PPL Wetlands Hike: What A Difference A Week Makes
The snow stopped late Saturday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It left a accumulation of about three inches of powdery, fine snow . Sunday brought more frigid arctic weather with a morning low of 4 degrees. I decided to return to the PPL wetlands in Salem Township. I arrived to find a much different world than my visit a week ago.
The woodlands were now a Winter wonderland. All of the ponds and canals were frozen and covered in snow.
I was surprised to find I wasn’t the first visitor on this frigid morning. There was a set of footprints in the newly fallen snow and even more surprising was a set of bicycle tracks. Some folks were up early. I didn’t see who since I did not see a single person on the 2 1/2 hours I hiked in the wetlands and river lands.
I saw no birds on the first mile or so of my hike. It was eerily quiet. The only sounds were squeaking noises I made as I walked on the frigid snow. The first sound of life I heard was the friendly song of the black-capped chickadees.
Of course the many reptiles and amphibians that live in the wetlands are burrowed deeply in the ground or mud at the bottom of the ponds and canals. The only mammals I saw were a few chipmunks and squirrels. Unlike during the warmer months, when they would bravely peer from tree covered branches, they quickly scurried to their nests high in the tree tops or underground burrows. . And I believe this is the reason why.
It was extremely cold and windy so I decided to walk back near the river trail. On my return hike I was able to some more color on the this cold gray day. This cardinal was fluttering along the canals. I also saw the mockingbird in the same area but it avoided my attempts to get a photograph.
As I was watching the ice flow down the river, I spotted a pair of common mergansers in the cold waters. As I tried to get closer for a better photograph, they flew off and so did a flock of about 30 of them. These two were in the rear of the large flock.
I was glad to make it back to my car which I quickly started and turned up the heat. It was nice to walk in the pretty winter scenery of the wetlands on the last day of the year. . I did get to see some wildlife. But I will readily admit, Winter is not my favorite season. Especially on such a frigid day. But even with the forecast of below zero temperatures, you know I will be back next weekend. I love the outdoors of Northeastern Pennsylvania even in the coldest weather. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetland hike. December 31 2017, Happy New Year!!!
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. Henry David Thoreau