Despite The Cold Temperatures, Plenty Of Wildlife Activity At The PPL Wetlands.

We had near record cold here in Northeastern Pennsylvania yesterday . Overnight the  clear, calm skies allowed the temperature to plummet to a frigid, and near record,  14 degrees. More like January than November. leaves on ice on canal at PPL Wetlands

I decided to hike out the PPL Wetlands again, with the   intent to take photographs of the November scenery and the now leafless trees. I felt  most of the migratory birds would be gone and only the year long residents would  still be there. As I arrived I immediately noticed the one of the effects of the cold temperatures.The lush green color of many of  ponds and canals had disappeared. The color is provided by the duck weed that grows on the waters in the wetlands and provides nourishment to the wildlife that lives here. trees and clear blue water at pond at PPL Wetland

The cold temperatures killed the duck weed in this pond. Here is another photograph of the same pond taken only a few weeks ago. trees and duck weed covered green water at pond at PPL Wetlands

Some area of the wetlands still have a thick growth of duck weed but, as the cold weather continues it will all disappear and I will anxiously wait for the first tiny leaves to reappear next April. bare trees and green duck weed covered canal

Most of the  leaves on the trees have fallen, and, leafless trees on trail

are now covering the  trails with a crunchy carpet of brown. trees on ground on trail

However there was still some color to be found in my hike in the wetlands. sun and red leaves in PPL wetlands

As I walked through the woods of the wetlands I also noticed the lack of insects. I missed the sounds of the cicadas and buzzing of the dragonflies, bees and wasps but was happy the mosquitoes and ticks will no longer plague me on my hikes. But there was still some life as I first noticed this flicker high in a tree top. flicker on tree branch

And along the canals I heard the songs of the always active black-capped-chickadees. They will be one of the most common, and active, birds in the Winter here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They are a hardy species. black-capped chickadee on tree branch

As I was observing the waning gibbous moon in the clear blue skies,close up of waning gibbous moon

I was rewarded with a bald eagle sighting. It is not the best photograph since he or she was soaring high overhead but is always a wonderful experience to share a hike with these magnificent birds.

bald eagle soaring in blue sky

I continued my hike toward the river lands section of the preserve and encountered a few sparrows on the way. I am not good identifying these birds but I think this is a song sparrow. song sparrow in tree ranch

I was surprised to see a few flocks of cedar waxwings still in the wetlands. I must have seen three separate flocks each with almost a dozen birds. cedar waxwing on tree branch

I also saw a flock of what I think are golden crowned kinglets, my birding friends can correct me if I am wrong.golden crowned kinglet on tree stump

And I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on a flock of house finches, there must have been a hundred of them.  They like black capped chickadees are not shy birds and I enjoyed having them flutter in the trees and brush near me. house finch on branch

I made my way to the river lands and Lake Took-A-While and found a passing flock of Canada geese on the lake. 

I suspect these were not the local geese that resided here all Summer but a flock from further north enjoying a rest before they head south for the Winter. 

As is often the case had another  unusual encounter with wildlife at the wetlands. While walking along the lake I watched a young deer, a buck, jump in, and take a swim, across the lake. I don’t recall every seeing one swim before. 

On my way back to the wetlands, keeping my eyes peeled, I spotted this critter peering out from a hole in a dead tree,

either a downy or hairy woodpecker. 

I also saw a few wood ducks along my hike and a few red tailed hawks soaring overhead. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. PPL Wetlands birds November 11 2017.

I will have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much wildlife activity  on this cold November day. Usually November is the beginning of  nature’s  long Winter sleep here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  But, if you keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you will find on a walk in our  woods. I love to find out so I will come on walking.  And, of course sharing what I find with the followers of my blog. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike at the wetlands. PPL Wetlands November 11 2017. 

“Eagle’s flight of loneliness soars so high 
Around its sigh, no more alone the sky 
Other birds remain away, clouds pass by
Between shrouds of life and haze sun rays die” 
― Munia Khan

Share This:

Finally, Ice And Cold Arrive At The PPL Wetlands

Just a few weeks ago temperatures were  in the 70’s and I was seeing turtles at the PPL Wetlands. Not today,  the unseasonably warm weather ended and temperatures plummeted here in Northeastern Pennsylvania these  past few day. There  was ice on the ponds and canals when I hiked there this morning. ppl-wetlands-11

I am not a big fan of Winter anymore, it is hard to walk in the ice and snow,  but I enjoyed my hike this morning.  It was calm and cloudy, with temperatures  near 20 degrees. The wetlands had a somber but peaceful look and feel to them. ppl-wetlands-27

