An End Of Summer Hike At The PPL Wetlands

An End Of Summer Hike At The PPL Wetlands

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Fall begins  next Saturday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so this was the last full weekend of Summer. I took a few short hikes looking for some wild mushrooms early on Saturday, and finding none, decided to visit the PPl wetlands in Salem Township  on the last weekend of Summer. 

The wetlands were still flooded from the heavy rains we have had and the Susquehanna River was still high and flowing swiftly. 

Although the leaves on the trees are still mostly green, they no longer have that Spring and early Summer freshness.  Most are blotched from mold and fungus infestation or filed with holes from insect activity. 

There are still many signs summer is ending. The high bush blueberries are  usually the first to change color from green to a bright red.

And the skunk cabbages,  mandrake and many of the ferns that  are found in the wetlands has deteriorated  or turned brown. 

Many of the plants are now producing their last fruits of the summer including the unique fruit of the jack-in-the pulpit.

There is plenty of pokeweed along the trail and this fruit is very popular with the local wildlife.

It disappears very quickly after it ripens. 

As I walked through the wetlands I did not see any turtles on the logs or banks of the canal. And the many dragonflies that darted throughout the trails were gone as were most  of the song birds. There still some insects and a lot of caterpillars including a woolly bear caterpillar.

and this white  caterpillar, 

and this black one.  I haven’t seen either  of them before. 

There were also a few bees, wasps and  yellow jackets.  One insect that was very active were the mosquitoes. There were swarms of them everywhere. 

I walked over to Lake Took-A-While where I saw this lone pied-billed grebe,

and watched this great blue heron stalk its prey. 

There were still some wild flowers in bloom including the jewelweed or touch-me not. 

There were plenty of wild grapes,

and currants growing along the trails. 

It was a warm day, temperatures neared 80 degrees. The trees were still green and appeared that summer was still at its peak.  I even smelled that heavenly aroma of honeysuckle in the air and found these late-blooming Spring flowers. 

 But it’s not Spring  . As shown above the wetlands have changed and in a week or two it will get colder and  the colors of Fall will erupt around us. I love the Fall but I do not like the long and cold Winter that follows.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike. Sepetember 15 2018. 

 “When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and, like a dream, glides away.” — Sarah Helen Whitman

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