The Winter Solstice, And Winter, Arrives In Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Winter Solstice, And Winter, Arrives In Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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The Winter Solstice arrived at 11:29 p.m. last Saturday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The shortest day of the year and the beginning of Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere.  And it arrived as it should with cold and ice. 

I decided to again hike in The PPL Wetlands and River Lands in Salem Township, Luzerne County. The weather turned cold the week before my hike. Temperatures plummeted into the single digits.  I knew there would be ice on the ponds and canals in the wetlands but I was surprised when  I found ice floating on the Susquehanna River.

Winter had definitely had arrived. I followed the trails in the wetlands hoping to see one of the bald eagles that have been in the area They weren’t around. .  The  ponds and canals were now covered in ice and snow and thus preventing the eagles from catching the plentiful fish living there. 

I once again saw a flock of white-throated sparrows

and dark-eyed juncos fluttering in the trees along the trail. 

This week I was surprised to see this bluebird in the wetlands. I usually find them in the River lands area of the preserve. 

The bright colors of the Spring, Summer and Fall are gone and the drab browns, grays and whites of Winter make for a somber mood on my walk. However, the bright red winter berries

and blue berries on the brier vines provided some splashes of color on the otherwise dreary landscape. 

I walked into the River Lands and found no water fowl swimming on Lake Took-A-While since it was  covered in ice. 

There were some woodpeckers tapping on the branches  in the treetops,

and a red tailed hawk flew high overhead, it’s screeching call echoing below. 

This week I hiked down to the Susquehanna River thinking the eagles may have moved here in their search for fish and other prey. No eagles near the river but I did scare a flock of Canada geese off the waters of the river. They moved here from the ice covered lake.

I walked along the river watching and  listening to the passing chunks of floating from colder lands further north. 

On my walk back I saw a few noisy blue jays flying over head.  

I didn’t see or hear the many species of wildlife, mammal, bird, insect and amphibian I do in the Summer. But  it was still a nice day to be outdoors on the shortest day of the year, knowing that each day would be a little longer and the sun a little stronger. This is a link to my gallery archive page and more photographs from my  Winter solstice hike. PPL Wetlands hike December 21 2019. 

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.     Victor Hugo

 

 

 

 

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