Bitterly Cold Arctic Air Arrives For Christmas. A Couple Of Frigid Walks in the Wetlands
Frigid arctic air arrived here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Christmas Eve. It was -4 degrees on Saturday morning with a steady 25 mph wind with higher gusts at my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County. There were wind-chills warnings but I had to see how the frigid air affected Susquehanna Wetlands and the critters that live there. The temperature at the wetlands was a mild 1 degree when I arrived in Salem Township. . The winds were still howling over 20 mph and it was not a pleasant day for a hike.
The strong winds had brought down a lot of trees branches on, and along, the trail. As I walked down to the river I saw a Coopers hawk feeding on a mouse or a chipmunk. However, because of the arctic cold I couldn’t focus my camera quick enough to get a photo. The hawk would be one of the few critters I would see on my 4 mile hike.
When I got to Lake Took-A-While I felt the full fury of the arctic wind. They howled across the open lake. I immediately made the decision e to return to the wetlands where the trees provided some shelter from the furious winds.
On the way back I saw a great blue heron huddled in a mass of feathers trying to stay warm in the wind and cold. It would have made a great photo but, again, the cold prevented me from adjusting my camera and the heron heard me and flew off toward the river.
It was a long, cold walk back to my Jeep. I really was exhausted walking in the wind and frigid temperatures. It was a challenge but I always said, if you walk on the coldest and hottest days of the year, everything in between is easy. And to celebrate my hike, I had to make this snow angel . Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my hike in the arctic conditions. Susquehanna Wetlands December 24 2022.
Arctic temperatures remained in our area on Christmas Day , I hiked near my home in Hazle Township. On Monday the temperatures warmed a bit and I decided to return to the wetlands. It was a mild 9 degrees when I arrived. I walked to the Susquehanna River and found that there were now huge chunks of ice floating in the river.
As I walked into the wetlands I noticed I was the only set of footprints. I thought I was the only one fool enough to hike in these arctic temperatures when I came across another set of footprints in the snow. Someone else was either brave or dumb enough to challenge polar weather conditions.
There were no birds active as I began my walk. I was surprised when I saw this American robin perched in a tree along the trail. Some robins remain in the wetlands in the Winter but usually leave when the waters freeze.
I also saw a lot of black-capped chickadees as a continued my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds December 26 2022.
The weather is supposed to warm up for the New Year. I am already looking forward to seeing what the warmer weather will bring to the wetlands Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike Susquehanna Wetlands December 26 2022.
The cold cut like a many bladed knife.Israel Zangwill