Spring Returns To The PPL Wetlands, And With Many Birds That Left Us Last Fall.

Spring Returns To The PPL Wetlands, And With Many Birds That Left Us Last Fall.

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The melting snow and recent heavy rains caused the local streams, creeks and river to swell here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I wanted to take a look at the Susquehanna River at the PPL Wetlands , thinking  the high waters may attract some of the migrating water fowl that pass through, or  settle to nest,  in our area in the Spring. wetlands -1

It was cold when I arrived at the wetlands, with a temperature  near the freezing mark at 33 degrees.wildlife -17

All of the snow and ice had melted  and I knew the early April sun would warm it up quickly.  My hunch  about the water fowl was  correct. I immediately noticed a number of flocks of ducks and a few geese on the pond near the entrance to the wetlands. I believe these were, mainly,  ringed neck ducks. wildlife -2

As I watched the ducks and geese I also saw a number of, what I believe are, rough winged swallows  skimming above the water in search of insects. I  captured a photograph of  this one taking an early morning  dip.wildlife -5

After which he/she perched in a tree to dry off.wildlife -9

I hiked into the paths of the wetlands and discovered a few signs of Spring including the new growth of the duckweed. This will turn the waters of the wetlands a dark green by the need of summer and provide food and cover for many types of critters. wildlife -3

There were also clumps of wild garlic or onion grass growing along the paths throughout the wetlands.wildlife -2

Unfortunately I didn’t wear my muck boots and found my access to some of the trails blocked by the overflowing waterways, canals and ponds. wildlife -13

Many of the skunk cabbage, which had just recovered from the heavy snow cover,  were now growing were under a few inches of water. wildlife -11

As I walked under the large and ancient trees I heard the flapping of wings overhead. I couldn’t tell  immediately what the bird was,  until I saw two blue herons flying away before I could get a photograph.  I was able to photograph this red bellied woodpecker in a nearby tree. wildlife -14

I saw another year round resident in the wetlands , this blue bird. wildlife -13

The early April sun was warming the air and I started to hear the occasionally sound of a spring peeper. Also taking advantage of the sun was this garter snake that slithered into the woods before I could take a photograph. wildlife -2

And the turtles soon appeared on the logs and banks of the ponds and canals, a sure sign of  Spring. wildlife-7

I continued my walk from the wetlands area of the preserve to the riverlands and beautiful Lake Took-A-While.wildlife -22

 I found a number of new residents including  geese,  ducks and a few cormorants that  alternated from skimming the lake and flying overhead. wildlife -7

While looking at the cormorants I spotted a  beautiful osprey that appeared to be hovering in the air, looking for a fish for breakfast in the waters of Lake Took-A While. Here is a link to some more photographs of this magnificent bird. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Osprey-PPL-Wetlands-April-2-2017osprey -1

I watched this beautiful bird for a while and decided to head back to the wetlands. On the way I found this pair of, I believe, blue-winged teals, who also appeared to be looking for  a quiet place to build a nest and raise a family. Here is a link to some more photographs of these attractive ducks. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/birds-of-pennsylvania/nggallery/birds-of-pennsylvania/Blue-winged-teal-blue winged teal -10

The air was now filled with the songs of birds, perched high in trees, singing to attract a mate, such as this male cardinal,wildlife -12

And this song sparrow. wildlife -11


And, as the sun continued to warm the waters the sound of the spring peeper frogs grew louder in the ponds and canals. Here is a link to a my YouTube channel and the sound of the spring peepers. https://youtu.be/SFqrE5hI81Awildlife -10

I next walked to the path along the Susquehanna River, where I sat and watched the rapidly flowing waters and the many species of  ducks floating past as they took a free ride south, including wood ducks. Here is a link to a video I uploaded to YouTube. https://youtu.be/YzpS2VxbK_Mwildlife-6

As I returned to my car I saw this red tailed hawk soaring high overhead, probably, like me,  looking at all of the ducks, but with different intentions. wildlife-4

I returned to the flooded ponds, again scaring the many ducks and geese that were enjoying the warm April sunshine.  Here is a link to some more photographs  of the birds and wildlife I saw on my hike. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-wildlife-April-2-2017wildlife -19

It was nice to again see the wetlands coming to life after it’s rest this past winter. Even though it was a mild one, except for the last snow storm, I still enjoy the next three seasons much better than the last one. And I look forward to the the warm weather ahead and the rebirth it will bring to the woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands on Sunday. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-April-2-2017-wildlife -25


For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.  Sandra Postel wildlife -1

1 Comment

  1. Kent Jackson on April 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Neat photos — especially of the turtles. But to see a cormorant and egret on the same walk is good fortune.