A Mid November Hike In The Now Leafless PPL Wetlands.

A Mid November Hike In The Now Leafless PPL Wetlands.

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It has been over three weeks since my last visit to  the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County.  On my last visit the Fall foliage was still near its peak.  Not on Saturday when I returned. It is  mid  November and almost all of the leaves on the trees had fallen to the ground. 

 Some years there  would have already been snow by mid November here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not this year. So far it has been a mild Autumn with only a few flakes of snow.  In fact we had just experienced a week of near record breaking temperatures. However, a cold front moved in on Friday and the temperatures were in the mid 30’s when I arrived at the wetlands on Saturday morning. 

It was mostly sunny  when  I began my hike on  the leaf covered trail.  It is so different here in mid-November. In the warm months the wetlands are so colorful and alive. Bird song, frog peeping and croaking, and insects buzzing and chirping fill the air. On Saturday it was quiet and somber as I walked on the brown fallen leaves. 

However there was still some color as a few  colorful leaves still clung to the trees, shrubs and vines along the trail including the red oak leaves, 

the  blackberry brambles.

the yellow maples.

Although many of the berries had already been consumed by the birds that remained in the wetlands,  a few still clung to the bare branches including the common winterberry and

autumn olive. 

And, although it was quiet and there was a lot less wildlife activity in the warmer months I still saw a few birds as I walked under the bare trees in the wetlands. A few song sparrows fluttered in the leafless trees. 

and I saw what I think are a few pine siskins. Again, when I am unsure of an identification, please feel free to comment and correct me. 

There were also quite a few white-throated  sparrows  fluttering near the ground.

And  a few chipmunks and squirrels gathering and storing acorns.

Some clouds formed as I walked over to the river lands area of the preserve. 

Near lake Took-A While I heard a pair of king fishers chattering as they flew overhead but they didn’t get near enough for me to get a photograph.

As I walked along the lake I  noticed this mockingbird  on a tree branch. I believe it is the same one that returns every fall and remains here for the Winter. 

There were also a few cardinals 

and woodpeckers in the trees along the trail. 

There was still some green along the trail,  mostly a few species of fern including the intermediate or evergreen fern 

and the Christmas fern. 

Garlic mustard, a cold weather plants, also was growing along the trail.

I hope I am wrong on the identification of this  plant. It is poison hemlock according to my  iPhone plant identification app.   It is not a plant you want to  touch or eat. It could be lethal to humans and animals. 

In contrast to this deadly plant I found one last flower blooming on my five mile hike, a pretty wild New England  aster. It will probably but the last flower I see here in the wetlands and riverlands  until the Spring. 

Some more clouds blocked the sun as I ended my hike and returned to my car in the parking lot of the wetlands. Although I miss the abundant wild life and lush vegetation that I find here in the warmer months I still enjoy my cold weather walks here in the wetlands.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my  mid-November hike in the wetlands. PPL Wetlands November 14 2020.

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
― Thomas Hood

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