Ducks, Geese And Mergansers, The Water Fowl Return to the PPL Wetlands.

Ducks, Geese And Mergansers, The Water Fowl Return to the PPL Wetlands.

PPL Wetlands (40 of 50)
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It is the weekend and I again hiked  in the  PPL Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County.  It seems these wetlands always  reward me with some  wildlife sightings. They have become my favorite hiking  trails in the area. Although it was cloudy and a freezing  19 degrees Saturday morning, we had warmer temperatures and heavy rain this past week.  I hoped to find some open waters in the wetlands, and also hoped to see some Canada geese, ducks and other water birds on these waters. 

My hunch was right and I found most of the canals and ponds in the wetlands ice-free. 

And I also found  geese, ducks and mergansers. First I saw this pair of Canada geese huddled on the cold waters of one of the ponds. I have seen them there for almost a month now. The had fled when the waters froze about two weeks ago but are back and are preparing to nest here. 

On another pond I found a number of species of ducks swimming on the far shore  including what I believe was a scaup and female bufflehead duck. They photographs are not the best because of the distance and poor lighting, And  I am now a duck expert and once again had help from brother and his son Mike Jr. in identifying them. 

There were also hooded mergansers and  wigeons on the pond. The wigeons flew off as I approached. 

As I walked under the overcast skies I saw quite a few sparrows scurrying in the underbrush. I think this is a song sparrow but am not sure. I am not good identifying sparrows either. 

I am pretty sure this was a white-throated sparrow hidden in the brush. 

And, as always there were a few northern flickers,  downy and hairy woodpeckers searching for  insects hidden under the tree bark  in the tree tops,

as well as the friendly and noisy black-capped chickadees in the branches closer to the ground. 

 As I walked through the wetlands and toward Lake Took – A-While the sun briefly appeared from behind the clouds.  However it was still  a windy and cold day for late February. 

The lake was also ice-free and I found a dozen or so Canada geese on the lake and also a large flock of common mergansers. 

As I  photographed the flock, I observed the green/blue headed males,

pursuing the brown headed females. 

The common mergansers are skittish birds and many  flew  off as soon as I got near. 

I walked past the lake and into the woodlands beyond. Here I finally saw some mammals. This chipmunks was sitting on a log cautiously  observing its surroundings, and looking for any hawks or eagles that may flying overhead..

This young white-tailed  deer darted out from the trees ahead of me. 

The clouds thickened again as I began my 2 1/2 mile hike back. 

And I walked into a snow squall when I got back to the wetlands.  The snow didn’t last long, just long enough to remind me it is still Winter here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

The snow squall didn’t last long.  However the skies remained overcast. Near the end of the trail I saw the brown creeper darting up the side of a tree,

and this blue bird sitting in a tree tops.

Unfortunately the cloudy skies didn’t make the best conditions for photography, and I didn’t see and hawks or bald eagles,  but it was still another  enjoyable hike in the PPl Wetlands. And once again I was able to see so many cool critters on my hike. Here is a link to  a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands February 29 2020. 

“A goose represents the rebel in all of us and because they’re wild and free, they have a certain quality that shines out and makes us wish that we were not bound to labor in life, but rather that we could drift as they do with the seasons.”  – Paul S. Bernsen


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