Winter Finally Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

Winter Finally Arrives At The PPL Wetlands

PPL Wetlands  (26 of 39)
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Although we still have above normal temperatures here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it is January and Winter, and Winter here usually means a pretty lot of snow. We got a big storm last week so I decided to venture down the PPL Wetlands to have a look around. The temperatures, although mild for us, are still below freezing and the ponds and canals have frozen over and it now finally  looks like Winter here in one of my favorite hiking areas. PPL Wetlands  (16 of 39)

The Susquehanna River is still mostly ice free although there is now some ice forming along the shores and more ice floating in the river. I was hoping to see some ducks or waterfowl on the river now that the ponds and canals are frozen over but didn’t see any. They may have finally decided to fly further south to more warmer climes. PPL Wetlands  (8 of 39)

Unlike the Spring and Summer when the wetlands are swarming with life it was quiet today.  I only saw a few blue jays, a cardinal, a few juncos  a red squirrel and this large buck who was walking along side me in the woods. PPL Wetlands  (1 of 39)

I did see evidence of a lot of wildlife during my hike from the many types of animal tracks in the snow. There were a lot of deer, squirrel and rabbit tracks along the paths and these tracks crisscrossing the water which I can’t identify. it could be a mink, a fisher or some beavers but I’m not sure. PPL Wetlands  (21 of 39)

There were also evidence of some human visitors from the footprints and snow shoe and cross country ski tracks in the snow. PPL Wetlands  (33 of 39)

The ground is white now but still  some evergreen plants can be seen growing on the snowy carpet that now covers everything down here. PPL Wetlands  (32 of 39)

I sat down to take a rest, and was surprised to see a downy woodpecker fly to a tree next to me and start pecking away at a  branch looking to make a meal from  sleeping insects. I watched him for awhile and took this VIDEO of him. (the red high lighted word links to the video}. He pecked away  near me for some time until deciding to look for his meal at another tree. Here is a link to some more photographs of the downy woodpecker. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/downy-woodpecker-1PPL Wetlands  downy woodpecker 9 (1 of 1)

I walked along the snow covered paths and frozen waterways paths that, in just a two months, will be coming alive with the sprouting skunk cabbage, the spring peepers and the first robbins. It was a nice hike out in the winter wonderland down here today but I am still looking forward to Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/ppl-wetlands-winter-hike-january-30-2016/PPL Wetlands  (7 of 39)

 

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
~Charles G. StaterPPL Wetlands  (28 of 39)

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