It's A Different Look In The PPL Wetlands In December. But Still A Lot Of Birds Staying Around For Winter

It's A Different Look In The PPL Wetlands In December. But Still A Lot Of Birds Staying Around For Winter

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            <![CDATA[I headed out to one of my favorite hiking spots, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, this morning. Last time I was here, just two weeks ago, it was an unseasonably warm day and I saw turtles &nbsp;on the water and some &nbsp;green vegetation along the paths. It felt more like late Spring. Not today,.<a href=""><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-64031" src="" alt="ppl-wetlands-5" width="300" height="200"></a>

It has still been mild here in Northeastern Pennsylvania these past two weeks, , but we had some more seasonable weather these past two days, near freezing temperatures this morning, and the wetlands are finally looking a lot like Winter. ppl-wetlands-18

All of the trees have now lost their leaves. Even the stubborn oaks only have a few brown ones clinging on.  The lush green canopy of Summer now is an intricate interweaving of bare branches. ppl-wetlands-3

Some of the trees still had red berries clinging to them.ppl-wetlands-26

As  did some of the shrubs and briers growing along the paths. ppl-wetlands-11

And I saw quite a few birds scampering in these shrubs feasting on the berries or seeds of the summer’s plants. such as the black capped chickadees shown here and on the featured image above. ppl-wetlands-birds-4

I am not good with sparrows but I am pretty sure this is a white-throated sparrow. ppl-wetlands-birds-14

And I believe this is a song sparrow. ppl-wetlands-birds-20

This one may be a tree sparrow or a chipping sparrow, not too sure but please correct me is I misidentify any of the birds, plants or trees here on my blog.ppl-wetlands-birds-11

In addition to these  birds which remain here for the Winter, I saw a few flocks of these birds which are not Summer residents but stay here for the Winter heading south from colder weather to the north, the northern juncos or snow birds. ppl-wetlands-birds-10

I also saw a few cardinals. a woodpecker, and this Summer resident who decided to stay here and enjoy the mild weather we’ve been having, a robin.  Hopefully he will stay here all Winter. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw this morning.

I enjoyed watching the birds and spent sat for awhile near a thicket as they scampered about looking for food.  And I noticed this bright yellow object on the ground among the brown dead leaves, a flower! Yes it was only a lowly dandelion but it sure looked pretty amid the fallen leaves. And I thought of the Spring that will surely follow the dark and cold Winter that is in front of us. ppl-wetlands-44

And as I stopped to photograph the dandelion I heard a bird singing right over my head. As I turned this  bird, I believe a winter wren, perched on a branch almost atop my head. He was to quick to get a photograph at the close range but I did manage to capture this image before he flew off in the swamp. ppl-wetlands-birds-21

I walked along the banks of the Susquehanna River on my return and again felt a serene sadness as I walked under the leafless ancient trees. ppl-wetlands-46

Still I saw some plants still clinging to life during these cold short days of ppl-wetlands-42December. 

It wasn’t lush, green and teeming with life like it is in the Spring and Summer but still it was a nice day to roam the wilds of the wetlands, and, as always, I was glad I make the trip down here. I fear next time I come there may be a blanket of snow covering the ground, but i am sure there will still be many wonders to find in the snow. Here is a link to some more photographs.

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.”

— Charles Dickensppl-wetlands-13