Gone now is the last of the duckweed  on the waters. it has been replaced with a still thin layer of ice, in many shades of white, blue and gray. ppl-wetlands-31

There was only a dusting of snow on the ground down here along the river. Near my house, at a much higher elevation, we got about two inches of snow. ppl-wetlands-24

As I walked along the canal I saw a few juncos, black-capped chickadees and a few sparrows, including this white -throated  sparrow that was fluttering about in the brush. ppl-wetlands-45

Overhead I hear the shrill cry of a red tailed hawk and saw this fellow fly into the topmost branches of this tree.  He, or she,  was pretty well hidden. I watched him/her for awhile hoping it would fly toward me.ppl-wetlands-9

Instead another hawk flew from a nearby tree, probably this ones mate, and they both flew away from me.  This was the best photograph I could get. as it flew away. ppl-wetlands-10

It amazes me, as I walked along the trails, how many different birds nests are now exposed in the branches of the leafless trees and shrubs. ppl-wetlands-38

Some are right along the path, a few feet from where I, and many others walked right next to the pair of birds raising their chicks without any of us noticing them.  Here is a photograph of one I found on one of the most used trails. I walked by it dozens of times and had no idea it was there. ppl-wetlands-39

As I walked I came across this somewhat unusual sight, a downy or hairy woodpecker, not looking for insects in the bark of a tree, but actually eating seeds or fruits on a tree. I never saw them eat anything other then insects before.ppl-wetlands-13

The ice on the canals made for a nice background for the many shriveled and dead plants and weeds that grew along the banks in the Summer. ppl-wetlands-33

It is not green or lush, like in the Spring or Summer, or colorful like in the fall but the dead vegetation still was beautiful in it’s own way. ppl-wetlands-44

And I did find some color, still clinging on in the cold and ice. A few of the last   fallen leaves of the year still holding on to some color.ppl-wetlands-49

The cones of the staghorn sumac also still remain a bright red color.  i believe they can be used as a spice or made into a lemonade like tea. ppl-wetlands-42

I also found some color among the birds in the wetlands, this cardinal  which was also feeding on the seeds of the now dead plants and shrubs. ppl-wetlands-36

And there were still some greens too,  few ferns fighting the coldppl-wetlands-55

and the evergreen plants, shrubs and trees that will provide  reminder of the coming Spring throughout the cold Winter that has now set in on the PPL Wetlands. ppl-wetlands-43

But, for the most part, the dominant  colors over the next few moths will be the subtle and varying  shades of brown, whites, and grays of winter. ppl-wetlands-53

It was cold but it was still nice to  out and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, even on a cold December day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning.



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. Stater



Share This:

Back Down to the Lehigh, Still Frozen But Signs of Spring.

Got a little warmer today, and sure felt Spring in the air but still a lot of snow out there and not many options on hiking in the woods. Once again I headed down to the Lehigh Gorge to take advantage of the trails made by the snowmobilers.

The river is still mainly frozen and the ice formations are still frozen solid but a lot more folks out there today taking advantage of the 40 degree temperature. Headed south this time. More pine trees and, since it is on the trail is on the northeast  side of a mountain a deeper snow pack. I was going to hike down to the river but found the snow higher than my knees and wasn’t going to trudge through it since I am still having some hip issues. Saw a few deer and, a my first sign of Spring, a flying insect. Here is a link to the photo. Gorge (27 of 60)

It was a nice hiking in the warmer temperatures but still rough going even on the snow mobile trails. i hike down to the railroad bridge on the Drake creek. Hoping next time I’m here it’s snow and ice free. But that may not be until April. Here are some more photos I took on my hike.

Lehigh Gorge (55 of 60)


Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.”
Emma Smith

Share This:

Winter at the Bird Feeder

Didn’t want to hike out through the snow again to watch the sunset so decided to spend a little time photographing some of the visitors to my bird feeder, since it looks like you enjoyed my last blog with photos of our feathered friends.  Pretty much the same birds except a few finches and mourning doves. And of course the always present, and pesky squirrel. No deer again. The deep snow has changed kept them form having dinner in my yard. Wonder how they survive on these bitter cold nights. Going to get down to zero here in Northeastern Pennsylvania tonight. And even colder this weekend. I’ll be dreaming of warmer weather tonight, it’s right around the corner. I didn’t post my photos on Flicker tonight but you can check them out on my photograph page.

