Spring Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

Spring Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

PPL Wetlands (27 of 49)
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It wasn’t the kind of weather I hoped for on my return from Florida. I awoke today to  find cloudy skies, wind, and a freezing 30 degree temperature.  The cold air was a shock after a week in the 80’s but it didn’t stop me from visiting the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County on this dreary March morning. 

Although the skies were overcast and the air cold I soon found signs of  Spring as I began my hike.Hairy bittercress, 

dames rocket, 

wild garlic

and skunk cabbage were growing everywhere along the trails. It was good to see some green again,  And, once again, I am relying on my PictureThis IPhone app in  making some of these identifications so please correct me if I am wrong, 

I also saw another welcome color on my walk, the buds of the red maple. 

Red maples are one of the first trees to go to leaf in the Spring in our area. 

One thing I didn’t see at the onset of my hike was a lot of bird activity. I did hear a couple of Canada geese and saw some wood ducks on the canals and ponds but I couldn’t get any photographs. The wood ducks, as usual , are very flighty. There were none of the usual residents, the nuthatches, cardinals, sparrows woodpeckers etc.  as I began my hike. I left the wetlands and hiked to Lake Took-A-While in the PPL riverlands section of the preserve. 

Here I did see  few cormorants on the lake, the same birds I photographed in Florida. However, they did not let me get anywhere near them like they did in the Everglades. 

Walking along the lake I saw this hole in a tree made by a pileated woodpecker. It wasn’t there on my last visit three weeks ago. And I was surprised how close to the path the tree was. Some lucky walkers must have seen this beautiful bird at work making this large hole. 

Well it didn’t take long to see the bird that probably made the hole.  A pileated woodpecker flew overhead and began looking for insects on a nearby tree. 

As I approached this large woodpecker flew to a poison ivy vine and began eating the remaining poison ivy berries. 

I had seen hairy and downy woodpecker eat these berries but never a pileated woodpecker. 

I watched this beautiful bird as it ate and then began my return hike. There were some breaks in the clouds now but it was still mostly overcast . I had hoped the sun would appear and warm it up so that some frogs and turtles may appear on the shores of the  waters of the wetlands. 

On my return walk I saw this wren, I believe it is a Carolina wren singing loudly in a treetop. 

When I returned to the wetlands I was greeted by a sound I had waited for all winter, the chorus of the spring peepers. It was not loud yet. It is early and the waters still cold. But some of this tiny frogs were awake and letting the world know it. I love this sound. Here is a link to a video of the spring peepers I uploaded to my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/8PFtP7xXMig

As i was leaving the wetlands I encountered three Canada geese on one of the canals. One of the geese flew off but the remaining two got quite noisy . 

I wasn’t sure if they were fighting with each other, 

getting amorous with each other. 

or just trying to scare me off, but they sure were animated and noisy.

 

I saw a few more wood ducks too, but they once again eluded my camera. I did see a flock of about a dozen of these ducks, they too flew off, but I was able to photograph this one, a male green winged teal.

Although I didn’t see any bald eagles or hawks, or the exotic birds or animals that I saw on my visit to the Everglades, I was rewarded with, and satisfied with the critters I did see on this cold and dreary March day. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the geese, pileated woodpecker and wren taken on my hike. PPL Wetlands hike March 21 2020. 

March, when days are getting long,
Let thy growing hours be strong
To set right some wintry wrong.
~Caroline May

 

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