July At The PPl Wetlands: A Muskrat, A Snake And A Lot Of Birds.

July At The PPl Wetlands: A Muskrat, A Snake And A Lot Of Birds.

PPL Wetlands (29 of 49)
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It was a hazy and hot day today in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My kind of  July weather.  I got off to a late start for my Sunday hike. I arrived at one of my favorite hiking  trails , the PPl Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County   around 9;45 a.m.  Temperatures were already in the low 80’s. However, it felt a lot cooler under the shade of the many ancient trees found  in the wetlands. tree lined trail  in wetlands

I noticed, as I began my walk, that the fresh light greens of spring are gone. The woodlands are still green, the deep dark green of summer.  But, some of the earliest plants to appear in Spring, like the skunk cabbage and some ferns, are already starting to turn brown and wither. Summer moves much to quickly. .

Although the many  wildflowers of Spring are  gone. there are still some colorful wildflowers like the native monkeyflower,native blue monkey flower

and the invasive yellow loosestrife flower. yellow loosestrife flower

The spicebush are now covered in green berries. These berries will turn bright red in the fall. green spicebush berries

I was surprised to find almost no mosquitoes or ticks in the wetlands. I usually  find swarms  of mosquitoes and at least a couple of ticks on my walks along the canals and ponds in July. cumulus clouds over duckweed covered pond

As usual the red-winged blackbirds,red-winged blackbird in tree

and catbirds made their presence known with their constant singing and chattering as I walked by. . catbird in tree

I saw a few other birds including, I think, a few different species of flycatchers. I believe this is an eastern pewee. eastern pewee?

This I think is an eastern phoebe.eastern phoebe ?

This one I am very unsure of but am guessing may be a Say’s phoebe. Say's phoebe

As I was walking along the  canals and ponds of the wetlands I saw this critter, a muskrat enjoying the abundance of duckweed now covering the waters. muskrat eating duckweed

I encountered an elderly couple walking  on the trail. I stopped to chat about the wildlife we had seen when I looked down on saw this black snake right beneath our feet. It didn’t like our conversation and scurried off into the underbrush.black snake on path

I followed the trail which continued through a small patch of  thicker woodlands. There are a few ponds here and they are filled with frogs. Most jumped into the water before I could focus on them but I was able to  photograph this one. frog on log

I walked into the Riverlands and  scenic Lake Took-A-While. It was a perfect summer scene. Some folks enjoyed walking the trail, others tried their luck at catching a fish and many enjoyed the picnic facilities for a cookout. cumulus clouds over lake

Along the lake I again observed a multitude of colorful dragonflies  darting about or perching on a leaf,blue-green dragonfly on leaf

twig brow-orange dragonfly on twig

or plant stem. black-blue dragonfly on twig

I once again  walked  past the riverlands and following the Susquehanna Warrior Trail. Here I saw a family of  red bellied woodpeckers looking for insect on  a tree trunk. red bellied woodpecker on tree trunk

The juveniles watched their parent show them how to find their own meals. juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

I walked out another mile, past the small pond and grove. As I often do I wondered about the parties and outings that were held here over the years. Judging from an old dock, this grove was here a very long time.pond and grove along trail

Temperatures now were in the low 90’s. I had walked out about 3 1/2 miles so it was time to turn around and walk back. I had less energy on the return walk. And the wildlife was also less active in the heat of the July afternoon. I still saw a few birds, including this cardinal. cardinal in tree

and sparrow, andsparrow in tree

a rabbit on my hike back in the heat. rabbit in grass

I also saw a few more wildflowers including this bee balm, and 

some milkweed plants that have already produced pods. 

I also found some blackberries which are almost ripe, a sure sign that Summer is moving on. It is my favorite season.  I  hope to spend as much time as I can exploring the woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania during this special tine of year, and sharing it with my friends here on my website, Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike, PPL Wetlands July 14 2019. 


I drifted into a summer-nap under the hot shade of July, serenaded by a cicadae lullaby, to drowsy-warm dreams of distant thunder. ~Terri Guillemets