An Osprey, A Mockingbird And Some Teals While Social Distancing At The PPL Wetlands
Social distancing has become a part of our everyday conversation here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the United States and all around our small planet. The corona virus has rapidly spread across the globe upending our normal routines, our economies and, for those living in the developed world, our comfortable lives. The virus has brought fear, sickness and death. And our best defense is social distancing, keeping away from each other. And we all must take it seriously. It is our best, and possibly only defense until a vaccine can be developed. Okay end of pontificating.
But, folks like me, who enjoy long distance hiking alone, social distancing is something I practice every week. And I did so again today. Fortunately, the stay at home order here in Luzerne County allows us to hike in our parks and on our nature trails, provided of course we hike alone, or as couples and maintain social distancing. So today, like many weekends I headed to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. It was another dreary Saturday, overcast with temperatures in the low 40’s when I arrived at the wetlands.
Like last week, the cool temperatures and clouds seemed to discourage the birds and other animals from being active. The only birds that seemed to enjoy the cool weather were the red-winged black-birds. Their harsh calls were heard as soon as I started my hike.
And, of course they water fowl that migrated back into the area didn’t mind the cool temperatures either. I saw the pair of nesting Canada geese that built their nest close to the trail. They were swimming on a canal leaving their nest exposed.
I could see only one large egg in the nest. I think the are a young pair and this may be their first nest.
I walked over to the water fowl pond and saw some more geese and a pair of both green teal ducks
and blue teal ducks. I was only able to photograph the male blue teal duck. There were also a few wood ducks and a kingfisher along the trails but they again eluded me on my hike.
I continued my hike through the wetlands, noticing some more green on the shrubs, plants, grass and especially the skunk cabbage.
These plants are usually the first to appear in the spring and they added much-needed color to the winter drabness of the woodlands.
The blackberry canes also were setting forth their first green leaves.
I hiked the approximately 3/4 of a mile to the river lands section of the preserve and followed the trail along Lake Took- A-While.
This is usually a good place to spot some wildlife and today was no exception. The large flock of cormorants where still on the lake, swimming together until they saw me. They quickly flew off to a more quiet location.
A great blue heron was disturbed by their flight and also flew off to a more private location in the wetlands.
There were a few robins in the trees,
and one of my favorite birds. a mocking-bird, singing in a tree near the trail.
I love he many variations of their songs and I listened to it for a while. It flew to a higher tree top but continued its lovely song.
Last week I saw a bald eagle perched in a tree. As I walked along the lake I saw a large bird perched in a treetop . I immediately thought it was the eagle. As I approached I realized it was an osprey, another beautiful bird of prey.
I watched it for a bit and it soon flew off, looking for fish in the lake or nearby Susquehanna River,
As I came to the far end of the lake I was treated to a brief period of some partial sunshine.
Even though the sun wasn’t out long, it is April and the sun is strong. Turtles soon appeared on the rocks and logs in the canals.
I started my return hike and saw a few white throated sparrows in the woods along the trail.
The clouds rolled back in as I walked back to my car. I again heard the wood ducks and kingfisher as I walked but they didn’t get near enough to see, or even photograph. And no bald eagles either. However, there were a few of my fellow humans, maybe a dozen walking along the lake.
Most were solo like me but there were two couples. All of us kept our distance. I don’t think I was nearer than 12 feet from any of these folks. We didn’t talk but we looked at each other knowing that, here in wetlands, Nature was unconcerned with the problems of us humans. I am hoping this crisis is over soon. For me I will continue to hike and share the beauty of Nature with the folks who must stay inside. But, again. I will, and I encourage all of you who read this, please follow the social distancing guideline, it will save lives and get us through this a little bit sooner. Stay safe my friends. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike April 4 2020.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
― Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
“If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.”