More Winter Weather, And A Bald Eagle, At The PPL Wetlands.

More Winter Weather, And A Bald Eagle, At The PPL Wetlands.

PPL Wetlands -4
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It was cold last weekend here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and even colder today, with the arrival of an arctic cold front yesterday. Temperatures dropped into the low teens this morning.  I decided, as I often do,  to again hike in the PPL Wetlands. As I drove the approximately 25 miles,  and neared the wetlands in Salem township, I spotted a bald eagle perched in a tree along the Susquehanna River. .PPL Wetlands -2

I pulled my car over to the side of the road and got the best photographs I could through the tree limbs. After about five minutes he or she decided to take to the cold skies, probably in search of a late breakfast or early lunch.  It wasn’t my closest encounter with an eagle but it still was, as it always is, a great experience. I am so glad the regal birds are making such a big comeback in our area. PPL Wetlands -8

It was mostly cloudy and cold  when I arrived at the wetlands and very little wildlife was up and about. The turtles, frogs and snakes that were making an early appearance during the unseasonably warm weather we had a few weeks ago were no were to be found. PPL Wetlands -8

I was also surprised with the absence of the usual birds that are common in the wetlands, the black-capped chickadees, juncos, and nuthatches. This is the second week I haven’t seen any on my hikes. I did see this flicker, also a year round resident in these parts,  perched  in a tree.PPL Wetlands -9

The flooding that occurred last week after the severe thunderstorms had subsided. This path was under water last week. PPL Wetlands -9

I walked along the canals which were mostly still ice free although  there was a new thin layer of ice forming in spots. It will get thicker tonight when temperatures are expected to drop to near zero. PPL Wetlands -13

I was surprised to find these mushrooms sprouting aside a dead tree. I usually find them growing in late April or early May. PPL Wetlands -3

There  were other signs of Spring too like the skunk cabbages now sprouting throughout the wetlands. PPL Wetlands -11

Many of the maple trees were displaying the first buds of the season. It won’t be long until more species of trees join them.PPL Wetlands -22

And I also found a flock of robins, another sure sign Winter is just about over. PPL Wetlands wildlife -3

I walked out to the river lands section of the preserve and again found this pair of common mergansers on Lake Took-A-While. PPL Wetlands -13

Near by where this flock of Canada geese. It looks like both of these  species of water fowl will be nesting in the wetlands this year. i hope they are soon joined by many more of their feathered friends. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Wetlands -15

As I began my return hike I found yet another sign of the early arrival of Spring, these first leaves sprouting  on an elderberry bush. PPL Wetlands -17

I made my way along the Susquehanna River, which still was very high from the recent rain and melting snow up river. PPL Wetlands -31

I love walking under the ancient trees that grow along the river, and as I have said many time in previous blog posts, I often think of the many  generations of Native Americans who would walk  these same  paths along  the Warrior Trail.PPL Wetlands -30

It was a different world back then. They say a squirrel could jump from tree to tree from the Atlantic ocean to the Mississippi River without touching the ground because of the dense forest that covered our country. PPL Wetlands -29

As I walked along the river I saw plenty of green plants starting their late Winter growth. it is always good to see the first green leaves of the new year. It was frigid yesterday but the sun was strong and I knew that there would be even more signs of Spring when I visited again. Winter can’t last forever. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Wetlands -16


“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations