A Cloudy And Cool April Fool’s Day With Some Cool Critters In The Susquehanna Wetlands.
Friday was another cloudy and cool day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was the 1st day of April and Nature was playing an April Fool’s joke on us again with the cold weather. Since our local Weis grocery market closed due to a fire, I have been grocery shopping in the Weis Market in Berwick, Luzerne County on Friday afternoons. The store is conveniently located only a few miles from my favorite hiking place, the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands in Salem Township. So I have been hiking in the wetlands before I shop. On Friday I hit a nasty snow squall on my way to the wetlands. Temperatures dropped into the 30’s .It seems it always snows in our area on April Fool’s day. I had little expectation to see any wildlife on my hike. Well, I was wrong. Despite the cold I saw all kind of critters on my five mile hike.
And it didn’t take long until I saw them either. As usual I walked down to the Susquehanna River hoping to see a bald eagle or osprey. I didn’t see either but I saw a flock of wood ducks swimming on the river.
I love these beautiful and elusive birds. Of course they immediately flew off but I was able to photograph some of them in flight. I really recommend you check out the links to the galleys I include in my blog. I took a lot of photos of these colorful birds and can’t include them all here.
After enjoying my wood duck sighting I walked into the wetlands. Once again the spring peeper and wood frogs were silent. I haven’t heard their loud chorus in two weeks. There were no turtles in the wetlands either. It was too cold for these warm-blooded critters to be active.
Dames’s Rocket are providing some much welcome green colors to the woodlands. I called the Dame’s Rocket invasive in my last blog, and it is, but a follower defended this invasive flower. And I will admit, it does provide us with beautiful flowers in the Spring, unfortunately, at the expense of native plants. It is much prettier better than Japanese knotweed and Japanese still grass which are overtaking our woodlands.
As I continued my hike in the wetlands I scared a lot of wood ducks and then, I saw this beautiful bird wading in one of the ponds. A beautiful great egret.
The skies darkened as I walked to the river and a cold rain began to fall. Again I didn’t think I would see any wildlife at the but, as I came to the river, I saw this pair of wood ducks sitting on a log.
They are such beautiful birds. I love the coloring of the males, although the female is also a beautiful bird. The wood ducks did not immediately fly away, allowing me to enjoy their beauty and get some photos.
I continued my walk through the wetlands and into the river lands. Along the way I saw dozens of tree swallows swooping over the ponds in the wetlands snatching insects above the waters. I also had an unusual sighting of an American kestrel . I got a photos of both but they weren’t good enough to share here. As I noted above, I included them in the gallery I will link too later in my blog.
Here I was greeted by all of the usual water birds, although most quickly flew off as I approached, including a large flock of double-crested cormorants,
some common mergansers, this is a female, and ,
a few great blue herons. I would see a lot more of these beautiful birds later on my five mile hike. I was already surprised, and pleased, with the wildlife activity I had seen on my hike. But there would be more.
I continued my hike on the trail between the lake and old Susquehanna River canal. As I did I saw a few more birds on the cloudy and cool afternoon, including this red-winged black bird,
another of my Spring favorites, an eastern phoebe. This may be the same bird I have been seeing in this exact same spot for the last four years.
As usual I finished my hike at the trail that ends at the parking area at the far end of the lake. I began my hike back under the still threatening skies. As always I kept my eyes peeled for wildlife but was already content with the many critters I had seen. But there would be more, I saw the common mergansers, double crested cormorants and a large flock of Canada geese on my return hike and, a few more great blue herons. This one would fly a short distance away from me as I approached,
It was a great day for wildlife photos already and there would be one more bird that wanted to get in my blog and on Facebook. While nearing the end of the lake I heard the unmistakable hitch pitched chirping call of an osprey. It was high overhead and I knew the photos would not turn out too good. However, almost as if it knew I had a camera, it swooped down towards me,
It did this a few times. It is a beautiful bird. It is a fish eater and probably knew the lake was stocked with fish for the first day of trout season. I enjoyed watching this large raptor soar overhead in the cloudy sky. I hope it also remains here for the breeding season. This is the link to the gallery I created with more photos of the beautiful wood ducks, great blue heron and osprey I saw on my hike. Take a look. Susquehanna Wetlands birds April 1 2022.
As always I was hoping to see some more wildlife right up to the end of my hike. I didn’t on Friday, I finished my hike under the cloudy skies without seeing another critter. However, I was still very pleased with this hike in the wetlands and rivers lands. I didn’t expect to see much wildlife and I got to see a lot of beautiful critters. I was looking forward to editing and sharing them. Hopefully, I will see these more of these critters in the coming weeks, and, hopefully under sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Here is link to some more photos from my five mile hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands April 1 2022.
Again the blackbirds sings; the streams / Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams, / And tremble in the April showers / The tassels of the maple flowers.John Greenleaf Whittier