April Afternoon Sunshine At The PPL Wetlands.

April Afternoon Sunshine At The PPL Wetlands.

PPL Wetlands (19 of 50)
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Most of the month of April has been overcast with below average temperatures here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. On Wednesday  it was windy and cold. But we had some clear skies and sunshine.  I am working from home now and was bored. I decided it was too nice to pass up the afternoon sunshine so I drove to my favorite hiking spot, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. 

I have been hiking here for almost ten years now and have  come to know and love the trails, trees, flowers  and canals here.  Like I did in the woodlands near my home, before they were lost to development, I find much pleasure in visiting these now  familiar woods, and looking for the signs of Spring I have seen in prior years. 

And there plenty of signs of Spring along the trails. I first looked for the trout lilies, They are one of my favorite flowers in the spring.  However, their delicate yellow petals do not last long.  They only bloom for a few days so I try to enjoy them as often as I can on my hikes in April. I found some but  many had already faded. 

Nearby were these  cuckoo flowers , which I identified for the first time with my PictureThis  iPhone app. related to the bittercress family I believe they are a native wildflower. Please correct me if I am wrong. 

Patches of bluets grew along the trails.

And, as you may know, another one of my favorite spring plants. the lowly skunk cabbage continued to grow and unfurl their bright green leaves. 

Once again my walking scared off a couple of wood ducks. I  have been trying to photographs these elusive ducks for weeks. This photo of  one in flight was the closest I came on my hike. 

As I walked along on of the old canals I saw this great blue heron and a turtle sharing a log in the water. I was prepared to get a photo of the heron taking off as I approached but it quickly turned and flew in the opposite direction before I could adjust my position . Well I tried. Dozens of missed shots I take for every good one I get.  

Another sign of spring were the wild high bush blueberry flowers appearing on the bushes in the wetlands. I always envisioned, when I see the buds,  the warm days of July when they would ripen and I’d be out picking them. So many summers I has done this in the woods near my home and I continue this tradition here in the PPL Wetlands.

I left the wetlands area of the preserve and came the river lands and Lake Took-A-While. The trees around the lake are starting to show the reds and greens of the new buds and leaves 

There were no ospreys or bald eagles on the lake, only a kingfisher who again eluded me and a pair of cormorants swimming on the blue waters. 

Alongside the lake, another pretty sign of spring could be found growing on the trails, patches of pretty blue violets. 

Although it was sunny,  the temperature was only in the low 40’s and  a strong wind blew from the northwest, making it feel much colder. I had already walked much further than I planned so I began my walk back when I saw this bird facing the cold wind. I believe it is an Acadian flycatcher.  

As I hiked back, I noticed above the lake a large number of tree swallows were swooping over the waters snatching insects  while they were in flight over the water.

Walking back along the lake I saw a few red-winged blackbirds in the trees,

some male cardinals,

a crow 

and, of courses, a lot of robins.  

Another of my favorite birds, the mockingbird was feeding on the buds of a plant I couldn’t identify. 

When I entered the wetlands  again I had some shelter from the wind and it felt much warmer under the let afternoon April sun. . 

The warm sunshine also brought the turtles out to enjoy the warmth of the rays on a log. 

I stopped to check on the bald eagle nest and found it was occupied again so I am sure there are eggs in the nest. I’m looking forward to seeing the newest additions to the wetland family later this Spring. 

Although it was still cold, I enjoyed getting out in the April sunshine and was again rewarded with  some the opportunity to see, and share some beautiful wildflowers,  birds and scenery. 


Here is a link  to a gallery in my website with more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike April 22 2020. 

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.   William Shakespeare





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