Despite The Cold Temperatures, Plenty Of Wildlife Activity At The PPL Wetlands.
We had near record cold here in Northeastern Pennsylvania yesterday . Overnight the clear, calm skies allowed the temperature to plummet to a frigid, and near record, 14 degrees. More like January than November.
I decided to hike out the PPL Wetlands again, with the intent to take photographs of the November scenery and the now leafless trees. I felt most of the migratory birds would be gone and only the year long residents would still be there. As I arrived I immediately noticed the one of the effects of the cold temperatures.The lush green color of many of ponds and canals had disappeared. The color is provided by the duck weed that grows on the waters in the wetlands and provides nourishment to the wildlife that lives here.
The cold temperatures killed the duck weed in this pond. Here is another photograph of the same pond taken only a few weeks ago.
Some area of the wetlands still have a thick growth of duck weed but, as the cold weather continues it will all disappear and I will anxiously wait for the first tiny leaves to reappear next April.
Most of the leaves on the trees have fallen, and,
are now covering the trails with a crunchy carpet of brown.
However there was still some color to be found in my hike in the wetlands.
As I walked through the woods of the wetlands I also noticed the lack of insects. I missed the sounds of the cicadas and buzzing of the dragonflies, bees and wasps but was happy the mosquitoes and ticks will no longer plague me on my hikes. But there was still some life as I first noticed this flicker high in a tree top.
And along the canals I heard the songs of the always active black-capped-chickadees. They will be one of the most common, and active, birds in the Winter here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They are a hardy species.
As I was observing the waning gibbous moon in the clear blue skies,
I was rewarded with a bald eagle sighting. It is not the best photograph since he or she was soaring high overhead but is always a wonderful experience to share a hike with these magnificent birds.
I continued my hike toward the river lands section of the preserve and encountered a few sparrows on the way. I am not good identifying these birds but I think this is a song sparrow.
I was surprised to see a few flocks of cedar waxwings still in the wetlands. I must have seen three separate flocks each with almost a dozen birds.
I also saw a flock of what I think are golden crowned kinglets, my birding friends can correct me if I am wrong.
And I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on a flock of house finches, there must have been a hundred of them. They like black capped chickadees are not shy birds and I enjoyed having them flutter in the trees and brush near me.
I made my way to the river lands and Lake Took-A-While and found a passing flock of Canada geese on the lake.
I suspect these were not the local geese that resided here all Summer but a flock from further north enjoying a rest before they head south for the Winter.
As is often the case had another unusual encounter with wildlife at the wetlands. While walking along the lake I watched a young deer, a buck, jump in, and take a swim, across the lake. I don’t recall every seeing one swim before.
On my way back to the wetlands, keeping my eyes peeled, I spotted this critter peering out from a hole in a dead tree,
either a downy or hairy woodpecker.
I also saw a few wood ducks along my hike and a few red tailed hawks soaring overhead. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands birds November 11 2017.
I will have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much wildlife activity on this cold November day. Usually November is the beginning of nature’s long Winter sleep here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. But, if you keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you will find on a walk in our woods. I love to find out so I will come on walking. And, of course sharing what I find with the followers of my blog. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike at the wetlands. PPL Wetlands November 11 2017.
“Eagle’s flight of loneliness soars so high
Around its sigh, no more alone the sky
Other birds remain away, clouds pass by
Between shrouds of life and haze sun rays die”
― Munia Khan