I decided to hike on one of my favorite trails this morning, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. Most years, in January, I would find thick ice on the ponds and canals and a deep snow cover on the trails but we had unseasonably mild weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so I found no snow and only a thin layer of ice on the ponds and canals.
And most surprising was what find in the partially frozen ground, the emerging sheaths of the skunk cabbage. Usually the first plants to emerge, in early March, I have never found them growing in January before. I hope it is a sign of early Spring but it also may be proof our climate is changing.
It was cloudy, and the temperatures were seasonable, in the low 30’s , this morning as I walked along the trails and canals. For the first few miles I did not see or hear a single bird or animal. Not a crow, squirrel, chipmunk or sparrow. Clearly it was January since it is hard to walk a few feet in the Spring, Summer or Fall without seeing or hearing some type of wildlife.
I walked into the river lands section of the nature area and found. like I did in my last visit, a flock of white throated sparrows. These birds stayed close to the ground under the brambles and green brier vines but I was able to photograph this one resting in a tree branch.
On my walk back I also encountered a few flocks of the northern or black eyed juncos scrambling on the ground looking for food, the main activity of all wildlife during the cold Winter months. I was surprised to only see one mammal, a gray squirrel, during my five mile hike.
I decided to walked along the Susquehanna River for a bit and took a few moment to sit and watch the ice slowly flowing downriver. I find watching it very relaxing since I first observed the ice on the Susquehanna River a few miles down river in the Bloomsburg town park when I was a freshman at Bloomsburg College many years ago. Here is a link to a video of the ice flow on the river I uploaded to Youtube.
The light snowfall continued, covering the paths and ice on the canals and creating some nice scenery. I knew it was also making the 25 miles of roads I had to drive to my home icy and dangerous so I decided it was time to leave the newly created winter wonderland, knowing, God willing, I can always return tomorrow. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk today. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-hike-January-14-2017-
“Natures beauty soothe my eyes,
Refreshes my soul,
Helps in imagination…”