As July comes to an end, it is now mid Summer here in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet . This last week brought torrential rains and some flooding to my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I drove down to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township on Saturday to see how the heavy rains affected the Susquehanna River.
The river was high but not as high as I expected. It had been dry here the past few weeks do much of the rain replenished the ponds, canals and water table
I left the river and began my hike through the wetlands, where I saw this bluebird near the entrance.
Summer is at its peak now and much of the lush new growth of Spring and early Summer has ended. The leaves of the skunk cabbage and bracken fern have already turned brown.
I saw many signs of the beginning of the end of my favorite season, including the appearance of ripe blackberries along the trail.
Some high bush blueberries or “swampers” are still green but many have already ripened and provided food for the bears, birds and some humans. I picked five quarts last week.
The milkweed flowers are gone and have been replaced with seed pods,
and the pokeweed flowers are gone too, replaced by the developing berries.
The jewelweed or “touch-me-not” have also started to bloom. All of these flowers, berries and seed pods remind me of summers past.
I walked along the trail in the wetlands under the shade of the large ancient trees. It is always nice to walk under their canopy of leaves as the sunlight filters to the trail below.
I saw a few turtles sunning in the canals
and a few frogs on the many ponds and puddles created by the recent rains.
As I left the wetlands and came near Lake Took-A-While,
I saw swarms of these large wasp. They are here every summer and seem to be docile and never attack. I ran into the resident biologist on the trail and learned they are cicada killer wasps. These wasps attack cicadas in the tree tops, sting them and drag them into their underground tunnels. They lay eggs on the still living cicadas. They eggs hatch and feed on the cicadas. Amazing but true. You can always learn something new on a walk in the woods.
Nature had a few more surprises for me as I walked along the shore of Lake Took-A-While. I noticed this hawk sitting atop a utility pole.
And I again saw, and observed a pair of kingfishers that like to perch on the electric wires near the lake.
I have been watching these birds since they returned in the Spring, hoping to see them dive for and capture a fish.
Once again I didn’t see this happen but I still enjoyed watching these birds flutter from the wires to the trees across the lake.
I also saw a few goldfinches,
a blue heron,
a red-eyed vireo,
and a few of the year round residents, the black=capped chickadees. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands hike birds July 28 2018.
I also saw this large carp swimming in the now warm waters of the lake.
After walking to the end of the lake I began my walk back to the wetlands. The late July sun warmed the waters in the canals and pond bringing about a lot of insect activity including damselflies and dragonflies.
As I ended my hike I found a few poisonous amanita mushrooms pushing their way through the leaf litter, hopefully a sign that the mushroom season has begun. It is late this year and I am hoping that the edible species I gather would start growing after the recent rains.
As always, I enjoyed my walk through the wetlands. And I enjoyed sharing the beauty of my hike with my blog followers. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike July 28 2018.
“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
― Steve Irwin