August Already! An Early And Quiet Walk In The PPL Wetlands
August is here. Hard to believe the Summer is half over. Spring, Summer and Fall pass so quickly for me, but Winter feels like it last forever. Anyone else feel this way? Anyway, I decided to visit the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County again on Saturday . I love this place. Usually so much wildlife. And I know there are families of wood ducks, bald eagles and kingfishers nesting there. I was as determined to photograph them as they are at eluding me.
So I arrived early on Saturday, around 6:30 a.m., about a half hour after the sunrise. A fog had formed along the Susquehanna River making for a calm, quiet and somber walk in the wetlands. It was strangely quiet.. Almost no bird song, not even the usually noisy catbirds and red-winged blackbirds. No frogs croaking and it was too early for the cicadas .
And the native pokeweed berries have turned purple, the ones that remain, although poisonous to humans the birds love them.
Another native plant consumed by birds, but poisonous to humans, Solomon’s seal, has also produced its black- blue berries.
My quiet walk in the wetlands ended when I approached a small pond I finally saw some young wood ducks. A family of the ducks was swimming on the pond but, by the time I could aim my camera , noisily flew off. I was only able to capture a photo of two of the young ducklings, and not the best in the foggy conditions.
As I left the woodlands, although it was a peaceful walk under the green canopy of ancient trees along the green duck wood covered ponds, I was disappointed at the complete lack of any wildlife activity. No beavers, muskrats, deer, squirrels chipmunks, no dragonflies bees or wasps, no frogs or turtles. No eagles, egrets herons or other birds. Only me and the mosquitoes. Still a nice place to walk and ponder the mysteries of life. And I did.
And they were joined by the native evening primrose. This pretty yellow flower blooms at night and was valued by the Native Americans fro both food and medicine.
It was still early so I decided to continue my walk past the lake and along the Susquehanna Warrior Trail. In the Spring I see many species of migratory songbirds in this area. And near the pond along the trail. On Saturday nothing.
of interesting wasps. Dragonflies soon appeared too. I am guessing the fog and humidity overnight may dampen the wings of the insects and they need the sun to dry them before they can fly. Only a theory, and any comments would be appreciated.
The insects were also active here. Dragonflies were darting about and the sound of the cicadas now filled the wetlands. Here is a link to a YouTube video of the relaxing music of the cicadas. https://youtu.be/zYEyUNWpT8g
As walked through the wetlands I still didn’t see a single red-winged blackbird. Not one on my eight mile hike. They may have already started their southward migration. I did see one catbird, far less then the dozens I usually see and hear.
Both flew off as I approached. It was now afternoon and the temperatures reached the upper 80’s. The wetlands had come to life in the heat but I was to hot, hungry and thirsty to continue my hike. I didn’t get the photos I wanted but it was still an enjoyable August walk in the wetlands. Summer is half over and I am going to enjoy every day we have left. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photographs from my early August hike. PPL Wetlands 8-8-2020
The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, lke the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. Natalie Babbitt