Winter Returns To The PPL Wetlands And Riverlands
The mild weather we’ve had this Winter continued this past week, until a cold front moved though our area on Friday . I awoke Saturday morning with a temperature of 18 degrees and a strong northwesterly wind at my home here in Hazle Township. Skies were mostly clear. There was a dusting to a half inch of new snow on the ground. Once again I decided to hike in the PPL Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township, enjoy the solitude and try and observe some wildlife.
Arriving at the wetlands area of the nature preserve I found the temperature a little warmer. It was at 25 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. I was thankful there was no snow cover on the trails. There was now a lot of ice on the ponds and canals.
Last week I may have misidentified some muskrats as beavers. I have trouble telling them apart when they are in the water or from a distance.(I attached a link here that helps with the identification of a beaver or a muskrat) I was also mistaken with my identification of a muskrat lodge which I identified as a beaver lodge. I didn’t even know muskrats made lodges. My brother Mike explained a muskrat lodge is smaller and made of cattails and other small flexible plants. I believe this is a muskrat lodge.
As I was leaving the wetlands and walking over to the riverlands I noticed a pair of sparrow on a low branch near the ice on a pond. They were hopping on the ice I wondered if they were young sparrows who had never experienced ice before. I think the were tree sparrows because it appears they had a bi-colored beak, But I am not not very good with identifying sparrows.
It was overcast now and I continued my hike past the lake and followed the riverside trail for about a 1/4 mile. Here I usually see woodpeckers, cardinals and other birds in the thickets along the trail. And I did again, there were a few cardinals fluttering in the trees,
A dreary month January is, and I am not a big fan of the cold weather anymore, but once again, I had a pleasant hike enjoying the peace and quite of the wetlands and riverlands.Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike in the PPL Wetlands and Riverlands. PPL Wetlands hike January 23 2021.
“The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!”