned Warbler feeding at Sapsucker ‘wells’ in Leatherleaf Viburnum – March 22, 2021. Photo| Brad Klein / WLVR 

WLVR’s Brad Klein spots a ‘rare bird’ in Bethlehem’s Nisky Hill Cemetery. It’s an Orange-crowned Warbler. Not a flashy bird.  But for this location, at this time of year, it’s rare enough to stir the heart of any Pennsylvania bird watcher.

And it’s remained loyal for at least a week, to one small shrub on the slope that leads down to the Lehigh River, where it’s found a source of sweet plant sap to help sustain it, so early in the year.

Crows and the Mob

Crows Mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk, Jan 2021. Photo | Brad Klein / WLVR

WLVR’s Brad Klein spent days this winter tracking down an enormous evening roost of crows. More than ten thousand American and Fish Crows spend the night in Allentown’s 1st Ward, blanketing the trees and even the ground in places. But what do they do when they detect a predator among the trees where they sleep? It’s a behavior known as ‘mobbing.’

Where Do the Crows Sleep?

American and Fish Crows settling in for the night in Allentown. Photo | Brad Klein / WLVR

WLVR’s Brad Klein watches thousands of crows flying over the Lehigh River in Bethlehem. Always heading East in the morning, and West every evening. Which raises the question, where are they spending the night? He seeks out their evening roost, and finds over 10,000 of them in Allentown’s 1st Ward.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Birds

Adult Bald Eagle, Northampton Co. Feb, 2021 Photo| Brad Klein

WLVR’s Brad Klein, talks about the challenges of bird photography. Birds of prey flying overhead are particularly difficult to capture due to the problems of ‘backlighting’. But a landscape covered with snow can serve as a natural reflector.

Winter Green

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) Northampton Co., PA Jan, 2021 Photo | Danielle Gustafson 

WLVR’s Brad Klein came upon a small wildflower that stays green through the seasons, providing a splash of color all Winter. It’s called Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata). 

The Four Corvids

A Crow in flight. But which species? Photo| Brad Klein 

 In the Lehigh Valley, there are four species in the crow family, known as Corvids. The Common Raven, the Blue Jay, and two species of crow, the American Crow and the Fish Crow. But Klein says, you can’t tell the last two species apart unless they open their bill. Their calls are very different.

Wild Goose Chase

Tundra Bean-Goose (Anser serrirostris) 19 Dec 2020 Delaware Co. PA (photo by Brad Klein)

WLVR’s Brad Klein says that ‘birding’ can be very different things to different people. Some birders like to keep lists, others don’t. Some keep to their own neighborhood, some travel the world.

Some ‘chase’ rare birds. Recently, bird watchers from all over the region have been on a ‘wild goose chase’ to see a bird that almost never visits this side of the world. It’s a ‘Tundra Bean-Goose’ that recently appeared near Philadelphia.

Great Horned Owl

It’s always a treat and usually a surprise to find any species of Owl in the wild. WLVR’s Brad Klein, tells the story of coming upon a Great Horned Owl while going for a walk on an Autumn morning.

It was nestled deep in the foliage of a Ginkgo tree. He waited most of the day, until the setting sun illuminated the owl, surrounded by the yellow leaves that would fall over the next several days.

Cricket Tells the Weather

A cricket outside the PPL Public Media Center in the pre-dawn hours evokes memories of the Boy Scouts in WLVR’s Morning Edition host, Brad Klein.

Allentown Chimney Swifts

Photo| Zak Pohlen

During Autumn migration, thousands of small birds known as Chimney Swifts are spending the night in a large square chimney in Allentown. It’s part of the Francis D. Raub Middle School, and you can watch them descend into their night roost just before sunset, until they move further South for the Winter.

Thunder and Lightning

Lightning Over Brooklyn, NY (Photo by Brad Klein)

WLVR’s Brad Klein has tried capturing a flash of lightning using photography. This week, he set out to capture the sounds of a thunderstorm, passing through the Valley on Sunday morning. (Best through headphones!)

