Signs Of Spring At The PPL Wetlands In Salem Township

Signs Of Spring At The PPL Wetlands In Salem Township

PPL Wetlands (30 of 50)
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Just for the record, there are many beautiful places to hike here in Northeastern Pennsylvania besides the PPL Wetland in Salem Township, Luzerne County. Every weekend  I consider  visiting one of the many other  state and local parks and trails in our area. However, when the weekend comes,  I decide to  return to the PPL Wetlands , mostly because of my growing familiarity with the area and  the wildlife that lives her. So, once again,   I drove the 25 miles from my home in Hazle Township to the wetlands in Salem Township on Saturday morning.

Many of the birds and animals I have observed these past years hiking in the wetlands  return to the same place each Spring.  I have seen this eastern phoebe  (well I think its the same bird, it could be another generation) nest on the eave on the bulletin board at the  entrance to wetlands for the past three years. Two weeks ago I saw it gathering nesting material so it looks like it is here for another season. 

And now, with the discovery of the bald eagle’s, I have more reason to continue my visits to these wetlands. I found the nest occupied again so, hopefully, there will be another generation of bald eagles soaring through the skies of the wetlands. 

In addition to the nesting phoebe and bald eagle the are many  Canada geese nesting on the ponds and canals of the wetlands. 

The familiar wild flowers continuing to bloom on the trails. One of the first plants to appear  in the spring is the garlic mustard. The white flowers of this invasive plant are  now  in bloom. 

The flowers of  pretty trout lilies had already  faded.  I couldn’t find any still in bloom. They bloom for such a short time each Spring. . However, there were many wild blue violets growing along trails. They will continue to bloom for a few weeks. 

More tress are now putting forth buds and leaves. The  maples are one of the first,

and, in addition to leaves, the already have developed seeds, called samaras, or as we called them ‘helicopters’ or ‘whirlybirds’. I had a lot of fun playing with these with my nephews and nieces over the years in my parents garden. 

Of course the skunk cabbage continue to grow and how could I  had to include a photo of one of these  bright green  plants  that shout ‘Spring is here’ in the wetlands along the trail. 

The mandrake or may apple also continue to develop.

On Saturday I saw these, my first sighting this year, sure signs of spring the developing  fronds of the cinnamon  fern. 

Signs of Spring weren’t limited to the plant kingdom. There were plenty of song birds returning to the wetlands. I again saw a few blue gray gnatcatchers, 

red-winged blackbirds.

a song sparrow  

and a yellow warbler. 

Along one of the trails I saw a couple of young red squirrels playing in the tree tops. I have been seeing red squirrels in this area since I started hiking in these wetlands in Salem Township.. 

 I, once again,  tried to sneak up on the wood ducks. They like to swim in one area along the trail. And once gain they saw me before I saw them and were off before I could get a photo. However this song sparrow  wasn’t as jittery and let me get a photograph. 

Leaving the wetlands I walked into the riverlands and Lake Took-A-While, Once again there were many fishermen along it’s shores. 

And, at the other end of the lake, a pleasant surprise. The first Canada goslings of the Spring!  I was surprised because of the cold weather we have had this past month. But the geese still managed to nest and incubate their eggs. 

On the other side of the lake this tree swallow posed for some photos on a wooden nest placed along the trail.

These pretty birds can be seen swooping over the waters of the lake in search of insects. It was nice of this fellow to pose for a picture.

It was tine to start my 2 1/2 mile hike back. I hoped to see  a hawk, eagle, osprey , bear or some other more exciting critter. No such luck on Saturday. Just a couple of cormorants on the lake,,

turtles on a log,

some nice scenery in the wetlands,

and another sign of Spring. the unusual jack-in-the pulpit flower beginning to sprout. There were many places I could have hiked this weekend but I was not disappointed returning to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township.. I have come to love these woods and swamps. I am looking forward to returning next weekend. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photographs from my hike in Salem Township . PPL Wetlands hike April 25 2020. 

A day comes in the springtime
When Earth puts forth her powers,
Casts off the bonds of winter
And lights him hence with flowers…
~Dora Read Goodale, 

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