Backyard feeder 049


Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Share This:

Winter Sunset

I am  glad I decided to trudge through the snow and watch the sunset today.  They are all beautiful, and I never saw one I didn’t like, but this one was like a scene from Dr. Zhivago. We had an ice  storm and the reflection of the sun off the ice coated trees was breath taking. The camera couldn’t do it justice. Was a wonderful end to a nice February day.  Still I can’t wait for the hazy sunsets of Summer. I had enough of the cold. I uploaded some more photos of the sunset on my photograph page on my blog and on my Flicker site. Here is the link.


“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
Jo Waltonsunset 016

Share This:

Turkeys in the snow

turkey 052It has been a brutal winter here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Frigid temperatures, a deep snow cover and today an ice storm. It looks like I am not the only one having a hard time walking in these conditions. The gobblers who have been in my back yard since the Summer showed up a few days ago and they look thin and weather beaten form the severe Winter we are having. They usually are cautious creatures who scatter at the slightest sound or movement. Not today. They literally ran to my feeder when I threw out some corn and seed. Hoping this weather cold breaks soon since it is taking a toll on a lot of the wildlife. But that is the way of nature, it is harsh, but only the strongest do survive, unless they get some help from their human friends. Hoping the video I took post on this page. It is the first time I am trying it. Here is a link to some more photos I took of the turkey in my yard this afternoon. I am hoping it won’t be long until i am posting photos of robins and crocuses. But not for a few more weeks.

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
― Steve Irwin

Share This:

It’s the End of the Humboldt Reservoir as We knew it.

    Was hoping to take  a relaxing hike to a favorite spot of mine, the Humboldt Reservoir. Hiked out here many times as kids. It was always a secluded, and beautiful place, to enjoy the beauty of nature. It is located on lands of our local water authority.  many folks would camp, party and just enjoy this isolated reservoir. Loved watching the stars out there. In recent years, this reservoir lost much of it’s seclusion. A residential development, and then am industrial park,were built adjacent to the reservoir and the surrounding watershed. However, it still remained a relatively quite and secluded palce to get away amid the surrounding developments. Still frequently deer, raccoons, turkey, hawks and other wildlife on my walks along the water. Well that world ended for me today when I discovered the clear cut timbering that was down upon the surrounding lands of the watershed. i am still in shock. I can’t believe our local officials would ever allow this to happen on this wonderful  natural area. it was so prophetic that I saw one of my favorite movies yesterday,  Dr. Suess’s The Lorax.  The once wooded hills surrounding the reservoir looked like a scene from the movie after the last truffula tree was chopped down. What a lack of foresight. I lost another part of my childhood today. Felt like this Native American in the old commercial  It is still a nice walk to the reservoir but it will never be the same. Here is a link to some more photos I took on this sad morning. reservoir 079

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
Chris Maser

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Share This:

Brrrr It’s cold out there.

It’s February, and we expect cold and snow in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but it got real cold today. We may set a new record with an expected low  tonight. of -6 degrees.  And a very strong wind too.  But we had plenty of sunshine today and the clear blue skies enticed me to brave the ice and snow and take some photos in the woods behind my house. The sun is moving north very quickly now but it still is low in the sky and casts some cool shadows. Loved seeing it cast them on the pure white snow. It was like walking in a scene from Dr. Zhivago.  It wasn’t too bsnow and ice 047ad out there but glad to be inside now. I met this fellow on the way in and he may be the only one in the neighborhood enjoying the snow. Here is a link to some more photos I took thst I uploaded to my Filcker account.




“On a cold winter day even the snow needs the touch of the sun!”
Mehmet Murat ildan

Share This:

Moon rise, sunset.

It was nice to see those clear blues skies after yesterday’s storm. It was cold but that sunshine sure got me thinking about Spring. Decided to take advantage of the clear skies and watch the sunset.  Wasn’t easy walking in the woods in the ice crusted deep snow but the sunset made it worthwhile. Here is a link to some of the photos I took of the sunset .

I really struggled through the deep snow coming back, it was all uphill, and it took some time but I was rewarded with a beautiful moonrise. Here is a link to some of the photos I took of the moonrise.  I’m not a big Winter fan anymore but it wasn’t a bad February day. The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary. ~Alfred Kreymborg

Sunset and moonrise 119

Share This:

A cold February moon

Left the comfort of my warm house  hoping to take some photos of the almost full Snow Moon. Was watching the radar and thought the clouds would break.  Unfortunately they didn’t and only got to take some photos in the few breaks that did appear in the clouds. It was windy and 9 degrees so I wasn’t staying out therCold February Moon 051e  long. Brought back memories of braving the cold winter nights as kids, sledding or viewing the stars with my telescope. Didn’t seem to mind it as much back then. Well got a few photos  and this is the link to my Flicker account where you can view them


Moonlight is sculpture. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Share This: