More Critters, And Signs Of Spring, At The PPL Wetlands
After my backyard, I think my favorite place to hike and observe wildlife in Pennsylvania is the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County. So last weekend I returned early to the wetlands preserve on Sunday in hopes of seeing, and sharing photographs of , some of the critters that live there.
It was another cloudy day, not good for wildlife photography, but it was warmers, when I arrived at the PPl Wetlands. Temperatures were in the uppers 40’s when I started my hike. Near the start of the trail I came upon the Canada goose nest which was not well hidden. Sadly the remaining egg was gone. The pair of geese were quiet. They did not greet me with their loud honking as they had in the past. I think they knew their attempt to raise a family had failed. The nest was in the open. I fear a raccoon, snake or fox may have raided the nest. I think they were a young, inexperienced couple and this may have been their first attempt at building a nest. Hopefully, they will be able to try again, maybe even this year.
There were a few wood ducks on the canals but they again flew off as I approached. The teals were not on the pond but I did see a few mallard ducks this week.
As I walked along the canals there were some breaks in the clouds. I hoped the warm April sunshine would awaken the spring peepers, turtles and maybe even snakes in the wetlands.
The song birds hadn’t returned yet but the red-winged blackbirds did.
Their harsh songs could be heard throughout the wetlands as they flew from tree to tree flashing their red yellow wings spots.
The warm April sun did bring out some turtles,
and frogs on the shores of , and on log in, the canals.
As always I made my way to Lake Took-A-While, hoping to see some waterfowl and maybe even a bald eagle or an osprey.
Unfortunately, not a bird could be seen on the lake. However, there were some sparrows, and
cardinals in the woods along the canal on the other side of the trail.
There were also some chipmunks and squirrels scampering along the ground.
I continued my walk past the lake and on the woodland trail to the river. Here I found another of my favorite signs of Spring, the first leaves of a native plant, the mandrake or may apple. These plants produce a pretty white flower, but it only last for a few days, some of the most magical days of the year.
I continued my hike on the Great Warrior Trail and walked to the pond and picnic grove along the river. I was out about 3 1/2 miles and a light rain, that was not forecast, began to fall. It didn’t rain long but enough to get me very wet.
As I made my way back I heard the loud song of this bird along the trail. I believe it is a Carolina wren.
Nearby was I saw a fly-catcher, the exact species I am not sure.
Some more signs of Spring could be found growing on my way back ,the purple nettles were flowering along the trail
and northern spicebush were bursting in bloom.
My PictureThis app told me this was catnip sprouting along the trail.
As I neared the lake, in the distance I saw the osprey perched on a tall dead tree.
Unfortunately the clouds and rain did not make for good pictures but it was still nice to see this large bird of prey.
I made my way back to the wetlands, scaring a few cormorants who returned to the lake.
And back in the wetlands I saw this fellow, a muskrat, swimming in one of the canals. It wasn’t happy to see me and swam away as fast as it could.
Well I didn’t see any bald eagles and the photographs I took in the poor weather conditions weren’t the best, but I was still glad to see a lot of different critters on my 7 mile hike. The PPL Wetlands never seem to disappoint in showing off its wildlife and natural beauty. It is the reason I will always return. Here is a link to a gallery in my website with some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike April 5 2020.
“Her laughter sounded like April showers, like whispered secrets, like glass wind-chimes.”