After my first visit to Lake Ontelaunee last Saturday I decided to return to the more familiar PPL Wetlands on Sunday. It was cloudy and cold when I arrived. However, unlike my yard in Hazle Township, there was no snow on the ground .
There was a layer of ice on the canals and ponds in the wetlands. Not a good thing if you are looking for ducks and geese.
It sure did not look or feel like Spring. And it was only a little over a week away. The skunk cabbage had not grown at all since my last visit. And I didn’t find any other signs of plant life in the wetlands.
But there were other signs that Spring was near. The shrill cries of the red winged black birds can now be heard throughout the wetlands.
Many of the male birds in the large flocks I saw last week have now established their territories in the wetlands.
And they vigorously defend their territory from any intruders. I also saw many of our year long feathered residents, including a hairy or downy woodpecker,
a red bellied woodpecker
and quite a few cardinals.
The chipmunks and squirrels were also more active now. This red squirrel scampered across my path.
I continued on my hike and soon came to Lake Took-A-While. It was ice free. I wasn’t the only one who noticed. There were a few flocks of ducks on the lake including some ring neck and
The Canada geese that were establishing nesting territories on the canals last week moved to these open waters after the canals froze.
The common mergansers I saw a few weeks ago were still on the lake.
The cold temperatures and overcast skies sure didn’t make it feel like Spring.It is now only days away. Still, I enjoy being outdoors, and a cold day in the wetlands beats sitting inside. But I hope that the weather will improve in the next few weeks.
On my return hike I saw a few more birds including the pretty, but sometimes annoying, blue jays.
a song sparrow
and golden crowned kinglet.
I walked along the banks of the Susquehanna River on my return and found it still swollen from the rain and snow storms we have had.
I didn’t see any water fowl on the river but did see a flock of Canada geese flyingoverhead. Unfortunately they were flying south!
Hopefully the cold weather is only temporally and it is more Spring like when I visit the wetlands again. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the PPL Wetlands. PPL Wetland hike March 11, 2018
,“I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing robin, sing:
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.”
– Christina Rossetti