After A Mild Beginning To Fall, An Early Snow At The PPL Wetlands.
We were experiencing a mild and rainy Fall here in Northeastern Pennsylvania until cold air arrived two weeks ago. And last Thursday we were surprised when an early storm dumped almost a foot of snow on our area.
I decided to drive to the PPL Wetlands to see how the early snow affected the wildlife in the preserve. Once again I found the gate to the wetlands and river lands locked. The parking lot adjacent to lake Took-A-While was still open.
I walked into the wetlands and found only a about six inches of snow on the ground. The lesser snowfall was probably due to the lower elevation near the Susquehanna River.
I walked along the canals and ponds, some now frozen from the cold spell. I was surprised this week to encounter many birds of a variety of different species throughout the wetlands and riverlands. There were numerous flocks of white-throated sparrows fluttering throughout the woodlands.
I also observed a flock of cedar waxwings feeding on some berries along the trail.
Many northern Juncos returned to the our area and now could be found hopping on the snow throughout the wetlands. Appropriately, they are also known as “snow birds’
I also saw a number of woodpeckers rapping on the trees of the wetlands, in search of insects burrowed under the bark or feeding on poison ivy berries.
I think they were both hairy and downy woodpeckers although I have a hard time telling them apart.
The wood ducks have left the wetlands, but I did see a couple of mallard ducks, and heard some Canada geese on the river.
I walked back to lake Took-A- While under the overcast November skies.
I heard a few red-tailed hawks in the distance and again encountered large flocks of the white- throated sparrows, northern Juncos with an occasional tufted titmouse
and red breasted nuthatch joining them in their search for food.
The early snow was blanketed by the many trees that remained on the beech and oak trees.
I walked about a quarter of a mile along the river trail when I decided to return to my car.
I continued to see the white-throated sparrows, woodpeckers, titmice, northern Juncos, red-breasted nuthatches, on my return walk and also encountered a flock of another common Winter resident in our area, the black-capped chickadees.
On the way I was treated with another surprise, some oyster mushrooms growing in the snow. They were on my table for dinner that evening. It was another enjoyable walk, even in the early snow, in the woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands November 18 2018.
“Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, O flakes of snow, For which, through naked trees, the winds A-mourning go?”