Summer Winds Down At The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands

Summer Winds Down At The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands

PPL Wetlands (44 of 50)
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It was Sunday, and once again I found myself hiking in the PPL Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township Luzerne County. I know there are so many beautiful hiking trails in our area but I have come to love this small nature preserve. 

It was mostly cloudy, and a bit cooler and less humid when I arrived around 9 a.m. A hint of Fall was in the air. And my hike provided further proof summer was coming to an end.  

The first thing I noticed was the silence. There was  almost no sounds as I walked under the canopy of  trees. No bird song, not even the red-winged black birds or the catbirds. Many of the song birds already began their long journey south. No frogs either. Just quiet as I walked and I admired the last of the pretty cardinal flowers. 

The broadleaf  arrowhead flowers

swamp milkweed and

purple loosestrife flowers were now in bloom along the canals and ponds in the wetlands.

The ponds and canals were now dark green from the lush growth of the beneficial duck weed plants. 

As I neared   the waterfowl pond I finally  saw a sign of wildlife, some wood ducks that quickly flew off as I approached. 

As I continued to walk along the trails  I  saw one of the muskrats that live here feeding on the duck weed.

And one of the many green herons perched in a tree. I was surprised to not see a great blue heron on my hike. 

The only other bird I saw with this fellow, I think a phoebe.

The clouds dissipated as I continued my hike  to the river lands.

Signs of the end of summer were evident from the ripening black walnuts to the 

appearance of the milkweed pods,

the nightshade  

and honeysuckle berries. 

Once again the large flock of Canada geese was no where to be found at Lake Took-A-While. There were a couple of chatty kingfishers flying around but they stayed out of camera range.

The sun was now shining and the air warmed up. This brought out some insects, including this monarch butterfly 

and I think a silver checkerspot butterfly. 

And this I think a cabbage white butterfly.

There were a lot fewer dragonflies darting around the lake. The ones I observed looked  aged and worn out. I don’t think they survive the Winter.

Their offspring  live in the water as nymphs and emerge in the Spring. 

On my walk back to the wetlands I did see a few birds including a couple of cedar waxwings,  

and a flycatcher. 

A few turtles crawled onto a log in the duck weed covered canals but that was about all of the wildlife I saw on my walk back. However, the cicadas had awakened, and I enjoyed their serenade  under the green canopy of trees.

One again nothing spectacular in wildlife sightings, but just the usual subtle beauty of the wetlands and riverlands. I love it here. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photographs from my hike in the wetlands and riverlands.  PPL Wetlands hike August 16 2020

If June was the beginning of a hopeful summer, and July the juice middle, August was suddenly feeling like the bitter end.     Sarah Dessen

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