Summer is almost over here in the Northern Hemisphere. Days are shorter and nights longer. Cooler air from the north is filtering south. In Northeastern Pennsylvania this means the changing of the leaves and the migration of the many species of birds that nest here in the warm months. On Sunday, having little luck finding wild mushrooms, I decided to hike in the PPL Wetlands.
The leaves in the woodlands are just starting to show some color.
Along the trail the bright red fruit of the jack-in-the-pulpit stood out immediately.
Shortly after I started my hike, I saw a large flock of wood ducks on one of the ponds. There must have been over 20 of them. As always, the saw me approaching and quickly flew away.
They are beautiful birds.
The wetlands are very quiet. The songs of the birds, the insects and the amphibians no longer echo in the woodlands. There were still some birds flying about including a large flock of American redstarts.
They were fluttering about in a tree gathering seeds. I think it was a black birch. The one above is the male and this one the female.
Another sign of the end of summer was the decreased number of dragonflies darting about the wetlands. There were still a few, mainly of this brownish orange colored species.
Blue cardinal flowers could now be seen blooming throughout the wetlands.
As I walked along the duck weed covered canals and ponds I came upon this muskrat who was shoving the duck weed into it’s mouth.
A close look at his eyes would show he knew I was there but continued to furiously consume the duck weed.
I watched the muskrat for a bit and continued my hike. I came upon some more late summer wild flowers including these beautiful wild aster.
Many berries can now be found in the wetlands, providing food for the migrating birds and the wildlife that will remain here throughout the winter including the pretty blue berries of the spiny knotweed and
the bright red berries of the common winterberry.
I enjoyed my hike in the late summer sunshine but cut it short to attend a wild mushroom fair at another nearby local state park . That will be the subject of a future blog post. I returned to my car knowing it won’t be long until the wetlands are showing their brilliant Fall colors and then shed them for a long and cold winter sleep. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. PPL Wetlands September 15 2019.
“Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.”