Another June Hike At The PPL Wetlands.

Another June Hike At The PPL Wetlands.

PPL wetlands (24 of 43)
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After a rainy Saturday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I decided to take another late  June hike in the PPL Wetlands and River Lands  in Salem Township Luzerne County on Sunday. It was partly sunny when I arrived at the wetlands and began my walk under the now thick green canopy of the trees along the trail.

Swarms of mosquitoes and gnats greeted me as I neared the duck weed covered ponds and canals in the wetlands. 

Everything is so green now as all of the flora in the wetlands has reached maturity. Some plants, like the skunk cabbage, so green and alive a few weeks ago, will now start to wilt and soon  disappear. 

Others,  like the spotted wintergreen are just now starting to blooms or, 

like the wild sarsaparilla are already producing berries. This lowly  plant has many uses, including making root beer. Native Americans also used it for food and medicine. 

The milkweed plants,  have also flowered. These flowers will soon attract butterflies,moths and other insects. The pretty monarch butterfly will be one of the, it feeds exclusively on the milkweed plant. 

The common mullein plant has also flowered. It’s soft leaves  resulted in it also being known as the “flannel leaf ” plant. It is not a native plant and was introduced by colonist in the 1700’s. 

Unlike  my previous hike there was not much wildlife activity on Sunday morning. Again I saw and heard many catbirds

and red-winged blackbirds.  They are by far the most visible birds in the wetlands. 

I saw and heard the many sparrow, and warblers that also call the wetlands home but are now able to hide in the thick foliage. I was able to get a photo of this bird, I believe  a red-eyed vireo, capturing a caterpillar for breakfast. 

Usually I am able to sneak up on a great blue heron  and get a photo.  I saw only one on my hike Sunday, and it was some distance away,  so this was the best photo I could get. 

I encountered a few furry critters on my walk to the River lands section of the nature preserve including this red squirrel,

and this cottontail rabbit. The rabbit seemed almost paralyzed when I  came upon it suddenly.

I could see it actually trembling as I took these photos. I am sure it thought it was going to be dinner. It remained still,  hoping to jump and escape if I were a predator and made a move toward it. When I did it leaped into the brush escaping a perceived threat. Little did it know I wouldn’t harm a hair on it’s little  head. 

Clouds moved in as I continued my hike along  Lake Took-A-While. 

No eagles, ospreys or kingfishers this week. Only the now large flock  of Canada geese. The once  tiny goslings are now almost as large as their parents. 

I walked past the lake and continued my hike for about a mile on the Great Warrior Trail. Along the trail I found some raspberries ripening.

Day lilies, escaped from flower gardens, are starting to bloom, another  sure sign that summer has arrived. 

I walked out to the pond and  grove along the trail and started my 3 1/2 walk back to my car. 

On my hike back I saw a lot of dragonflies along the shores of the lake. It was getting late and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time photographing them. I hope to come back with my macro lens. 

I also saw this bird, I think is a young phoebe. I didn’t see as much wildlife on this hike but I still enjoyed seeing a few critters and the beautiful scenery and peace and quite of the wetlands and rivers. The only  thing I didn’t like were the gnats and insects. It’s Tuesday as I type this and I am still scratching the many bites I took home with me on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my June hike in the PPL Wetlands  June 28 2020

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”
― L. M. Montgomery


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