Flowers And Berries: A Hot August Afternoon Hike in The PPL Wetlands.

Flowers And Berries: A Hot August Afternoon Hike in The PPL Wetlands.

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I got a late start on Saturday and decided to visit the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County in mid afternoon. It was a hot August afternoon, with a temperature of 90 degrees when I began my hike. I once again was surprised by the complete silence in the wetlands. No birds, no frogs, not even the cicadas were active. 

Adding to the unusual silence was the angle of the afternoon sun. The trails looked different in the mid-day sun. Shadows had changed position making for a different hiking experience as I walked under the sun drenched canopy of trees near the Susquehanna River. 

There was almost no wildlife activity on my three mile hike. The red-winged blackbirds must have left the wetlands. I didn’t see or hear a single one. No catbirds. sparrows or songbirds either. I saw a few robins and this cardinal and that was it. 

And there were very few insects active in the afternoon heat.  Only a few butterflies in the wetlands, I am not a  butterfly expert but I think this is a little wood-satyr butterfly, 

And this a silver spotted skipper. 

There were still some mid summer wild flowers blooming in the hot August weather including this pretty great blue lobelia or blue cardinal flower,

 the purple loosestrife 


and the potato bean or groundnut. 

As I walked along the canals I saw now wildlife. Not frogs, turtles , muskrat or herons.  It was hot and humid and the sultry weather conditions and the smell of the warm waters reminded my of the Florida Everglades. 

I left the wetlands and walked to the river lands and lake Took- A -While.  Once again no wildlife. 

Along the trail between the lake and the old Susquehanna canal there where a number of plants that have now produced a wide variety of colorful berries. again I am no  expert  but I believe these are silky dogwood berries, 

these autumn olive berries, 

these northern spicebush  berries, 

these gray dogwood berries,

these oriental bittersweet berries and,

 these pokeweed berries and,

these solomon’s  seal berries. Most of these will be eaten by the birds  and will help many survive the harsh winter in our area. 

The hot August sun, the humidity and 91 degree temperature  helped me decide to end my hike after only walking 1  1/2 miles. (I did walk 4 miles earlier in the day). On my way back to the wetlands I saw a few dragonflies. 

It was now late afternoon and the shadows in the wetlands were so much different than in the early morning. Leaves glittered in the late afternoon sun. 

It was hot and again there was little wildlife in the wetlands just this bird I can’t identify and

 this duck weed covered frog. 

I am sorry there were not more interesting wildlife photographs to share  but I was pleased to observe, and share, some of the subtle beauty of the flowers and berries in the afternoon heat in the wetlands. Here is a link to some more photographs from my afternoon hike in the wetlands. PPL Wetlands August 22 2020. 

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” » Russell Baker




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