By Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader
Hoopes Reservoir in Northern Delaware has been off limits to the public since 1971. It is a body of water created to be a back up supply of water for the northern Delaware area, with most of the water is pumped up from the Brandywine River.
Each year, the Delaware Nature Society gets permission from the city of Wilmington to access the land and take a hike. Today was our day!
The hike is rugged and there are no trails for the 3-mile length. Walking along most of the Reservoir, you feel like you are in New England, due to the areas of planted pine and spruce. There are areas of mature deciduous forest as well with large oak, hickory, beech, and black birch trees. Mountain laurel thickets shroud some of the slopes.
The going is rough in places due to fallen trees and thickets, but the 14 participants on the walk led by me and Sally O’Byrne managed to get through.
Along the way, there is an active Bald Eagle nest to look at from a distance with a scope. We were able to see one of the adult birds on the nest. It looked like it was still incubating.
Waterfowl were visible in the water today. The best was a pair of Red-necked Grebe, but we also saw a number of Pied-billed Grebe, Common Merganser, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Black Duck, and Ruddy Duck. We also saw a pair of Great Horned Owl and a Red-shouldered Hawk that was screeching at one of the owls.
This exclusive walk is usually given once per year by the Delaware Nature Society. We hope that you can attend our next one.