It was a cold October morning when I awoke at my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne County two Saturday ago. The temperature was 34 degrees as the sun rose in clear, deep blue skies. I decided to return to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township to check out the Fall foliage and look for wildlife. They are located about 20 miles from my home. When I arrived I was surprised to find a thick cold fog rising from the Susquehanna River and covering the wetlands.
Standing along the banks of the river I saw a couple great blue herons perched on some rocks in the middle of the slow flowing river. A few unidentified ducks were swimming on the river but the thick fog prevented me from getting any good photographs.
Walking into the wetlands I found a lot more fallen leaves littering the trails. There was also more color in the trees and woods along the trail. The cold temperature, it was around 35 degrees, silenced the insects and frogs in the woodlands.
The song birds were gone too, having migrated south weeks ago. . Only a few woodpeckers, nuthatches
and sparrows were seen in the trees along the trail.
The large flock of wood ducks still remained on the canals and ponds in the wetlands, but, as usual, they flew off as I approached.
I didn’t see the muskrat or the large beaver on this hike. But there was a lot of evidence the beaver is still around, as can be seen by these trees.
Only a few flowers continue to bloom this late in the season but there were a few Drummond asters,
white panicle asters and
common blue wood asters still seen along the trails.
The duck weed also continued to thrive on the canals and ponds of the wetlands providing a dark green contrast to the red, yellow and orange colors of the changing leaves.
As I walked out of the wetlands and over to the river lands area of the nature preserve I saw a few robins,
and a great blue heron along the trail, but it flew off when I approached.
The fog began to burn off as I continued my walk along Lake Took-A-While in the river lands,
and soon the blue sky contrasted the fall colors found on many of the trees.
On the lake I saw this grebe swimming by itself, occasionally diving for small fish or aquatic insects. I belueve it was a pied-billed grebe.
There were still many types of berries remaining on the trees and shrubs along the lake, including the autumn olive or silverberry.
These berries provided food for many species of birds including the pretty cedar waxwing.
I watched a small flock of them feeding on the red berries.
My hike took me past tje lake and along the surrounding corn fields. The local farmers were harvesting they crop before the deer, crows, geese and frost did.
Walking back, the sun was now shinning, warming it up a bit. I saw a few more wildflowers blooming along the trail including these New England asters.
I was soon again under the canopy of large, ancient trees on the trails in the wetland and along the river.
Here I saw a flock of common mergansers swimming on the river in the sunshine.
The October sun now reflected off the changing leaves making for a tranquil and pretty Autumn scene. Once again I enjoyed my hike in the wetlands and I also enjoy sharing the beauty I found here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike on a cold October morning. PPL Wetlands October 17 2020.
“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn leaves.”