Morning Mist And Sunshine: The End Of Summer At The PPL Wetlands.

Morning Mist And Sunshine: The End Of Summer At The PPL Wetlands.

PPL Wetlands (10 of 38)
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I awoke to clear, calm skies and a cold 37 degrees at  my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County on Saturday. I decided to return and hike in the PPL Wetlands, in Salem Township. It is located  about 20 miles  north of my home. When I arrived I found a cold mist  rising on the Susquehanna River.  The temperature was 35 degrees. It’s still Summer but it certainly didn’t feel like it.  I watched as  the mist  floated  above the river in the morning sun. Here is  a link to video of this peaceful scene. .

As I walked under the ancient oak trees along the river I once again  found the wetlands much quieter than in the Spring and earlier Summer months. The sun, which shone  through the mist,  is much lower on the horizon now and cast longer  shadows in the wetlands. 

This week I didn’t see any  deer, beaver or muskrat as I began my hike in the wetlands. . There were a lot of squirrels active on this cold morning. I saw both gray squirrels and red. squirrels scampering on the ground and in the trees throughout  my hike. 

This great blue heron looked like it did not like the cold as it perched on a log in one of the ponds. 

Nearby I saw a large flock of red-winged blackbirds migrating south. The many red-winged blackbirds that  nested in the wetlands had already left a few weeks ago. This flock must have nested further north and are on their way south. 

This week I saw more birds than I have the past few weeks. There were a lot of sparrows fluttering in the woods along the trail.

And a few goldfinches too. 

I missed a couple of good opportunities to photograph some wood duck I saw on my hike. . They were right in front of me but saw me before I saw them. I was able to photograph the family of wood ducks  that likes to sit on this log in one of the ponds.

And, as I was sneaking up on the wood ducks, a juvenile bald eagle,  perched right over my head, flew off  toward the river.  I missed a great shot but always enjoy seeing a bald eagle on my hikes. I now had photos of two of the three birds I search for on my hikes in the wetlands. 

On my way to the river lands area of he nature preserve I saw some wildflowers still in bloom including the ironweed,

and jewelweed or touch-me-not. 

The sun was now shinning brilliantly, casting shadows on the leaves in the woodlands. 

Some leaves were already changing into their Fall colors. 

It was still cold when I arrived at Lake Took-A-While. There was no one at the lake when I started my walk.  It was the first time I didn’t see aa fisherman since the Spring.  And there was no insect activity either. 

There was a large flock of cedar waxwings,


on the plentiful autumn olive berries

near the lake. 

On my return to the wetlands I was able to photograph the third bird I  on my list, a kingfisher that perched in a tree along the path. Like the bald eagle and wood ducks it did not pose long for me to get a good photo. 

The September sun started to warm up the cold morning air. A number of humans showed up to enjoy the lake. However there still was very little activity in the insect world. A few butterflies and this one damselfly were all I saw. It may be the last one I see until late next  May. 

Back in the wetlands I saw another great blue heron stalking it’s prey in the duck weed covered waters. 

It, too, flew off as I approached.  Here  is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the animals I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands animals September 19 2020 

As I ended my hike I knew that every week now I would have less opportunities to see and photograph wildlife on my hikes in the wetlands. So  I was satisfied that I saw the three birds I seek out every time I visit the wetland, the wood ducks

, the kingfishers

and the bald eagles. I didn’t get  the best photos but it is always a great experience to see them. It may be the last chance this year but now the I look forward to the display of the Fall colors which will be happening soon. 

Here is  a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike September 19 2020.

“Mist in the morning is Earth’s morning breath…”
― Nanette L. Avery



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