A Cloudy But Pleasant September Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

A Cloudy But Pleasant September Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands (7 of 36)
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It was  cloudy  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania last Saturday, not the best weather  for wildlife photography.  A few of my birding friends texted me about the first sighting of flamingos in Pennsylvania. They were seen on a pond in Franklin County , about a 2 1/2 hour drive from my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County. I was considering driving down but the cloudy weather and a lot of chores made me  stay  closer to home. I decided to return the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township about a 1/2 drive from my home. I was going  to meet a friend and fellow  wildlife  photographer  at the wetlands around 7;30 a.m. 

I was the first to arrive and was greeted by a  small heard of whitetail deer. Most of the deer ran into the woodlands but this doe watched as I parked and exited my Jeep before joining the others in the surrounding woodlands.

After seeing the deer, I took my usual walk down to the Susquehanna River, which was swollen from the recent heavy rains. 

My friend  soon arrived and we hiked into the wetlands hoping to see the river otters, bobcat, a bald eagle or some of the many other critters that call these wetlands their home. 

It was quiet in the wetlands at the start of our hike.  Many of the song birds had already left our area and began their long southward migration. There were a few wood ducks on  the shores of the canal but they quickly flew off as we approached. My friend saw a green heron, she has much better eyesight than me and is great at spotting wildlife. It also flew away as we approached but I was able to capture one image as it peered around a tree. It will also  soon be migrating south. 

She  also spotted this red tailed hawk high on a  dead tree branch across a pond.

Because of the clouds and distance these were   the best photos I could get. 

We walked down to the Water Fowl Pond,

where we saw this American goldfinch with puffed out feathers as it preened itself. 

Again my friend saw   a  belted kingfisher catch a  fish across the pond. Because my camera is not good in the poor lighting conditions I  could  not get a good  photo. We saw another pair of kingfishers perched  on a log, 

and another  green heron,

We watched a pileated woodpecker land on another dead tree looking for insects under the bark. 

I love seeing these regal looking woodpeckers. We watched it awhile as it flew to another tree before flying off into the cloudy sky. 

We continued our hike  toward the river lands section of the small nature preserve, 

noticing the first fallen leaves of the season. I love the large leaves of the sycamore trees. 

There  were still a few wildflowers blooming along the trail including white wood asters, 

jewel weed or touch-me not flowers, 

vivid and pretty great blue lobelia flowers 

and sneezeweed flowers. 

The recent rains also brought out a few mushrooms along the trail including  gilled bolete, 

these honey mushrooms 

and this russula mushroom.

Many of the plants and trees in the wetlands and river  lands were now laden with the fruits, nuts and berries they produced over the Summer, The  hazel nut, 

and black walnut trees  produced  great crops this year. 

Spicebush berries,

pokeweed berries , 

and tearthumb berries were a few of the many  now found in the wetlands and riverlands. 

While still in the wetlands we saw a tree with a flock of cedar waxwings.

A few wood ducks were swimming  on the duck weed  covered ponds,

but quickly  flew off as we approached. 

We did see a pretty magnolia warbler,

a few cardinals, this is a female, 

and gray catbirds in the wetlands.

We left the wetlands and walked into the river lands, 

and along Lake Took A While. 

We saw  this  great blue heron across the lake

and this warbling vireo  in the woodlands  along the lake, 

There were also a few pretty wildflowers growing along the lake including, evening primrose flowers, 

cutleaf cone flowers, 

purple loosestrife, 

white turtlehead flowers, 

and a lot of species of goldenrod. I think this is Canada goldenrod. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the plants and fungi I saw on our five mile hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands plants September 9 2023. 

There were  still a few dragonflies fluttering  and darting along the  waters of the lake and canals in the wetlands and river lands. This I believe is a ruby meadowhawk.

this a blue dasher, 

and this large one, a common green darner. 

And this  very tiny least skipper was  also one of the few butterflies and other insects still about as the  Summer near it’s end. 

Walking back on the other side of the canal along the lake  We  saw this  gray squirrel, which at  first we thought was carrying a dead animal. It turned out to be one of her babies she was relocating to another nest. 

We also saw another squirrel , who also saw us , 

before  it crawled into a hollow in a tree.

There were a few female red winged black birds in the farm fields along the trail gathering together as they begin  their southern migration. 

We returned to the wetlands area of the reserve were and saw this eastern phoebe along a canal. It would be the last  bird I would see on our five mile hike.  Here is a link to gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds September 9 2023. 

The sun had  broken from the clouds and a few turtles were basking in the late Summer sun.

We didn’t see any of the more exotic critters that live in the wetlands but it was still an pleasant  hike  and I was  glad I was able to get some photos to share   and show the beauty of the wetlands. It is wonderful asset to our area.Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike in the wetlands on Saturday Susquehanna Wetlands September 9 2023. 

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder


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