Summer, And The Insects, Return To The PPL Wetlands.
It was Saturday, and, of course, it rained as usual here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We were lucky this past weekend, the first of this Summer. The rains ended early, by 9 a.m., soon the clouds departed, and the sun was shining. And I was off to visit the PPL Wetlands.
The woods at the Wetlands still have their deep green Spring color but there are many signs that Summer is here. One of the most noticeable was the increase in insects. The ponds, lakes and canals of the wetlands now had swarms of dragonflies and damselflies hovering along their duckweed covered shores.
I love watching them dart about, defending their territory, looking for a meal or looking for a mate.
There are so many species each with their distinctive colors and patterns. They are complex and beautiful creatures.
And there were also hoards of some not so beautiful insects, the mosquitoes, deer flies and gnats. I have many itching bites to prove it. There were also a lot more bees , wasps and some moths and butterflies. I think this is a common buckeye butterfly.
As I walked through the trails of the wetlands I founds many other signs that Summer is here including quite a few wild raspberry bushes which provided me with a few handfuls of delicious berries.
The high bush, or ‘swamper” blueberries are still green but it looks like they will produce a good crop in a few weeks.
A lot of the plants of early Spring such as the mandrake or may apple and skunk cabbage have already started to decay,
But, like everything in nature they are quickly replaced, They are now overgrown with ferns, vines and other plants such as the elderberries which are now in full bloom.
And these plants also are producing berries but I wouldn’t recommend eating them, these were produced by a large and old poison ivy vine.
Even though the waters are now warm, and, in most areas, covered in duckweed, a lot of the turtles still enjoy basking in the intense June sun.
As I watched the turtles I saw this green heron on a log, stalking some prey, maybe a fish, frog or young turtle.
I walked toward the Riverlands and Lake Took-A- While and saw a few birds along the way, including this shy and elusive a wood duck and a few of her ducklings.
The trees were filled with the sounds of the song birds but it is so hard to find them in the thick foliage, I am sure I walked under hundreds of them until I finally was able to photograph this yellow warbler.
I also saw many of the year long residents, the cardinals, robins, sparrows and this blue bird.
And of course the were the noisy red-winged black birds
and catbirds, they seemed to be everywhere.
The lake was not as crowded as in past weeks but still a few folks were trying their luck at fishing or enjoying a walk along it’s shores.
As I walked along it’s shores I heard the noisy chatter of a kingfisher. I have seen this bird fly overhead for weeks now but could not get a good photograph. Yesterday I was lucky, as it flew across the lake and interacted what looked like other kingfishers.
I checked the photographs when I got home, and, after cropped them, I discovered it was a family of kingfishers. They aren’t the best photographs but check out my next blog post to see some more.
I also saw a few canada geese with their goslings along the lake. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw at the wetlands yesterday. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-birds-June-24-2017
The sun was heating up the water and the dragonfly activity seemed to increase with the heat. I decided to walk back to my car and get my macro lens and try to capture the intricacies of these ancient insects.
I was able to slowly sneak up close to a few perched on a leaf or branch over the water. I was out for a few hours and the intense sun told me it was time head home. Here is a link to some more photographs of the dragonflies I saw. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-dragonflies-June-24-2017-
I made my way back to the car under the canopy of leaves and enjoyed the sun filtering through to the woodland floor.
There is no question in my mind, I love the Spring and Summer a lot more than the Winter and I am going to enjoy getting outdoors as much as I can these next three months, And I hope to share my adventures and photographs with all of you .Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-June-24-2017
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James