Summer Heat, And A Fawn, Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

Summer Heat, And A Fawn, Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

PPL Wetlands (3 of 50)
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It’s now July and the summer heat has arrived here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Temperatures were in the low 70’s early Friday  morning with mostly cloudy skies. Once again I debated with myself about my hiking destinations for the day, and once again decided to return to the PPL Wetlands and River Lands in Salem Township.

Even when, like last week, I don’t find some exotic animal, bird or insect on a hike here, half of the fun is just looking for them. I have come to know where some of  the critters that live here like  to hang out and try to find, and photograph them.  Sometimes I  just get lucky, and stumble upon something interesting. So as I began my hike Friday, I saw this young fawn  in one of the many swamps along the trails. 

The poor thing stood perfectly still, but I could see it was trembling. We stared at each other for about five minutes. Both of us remaining motionless. When I made a step toward him/her it took off into the safety of the woods. This experience alone made justified my decision to hike here in the wetlands again. But there would be more wildlife sightings on this hike.

I walked through the lush green foliage along the trails watching for birds in the trees and on the duck weed covered waters. 

This week I saw a few green herons and great blue herons on the waters.  I couldn’t get a photo of the green heron but I was able to get photos of two of the great blue herons. This one, near where I saw the fawn, and

this one a little further down the trail. Unfortunately, both flew off in a direction that didn’t allow me to capture the always spectacular image of them in flight.

As I continued my walk I saw a beaver cross the trail and dive into the warm duck weed covered waters before I  could aim my camera. However, I was able to capture an image of this muskrat enjoying the duck weed for breakfast. 

Unlike last week there was a lot of wildlife activity despite the summer heat. This, was one of the many red and gray squirrels and chipmunks  I saw on my five mile hike. 

There were also a lot of birds singing in the trees. As usual the catbirds and red-winged blackbirds were the loudest and most numerous. This week I was able to see some song birds and get a few photos. The photos aren’t the best since this yellow warbler,

this Baltimore oriole and

this red-eyed vireo were high in the tree tops. At least they peeked out a few time allowing me to capture a quick photo. 

As I walked toward the River lands section of the preserve I again noticed that some of the plants have already reached their maximum growth and were starting to decay. In addition to the skunk cabbage, another the leaves of another plant of early Spring, the mandrake or may apple, were shriveling up.  

Other plants are just now beginning to flower such as the common milkweed,

the swamp milkweed and 

the invasive bull thistle. 

Once again I have noticed a drastic reduction in the insects and butterflies that are attracted to these flowers. In years past I would see many insects visiting these plants. Like near my home, their numbers decrease ever year. This tend is seen across our entire Nation and it is not a good one. This is one of the few butterflies I observed on my hike. 

However, their was no shortage of damselflies and dragonflies. Their numbers continue each week with the summer heat. 

Their were hundreds of them darting and hovering along the waters of the wetlands and along the shores of Lake-Took-A=While when I entered the River lands. 

Occasionally the land on a rock or branch and I  love to photograph their many colors and delicate wings. I could spend an afternoon watching them, and will return with my macro lens one day this summer. 

The large flock of Canada geese were not on the lake. I believe the goslings are now old enough to fly to the river or surrounding fields to search for food with their parents.  No eagles or ospreys but I did see a kingfisher, and a number of song sparrows in the vegetation along the lake.

This one was singing its little heart out. 

It was getting hot and I decided to end my hike. On my walk back I saw a few more critters including this woodpecker, 

and this frog.

And then  this white tailed deer  walked into me.

They males grow new antlers each year and they are covered in velvet when they first emerge. 

It was now early afternoon and the temperature was near 90 degrees when I finished my five mile hike. I love the heat but it takes more out of me each passing year. I was tired and thirsty but  glad I decided to hike in the wetlands.

This time I was rewarded with a lot of wildlife sightings. I am looking  forward to my next hike, and the hope to see that, bear, eagle or other exotic animal. But even the ordinary critters are beautiful. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the Summer heat at  the wetlands. PPL Wetlands July 3 2020. 

“Your growing antlers,’ Bambi continued, ‘are proof of your intimate place in the forest, for of all the things that live and grow only the trees and the deer shed their foliage each year and replace it more strongly, more magnificently, in the spring. Each year the trees grow larger and put on more leaves. And so you too increase in size and wear a larger, stronger crown.”
― Felix Salten, Bambi’s Children

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