Record Cold Temperatures Didn’t Bother The Birds At The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands.
I awoke to a record breaking 25 degree temperature and an inch of snow in my backyard here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday morning. Certainly not May weather. But it is Spring, the skies were clear and it was sunny.I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I decided to drive to The PPL Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township to see how the wildlife made out in the cold..
I wore Winter clothing for my hike but when I arrived I found no snow on the ground. It is about a 1200 feet lower elevation difference from my home. The temperature was still a frigid 30 degrees. However, the cold didn’t prevent the bright May sun from illuminating the newly sprouted leaves creating a green wonderland of color.
My first stop was to check on the bald eagles nest. The developing leaves are obstructing my view, probably to the eagles delight, but I was able to see the two eaglets peeking out from the large nest in the morning sunshine.
However, some of the plants, including the skunk cabbage, did mind the deep freeze of the previous night. I was surprised the leaves wilted from the cold since they are one of the first plants to appear in late Winter.
I also saw this easy to identify sparrow for the first time. I think it has to be a white-crowned sparrow.
This week, unlike my last few visits, there was not a soul at Lake Too-A-While. Not a single fishermen. No one walking along the trails. And, although I was seeing so many birds, wildflowers and new growth it was cold and windy. Temperatures were still in the 30’s I am sure.
I walked beyond the lake and onto the Warrior Trail. Here I saw a few flocks of the brilliantly colored indigo buntings passing through our area. I am hoping a few decide to make our area home this year.
I walked out to the small pond and private grove along the Susquehanna River. It is about 3 1/2 miles from where i began my hike. The sky clouded up making it feel much colder for my hike back. And I was walking into a strong wind. The birds noticed the absence of the sun too, it seemed, I saw much less bird activity on my hike back.
I walked back into the wetlands and saw a few phoebes perched in a tree as snow flakes fell around them. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photographs of the many birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands birds May 9 2020.
Nearing my car I saw these flowers along the trail. Honeysuckle blossoms. Soon they will be opening and filling the woodlands with their heavenly aroma. I just hope that the temperatures are more Spring-like when they do. I didn’t mind my frigid hike but it would have been much more pleasant wearing shorts with temperatures in the 70’s. Crossing my fingers for next weekend. But even if there is a foot of snow I’ll be out hiking, with my eyes peeled hoping to see, and share the beauty of nature. And here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands and riverlands. PPL Wetland May 9 2020.
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word Cat Stevens