More Ducks And March Sunshine At The Wetlands.
The skies were clear when I awoke early Saturday morning. I knew this meant more March sunshine and I decided to head to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County and look for wildlife. The temperature was a pleasant Spring-like 48 degrees when I arrived. As I began my hike in the wetlands I immediately noticed the buds sprouting on the red maple trees along the trail.
The sounds of Spring could also be heard. The chorus of spring peeper frogs echoed throughout the wetlands. And the shrill cries of the male red-winged blackbirds perched on the tree tops resounded everywhere as they loudly, and boldly, defended their territory.
I also saw a couple of wood ducks on the waters but they quickly flew off as I approached.
Looking for the hawks, eagles and ospreys that frequently visit the wetlands in the Spring I saw a couple of great blue herons perched high in the tree tops. I was disappointed again on this five mile hike since I wouldn’t see any of the eagles, hawks or ospreys on this hike.
There were a few more birds in the wetlands including this white-breasted nuthatch,
and this woodpecker, I think it was a downy woodpecker.
I took the path that led to the banks of Susquehanna River. I had seen kingfishers and wood ducks here the past two weeks. They weren’t there this week. However, as I sat and watched the river I heard a splash,
and a small flock of hooded mergansers landed on the river.
Now that Spring has arrived, instead of hiking directly over to the River lands area of the nature preserve , I have been walking along some wetlands on a road that leads to another area of the river. This week my walk paid off when I saw this pair of pretty blue-winged teals on one of the small ponds.
They breed in the interior of northern Canada and could migrate all the way to South America for the Winter. I love to find these long distance travelers on my hikes. I wonder if they were photographed by some nature lover in the jungles of South America. just a few weeks ago.
The flock of ring-necked ducks I had seen the last two weeks were gone. They were replaced by a flock of very active double-crested cormorants.
I didn’t see the kingfishers, great blue herons or large flock of Canada geese that usually are on the lake. it could have been the large crowd of people fishing and picnicking on and near the lake that kept them away. There was a lone male mallard duck on a smaller pond near the far shore of the lake.
And I didn’t see many of the Winter resident birds that reside in the wetlands and river lands on this hike, no tit mice, black-capped chickadees and only one woodpecker and nuthatch. I’m not sure where these birds were, but it was still a good hike, seeing the teals, cormorants and mergansers, as they pass through our area. I began my hike back to my car, as the March sun continued to warm the cool morning air. Although I didn’t see any more birds or other wildlife, I sure saw a lot of turtles.
The chorus of the Spring peepers also got louder as I walked through the wetlands. It was another great hike in the wetlands. I know I’ll be back again, hoping to see the eagles , ospreys and even the bears I have seen here before, but I’ll settle for the ducks and geese, or so many of the other wonders of nature I find here, walking with my eyes peeled. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike at the PPL Wetlands in the march sunshine. PPL Wetlands March 27 2021.
March, when days are getting long, Let thy growing hours be strong to set right some wintry wrong. Caroline May