An Empty Nest

Sibling Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Bethlehem, PA June 28, 2020. Photo| Brad Klein

WLVR’s Brad Klein spotted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird building her nest about 8 weeks ago in Bethlehem. He returned most days and watched the two young birds grow up. They successfully fledged the last week of June. Brother and sister, the male has traces of what will become his brilliant red throat feathers.

A Good Bird

 Yellow-throated Warbler. Photo by Stacie Cantu

WLVR’s Brad Klein reports on hearing an unexpected birdsong in Bethlehem several weeks ago. It turned out to be a ‘good’ bird, a male Yellow-throated Warbler. The rarity has stayed in Bethlehem’s Nisky Hill Cemetery for weeks, singing from the tree tops and pleasing visiting birders.

Drink Your Tea-ee-ee!

Eastern Towheee. Photo| Stacie Cantu

Birding is not a purely visual pastime. It’s also about listening for the songs and calls that surround us. But how to remember hundreds of different bird songs? Long before there was audio recording, naturalists ‘transcribed’ the sound of birds. This one, the Eastern Towhee is said to call out, ‘Drink Your Tea-ee-ee!’

The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

June 10, 2020

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Photo | Stacie Cantu

It’s Summer, if not officially, at least for the birds nesting in the Lehigh Valley. WLVR’s Brad Klein presents the Summer sounds of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, recorded by Nancy Alice Wisser near her home in Northampton County.

The Night Robin

May 26, 2020

 American Robin (Photo by Tom Vullo)

WLVR’s Brad Klein reflects upon an American Robin that perches outside his front door in Bethlehem and begins to sing hours before dawn. Is he just an early bird hoping to get the worm? Or is he a grumpy avian insomniac? 

A ‘New’ Song from the Wood Thrush

May 20, 2020

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) photo by: Stacie Cantu

Bird watchers in the field rely on their ears as much as their eyes. WLVR’s Brad Klein recently heard an unfamiliar sound along the D&L Canal Trail in Bethlehem. It turned out to come from a favorite woodland bird, the Wood Thrush. But it was not the usual song from that bird.

Astronomy in May

May 13, 2020

See Mars form a line with Jupiter and Saturn in the predawn sky in March 2020. The asterism known as the “teapot” will be to their right. (Image credit: Space/com via SkySafari App)

Many evenings in April in the Valley, we had brilliant views of Venus in the Western Sky. But this week, the planetary show is around the waning moon. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will take turns being ‘in conjunction’ with the moon this week. They will appear nearby and share the same celestial longitude with the moon on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

The Dawn Chorus  

May 7, 2020

Prothonotary Warbler – Photo by Stacie Cantu 

May is the peak of songbird migration through the Lehigh Valley. Each morning at dawn, the birds practice their songs. A skilled birder can hear half a dozen species in this short piece.  

What are Birds Singing About?

May 5, 2020

Tufted Titmouse – Photo | Stacie Cantu

May is the peak month for birdsong in the Lehigh Valley. It’s mostly males singing… but what are they saying?

Goose Poop!

May 1, 2020

Photo | Stacie Cantu

Maybe you’ve heard stories of wildlife returning to newly quiet urban centers during the pandemic? WLVR’s Brad Klein has evidence that it’s happening… right outside the Station’s doors….

Peregrine Falcons Nest at Steel Stacks – Bethlehem, PA

April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

 Peregrine Falcons, the fastest predatory bird on the planet, are nesting across from the WLVR News studios atop the blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel. That’s where WLVR’s Morning host, Brad Klein noticed them flying about.

And so he reached out to Art McMorris, the Peregrine Falcon coordinator at the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to learn the backstory of the species, and this pair of birds.

They had previously nested nearby on a building known as the High House part of the Steel Stacks complex. But now they seem to have found a new perch, on the Northside of the Easternmost blast furnace.

Song Sparrows and Joggers

April 7, 2020

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). Photo by Stacie Cantu.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine strongly urge residents to wear washable cotton face masks when venturing out for necessities or for exercise.

WLVR’s Brad Klein took a walk along the D&L Canal Trail in Bethlehem and encountered this Song Sparrow, and joggers,  most of whom kept a safe distance.


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