Autumn Slowly Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

Autumn Slowly Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

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Autumn colors are late this year here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most years the woods would be  aflame in brilliant reds, yellow  and browns, or various shades of these colors. Not this year. A warm and wet  September has kept our trees  mostly green.  trees turning colors on path

However, there were some colors emerging and some  hints of Autumn when I visited the PPL Wetlands on Saturday morning, including many of the sumac trees. These trees are one of the first to turn a bright red,red leaves

as do the red maples. red maple leaves

The recent rains continued to swell the Susquehanna River  as well as the canals and ponds in the wetlands. However the cooler temperatures we have had the past few night have ended the swarms of mosquitoes that plagued the wetlands all summer.Susquehanna River

Also missing in the wetlands were  the songs of the birds, frogs and insects. For the first mile or so of my hike I did not see or hear a bird. This changed when I walked into a flock of what, I think, are some species of  warblers, foraging among the poison ivy vines and shrubs. bird eating poison ivy berries

I also found a few of these honey mushrooms (or as they are known in these parts, popinkis or stumpers). It was a good thing I did not reach for them, as, on closer inspection I noticed they were growing among some poison ivy vines. I wondered if they could still be eaten growing so close to poison ivy. I didn’t pick them to try to find out. honey mushrooms near poison ivy

I also found a nice cluster of puff-ball mushrooms which are also edible. However, they were too old and water-soaked to be eaten .puff ball mushrooms on tree trunk

I continued my walk to the river lands section of the nature preserve and past Lake Took-A-While. 

Here I found large flocks of robins,robin in grass

and red winged blackbirds also gathering for their journey winged blackbird on branch

And one great blue heron perched along the shore of the lake.great blue heron

The light drizzle that was falling ended and there were some breaks in the clouds to the north and east as I continued my hike.  However the clouds moved back in and it remained overcast for the remainder of my walk. 

Many of the once lush green ferns had now turned yellow or brown.yellow ferns

And there were many fruits and berried remaining on the plants,including these red berries, 

and these berries of the solomonn seal.solomon seal berries

As I began my walk back to my car, I heard this noisy bird in the trees. It flew from tree to tree singing loudly. I believe it is a Carolina wren.Carolina wren

I also saw a similar bird nearby,  but I think it is a marsh or sedge wren. marsh or sedge wren

And there were many of this gregarious birds flying about, the black-capped chickadee. These birds will remain in the wetlands throughout the Winter months. Here is a link to some more photographs of birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands birds October 13 2018.  black-capped chickadee

The skies remained overcast on my walk back. Other than a few chipmunks and squirrels I didn’t see any more critters  along the way.  And I’m sure there will be even fewer critters, and leaves on the trees, on my next visit.  Soon the wetlands will be beginning their long Winter sleep. The cycle of nature continues, as it should Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike October 13 2018. duck weed covered pond

“Autumn colors remind us we are all one dancing in the wind.” 
― Lorin Morgan-Richardsbright red leaves

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