More Snow And Clouds At The PPL Wetlands
Last Sunday I again awoke to find above freezing temperatures here at my home in Hazle Township. It was, for January, a mild 34 degrees. After my usual early morning walk through my neighborhood, I decided to visit the PPL Wetlands and check out the Susquehanna River. The temperature was now 40 degrees.
Usually it is a few degrees warmer at the wetlands. But, like the day before at the Lehigh River, I found it was much colder than at my home at a much higher elevation. The temperature was 25 degrees when I arrived. The river was mostly ice free but there were still over six inches of snow on the ground.
Contrary to the predictions of mild weather, a wintery walk it would be.
The snow and thick cloud cover made it a dreary white and gray world. So different from the many colors found in the wetlands in Spring, Summer and Fall.
The drab colors made even the dead dry leaves still clinging to the beech trees
The red winter berries also provided a little color.
As did the bluish berries remaining on the briars.
There were a few flocks of birds fluttering in the higher tree branches. It was hard for me to identify them or get good photographs in the dim white sky. I think they were black-capped chickadees and juncos. I was able to get a photograph of this nuthatch.
And this golden crowned kinglet.
I also heard the rapping of the woodpeckers in the treetops and saw, in the distance another pileated woodpecker. Like the previous day I could not get a good photograph and it soon flew off in search of food.
There was no one else at usually crowded Lake Took-A While. The lake was also frozen and snow covered.
It was peaceful, but difficult, walking along the trail in the cold and snow. There were not the almost endless variety of plants, insects, birds and animals found here in the summer. However you could find a different kind beauty if you looked closely.
The dead remains of last years plants stood out in the whiteness of the snow.
It won’t be long until we see the first sign of life. Next month the lowly skunk cabbage should be making it’s appearance, adding some green to the white wintery landscape. But for now only the browns of last years growth remain.
It was hard walking in the snow so I again decided to end my hike after about two miles. On my walk back I saw a few more gold crowned kinglets
and this red squirrel who bravely crawled out on this limb to take a look at me.
I found a few of these holes dug in the snow. They were made by the squirrels or chipmunks digging up the nuts, seeds and acorns they buried last Fall.
I ended my hike along the now swollen banks of the Susquehanna River. The recent heavy rain washed away most of the ice. I was hoping to see some water fowl on the open water but none were to be found. I did hear a flock of geese honking in the distance.
I was disappointed in not seeing any sunshine on my hike. And even more disappointed in not seeing more wildlife but it was still a great day to be outdoors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands January 21 2018
“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”
― Sinclair Lewis