Colder, But Still Above Average At The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands..

Colder, But Still Above Average At The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands..

PPL Wetlands (25 of 46)
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After another week of above average weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania the temperatures finally dropped before freezing on Friday and we got about an inch of snow in my backyard. I decided to drive to the PPL wetlands and riverlands in Salem township on Saturday. Located about 15 miles from my house the wetlands and riverlands are  about 1000 feet lower in elevation. 

It was overcast with temperature  in the mid 20’s when I arrived There was only a dusting of snow on the trails. 

I walked to the river and there was still completely ice-free. As I said in my blog post last week this is very unusual for February. 

Last week there was almost no ice on the ponds or canals. However the arrival of the freezing temperatures resulted in layers of thin ice on most of the waters in the wetlands. 

But there were areas of open water and I again found pairs of Canada geese already paired up and setting up their nesting territory. They will be disappointed should, as  often happens, a late season arctic air mass causes the waters to freeze solid. The geese will have to move to the river or fly south.

Once again I was surprised to find little bird activity in the wetlands. There were a few woodpeckers searching for insects on the tree trunks,

some white-throated sparrows fluttering in the underbrush  and,

  a few cardinals singing in the treetops

Perched high in a tree top, a red-tailed hawk  let out a shrill call. 

Leaving the wetlands I came to the riverlands section of the nature preserve and once again found most of Lake Took-A-While ice free. 

There were still some Canada geese on the lake but much less than there were the week before. they were noisy. The males were fighting over the females. There was also a large flock of common mergansers swimming on the lake. 

Unlike the sociable Canada geese the quickly fly off  when approached. 

The sun broke through the clouds while in the riverlands but, as I made my way back the clouds returned. The temperatures remained near freezing which, for February are still above average. 

Another red-tailed hawk flew overhead as I neared my car. 

I also saw this yellow fungus growing on a tree, more evidence of the mild winter we are having. 

And I encountered a flock of these winter residents of our are, dark-eyed juncos. The mild winter is nice but I have a feeling we will pay fro it in March and April.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands February 8 2020. 

February is the uncertain month, neither black nor white but all shades between by turns. Nothing is sure.    Gladys Hasty Carroll

 

 

 

 

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