Some November Sunshine At The PPL Wetlands

Some November Sunshine At The PPL Wetlands

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November is not my favorite month in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  It is usually a bleak month. The song birds, snakes, turtles, frogs and insects are gone.  So are the flowers, and in most years the leaves would have fallen from the trees by now. However, this year  was unusually warm and  Autumn came late.  fallen leaves on pond

On my last  visit to the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township in mid-October the leaves were still mostly green.   I haven’t been there in a couple of weeks and I wasn’t sure what I would find when I decided to return today.   clouds over wetlands

I drove to the entrance to the wetlands section of the preserve and found the road closed. I then drove to the riverlands and access road that, too, was closed.  I was able to park near Lake Took-A-While and I still don’t know why the access roads were closed.  It was windy and cold when I left my car. The rain we had overnight had ended and there were breaks in the clouds.clouds over lake

I decided to walk into the wetlands to see if there were any water birds on the ponds and canals.pond in wetlands

Most of the trees were now bare  but I was surprised how many trees still had kept their colorful leaves.bare trees in wetlands

I was glad  to experience the beauty of October colors well into November. fall colors in woodlands

I was also surprised to find the skunk cabbage growing. They usually are the first plants to appear in late winter. I never saw them sprouting in November before, but there they were, hundreds of them.  A sure sign of climate change I believe. skunk cabbage

I also found some puffball,puffball mushrooms

and oyster mushrooms, also unusual this late in the year, and more evidence of our changing climate.oyster mushrooms

It was very quiet in the wetlands. No song birds, frogs or insects. I only saw a few black-capped chickadees and this cardinal as I walked to the Susquehanna River.  cardinal in brush

The river filled its banks from the recent rains.trees along river

I walked along the river, hoping to see some ducks, geese or other water fowl. I didn’t see any, and, in fact, I didn’t see any birds or animals in the wetlands.trees along river

I walked back to Lake Too-A-While as the skies continued to clearclouds over lake

and I saw this pair of  female bufflehead ducksbufflehead ducks on lake

and these Canada geese on the lake. Canada geese

I continued to walk and made my way  back to the Susquehanna River,

where I found many leaves still clinging to the ancient trees on the banks of the river. 

I also found many birds in the trees along the river, including this nuthatch on tree nuthatch,

a red bellied woodpecker, 

a hairy or downy woodpecker 

and a few flocks of  Juncos and 

black-capped chickadees. 

I walked along the river, watching the last leaves of the season flutter to the ground,  and eventually made my way back to the lake. I saw only one squirrel 

and a lone female red-winged blackbird on the way. I was surprised to see the red-winged blackbird since most of them had migrated south weeks ago. female red-winged blackbird

It was  cold and windy but a much less bleak November day than most other years. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands hike November 10 2018.

No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon – No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member – No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! – November!    Thomas Hood

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