After my long, hot hike in the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township on Saturday I decided to visit again on Sunday. This time I was there early, around 7 a.m. in order to avoid the afternoon heat. And I hoped to capture some images of the wildlife in the morning coolness.
Temperatures were in the mid 60’s and a mist surrounded the wetlands and Lake Took-A-While. I again parked near the lake and walked into the wetlands. The early morning sun started to burn off the fog and filtered through the trees of the woodlands. It is a magical time of day.
Even the hawkweed flower buds looked beautiful glowing in the morning sunlight.
Having arrived much earlier than my usual time I did see a few rabbits scampering through the underbrush. They usual stay hidden during the day.
And my early arrival also rewarded me with my first observation of wood duck ducklings. I knew there were a number of mating pairs in the woodlands but this was the first sighting of their offspring. A fleeting sighting it was too, they quickly swam to cover in some reeds.
As I walked on the trail I spotted this beautiful cardinal-flower. I love how their brilliant red color stands out in the green vegetation of the wetlands.
I saw a green heron perched on a log in one of the ponds.
And I saw a sparrow, I think it is a song sparrow, that landed in a tree right along the trail.
It allowed me to take plenty of close up photographs as it sit and sang in the morning sunshine.
There were also a flock of goldfinches fluttering above on of the canals. This is colorful male,
And this the female. Beautiful birds they are.
Once again I followed the trail along the Susquehanna river back to the river lands. I was hoping to see an eagle in one of the trees at this early hour but I didn’t see any wildlife along the river trail.
As I neared the riverlands I encountered this fledgling robin on the ground. It was having a difficult time trying to fly until I got very close. It then figured out hot to take to the skies and quickly flew away.
I observed a few monkey flowers along the trail.
As well as the leaves of the jewel weed illuminated by the morning sun,
Even the poison ivy looked pretty in the morning sunshine.
The sun rose higher in the sky quickly warming the cool air and burning off the mist from Lake Took-A-While. It was now around 10 a.m and the skies were sunny when I returned to the lake
I continued my hike past the lake on to the Susquehanna Warrior Trail. Here I again saw some song birds including an indigo bunting.
And a rose breasted grosbeak.
I walked out a mile and returned to the lake. It was now almost noon. There were no dragonflies in the cool morning air but they were now active again darting above the lake or resting on a twig.
The nest of cicada killer wasps I saw on Sunday were also active, buzzing about harmlessly as I walked past the nest.
I had hiked almost 9 miles now, The temperature was near 90 degrees so I was glad I got most of my hiking in the cool of the morning. I was tired, thirsty and hungry,
I had hoped to see more wildlife, I always do, but I was content enjoy the early Summer morning at the wetlands and riverlands. It never disappoints. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike. PPL Wetlands July 28 2o19.
“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer.” —Jenny Han,