Cedar Waxwings And A Sign Of Spring At The PPl Wetlands
It was nice to return to Northeastern Pennsylvania after my visit to Puerto Rico. I have always said you don’t have to travel far to find the beauty of nature. I did see many wonderful things in Puerto Rico. There was beautiful scenery and I saw many exotic birds on my trip. But there is also so much beauty here too, even in Winter. And I went looking for, and found some, of this beauty at the PP Wetlands yesterday.
It was a mostly sunny and seasonably cold morning. The temperatures were in the low 20’s. We had some warm weather while I was gone and there was no snow on the ground. I immediately noticed how swollen the Susquehanna River had become.
The heavy rains and melting snow had it reaching the tops of it’s banks. As I walked in the wetlands and found most of the canals and ponds were still frozen. Even though they were now lifeless, they still had a unique beauty to them.
I heard a few birds in the distance, woodpeckers, crows and black-capped chickadees, However I did not see a single bird or other critter until almost a mile into my walk. I saw these two red squirrels scurrying through the underbrush.
I continued my walk to the river lands section of the preserve and frozen Lake Took-A-While.
I still wasn’t seeing any wildlife. I knew the water birds would be gone because the lake was frozen.I was surprised there were none of the usual winter birds commonly seen here.
This changed when I walked to the river trail. I first noticed a few woodpeckers in the trees.
I soon walked into a flock of one of my favorite birds, the cedar waxwing.
These birds are very social and can be found in large flocks, especially in winter.
They feed mainly on fruits and can be seen fluttering among the tree tops in small flocks in the summer. This flock was larger than the ones I have seen in the summer. There were about thirty birds in it and they were searching for the few remaining berries on the trees.
And as I have often observed before there were now other birds in the same area. I noticed that different species of birds tend to travel together, probably for safety, in the cold of Winter. I saw a few tufted tit mice,
and nuthatches in the same vicinity as the cedar waxwings. I watched the birds for a while enjoying the fluttering of the cedar waxwings in the trees over my head.
After observing this group of birds I only saw a cardinal and a few sparrows on my return walk. It was still a pleasure seeing the waxwings. On my return walk I looked for, and found this, a first sign of Spring. A skunk cabbage sprouting up in wetlands!
It is now mid February, and we may still get some frigid weather and snow here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but the sun is higher in the sky, and the worst of Winter is over. Spring will arrive soon and Nature will put on it’s greatest show of the year. And I will be sure to be outdoors and watch it arrive. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike including some more of the beautiful cedar waxwings. PPL Wetlands hike February 17 2018.
If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere. Vincent Van Gogh