A Carolina Wren, A Phoebe And A Red-Tailed Hawk: A Cool September Morning Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

A Carolina Wren, A Phoebe And A Red-Tailed Hawk: A Cool September Morning Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

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It was a cool September morning when I awoke early Saturday  at my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County. The temperature dropped into the 40’s overnight for the first time since May.  The skies were mostly  clear when the sun rose at 6:41 a.m. After  I took my usual two mile walk through my neighborhood I  headed  down to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township with my camera.  I had decided to take a break from my wild mushroom hunting since I  was very successful this week.

I found over a bushel of the birch scaber stalk bolete mushrooms which my family dries and  uses to make a traditional Polish mushroom soup at our Holy Supper on Christmas Eve. This is my brother Mike helping me peel, cut arrange the mushrooms for drying.

It has been two weeks since I was last at the wetlands and I hoped to see some of the waterfowl and other birds before they migrated south for the Winter. Upon arriving I walked down to the Susquehanna River which was still high as a result of the torrential rains we had last week. 

It was eerily quite  when I walked into the wetlands. Since the chorus of the spring peepers song  filled the wetlands in April  there was always some sounds produced by the critters living  in the wetlands. Whether it was  the singing of the migratory birds, especially the noisy red-winged blackbirds, the frogs, crickets, or cicadas, it was never quiet   in the wetlands. Not on Saturday.  I walked under the canopy of trees in silence. 

There  was no birds singing when I began my walk on the trails along the ponds and canals in the wetlands. Despite the silence of the song birds, I did see some other birds shortly after I started my walk. These wood ducks were on the far side of the waterfowl pond, 

and this red-tailed hawk t flew off and landed on a tree top in the distance. 

The silence was finally broken when I heard the song of one of my favorite birds, a Carolina wren. 

One has been living near my home and I love hearing it’s song in the morning and evening.

It was a pleasant surprised when a pair of the birds flew into a tree about the trail allowing me to take some photographs of this pretty bird. 

After my encounter with the wrens I continued my walk through the wetlands. There  were still a few wildflowers blooming along the trails including the pretty purple ironweed flowers,

the white wood asters, 

great blue lobelia,

jewelweed or touch-me-nots, and

white snakeroot which has just started to bloom.  

In addition to the wildflowers I saw a few wild mushrooms on the forest floor including this, I believe a blusher amanita, 

this variety of coral  fungus,

these puffball mushrooms, 

this interesting fungus, it is the first time I have seen one, a stinky squid, a variety of stinkhorn fungus. 

Also scattered on the ground under the oak trees were this years first acorns. The oak trees appear to be loaded with them and I think it will be a very good crop. The resident wildlife will be happy.

There were also a lot of hickory nut husks and shells on the ground. There were no nuts, the squirrels and chipmunks have already enjoyed these delicious nuts. 

 While my eyes were fixed on the ground looking at the flowers and mushrooms I saw a couple of critters. This slug,

and this cool spider.

There are a lot of these spiders weaving their webs this time of year. I know, I have walked, face first, into dozens of them. 

The woods in the wetlands were still mostly green  on this cool September morning,  

as were the waters on  the ponds and canals. They were still covered in a thick growth of duck weed. 

I found this feather atop the deep green duck weed on one of the ponds. I’m not sure what kind of bird it came from but it was pretty sitting on the duckweed covered water. 

There was  not much  bird active as  I walked toward the river lands section of the nature preserve but I did see this chipmunk talking a look at me as I walked by. 

After walking back down to the river, I walked into the river lands and on the trail along Lake Took-A-While.

Here I finally saw a heron. On my last hike I saw many green and great blue herons. This great blue heron was the first I saw on this hike. 

In the river lands there were more wildflowers  blooming along the trail,  including evening primroses, 

pretty New England asters and

blue wood asters.  

And, of course. the goldenrod flowers were everywhere this time of year. 

The sun warmed up the cool September morning air and some insects became active. A few butterflies

and dragonflies appeared and  bees started to visit the flowers blooming along the lake  including the cutleaf coneflowers and. 

purple loosestrife

The large flock of Canada geese were gone. Only this pair of was swimming on the lake.

As usual I began my return hike after walking to the far end of the lake.

On my way back to the wetlands I saw the eastern phoebe perched in a tree.

A type flycatcher, these birds will soon be heading south as the insects, which they feed on, will soon disappear as the  nights become cooler. 

After watching the phoebe I saw another great blue heron perched on the far side of the lake,

which flew off as I approached. 

Back in the wetlands, the  September sun  was still warm and, as temperatures rose into the 60’s  a few cicada began to sing and some turtles  emerged from the waters in the ponds and canals in  the wetlands.

I saw one more great blue heron wading in the duckweed covered waters of the wetland near the end of my hike. Here is a  link to a gallery on my blog website with more photographs of the birds I saw on my September morning hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds. September 11 2021. 

It was  near noon when I finished my five mile hike in the wetlands and river lands. Once again I enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of these woodlands. 

 So much diversity here, both in the plant and animal kingdoms. A hike here never disappoints and I  love sharing my experiences here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my September morning hike. Susquehanna Wetlands September 11 2021


We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost. Henry Rollins

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