Once again the sun did not shine this weekend in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We haven’t had a sunny weekend in over a month. We had a heavy rain Saturday and it was cloudy here yesterday morning. The forecast called for some rain later in the day. So I left early to visit the PPL Wetlands hoping to get some hiking in before the rain.
Upon arriving at the wetlands I found that the recent storms caused a tree to fall across the entrance road. This wasn’t going to stop me so I parked my car and walked over it.
It has been two weeks since I was last here. I found the rains changed the woodlands around the wetlands into a magical world of green.
The heavy rains also swelled the Susquehanna River bringing it’s brown waters to the top of it’s banks.
There was a heavy fog in the wetlands when I first arrived making it hard to photograph the many birds I heard and saw along the trails, including some blue birds,
The paths were muddy and flooded in some areas. There is usually a trail at this location but it was now under water. As I tried to walk through the flooded path I noticed an unusual rock . I almost stepped on it but I didn’t recall seeing one here before.
Upon closer investigation I found it was the top of the shell of a very large snapping turtle. Good thing I didn’t step on him and lose a toe.
I continued my walk surrounded by the lush new green growth of Spring.
All of the trees had leaves now and many wildflowers were growing in the wetlands including the mandrake or may apple,
the exotic jack-in the pulpit,
the pretty blue flags and
my favorite the wild pink azalea. My dad called them “honeysuckles’ and we would search for them every spring.
I walked over the the river lands area of the nature preserve and again found my path blocked by a fallen tree.
I again walked around it and came to Lake Took-A-While.
There were a lot of folks fishing along the shores of the lake but I still was able to see this great blue heron stalking some prey along one of the canals near the lake.
I also found two families of geese swimming on it’s waters. One had a much younger family,
than the other.
I continued my walk along the lake and followed the Riverside trail.
There was new growth every. The young touch-me-nots,
and ferns provided a green carpet to match the green ceiling of the trees and their new leaves.
I followed the trail to the Susquehanna river and walked along it’s banks hoping to see a bald eagle or an osprey.
I didn’t and only saw a few birds, which were difficult to photograph in the overcast conditions. I was able to photograph this catbird,
and this red winged blackbird. You can see how they get their name.
I returned to the main trail and walked back to the wetlands. I forgot to mention that during my entire walk I enjoyed the heavenly fragrance filling the wetlands from the many honeysuckles blooming along the trails.
As I neared my car I saw a few more birds including a downy woodpecker, I think,
a red bellied woodpecker
and a number of phoebes.
And as I looked for turtles I noticed this muskrat sitting on a log.
He wasn’t happy to see me and jumped in the water swimming through the newly sprouted duck weed.
Although I saw, and heard quite a few of them on my hike, I was finally able to photograph a yellow warbler as I neared my car.. I love these colorful birds, especially early in Spring, when the provide contrast to the light greens of the new foliage. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL hike birds. May 20 2018.
The rain held off, and we would actually see some breaks in the sun later in the day. But the weather really doesn’t matter in May, Nature puts on an amazing display rain or shine. There is so much to see if you get out and keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL RIVERLANDS May 20 2018.
Spring dances with joy in every flower and in every bud letting us know that changes are beautiful and an inevitable law of life.”
― Debasish Mridha