A Cool And Quiet June Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands And Riverlands.

A Cool And Quiet June Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands And Riverlands.

Susqueyhanna Wetlands birds (20 of 41)
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Once again I missed a weekend hike at the Susquehanna Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township in Luzerne County. I try and visit my favorite hiking trails at least once a week in the Spring and Summer. There is so much growth and new life in the Spring in wetlands that you can see the changes almost daily. Not so in the Winter months, you can miss a month and everything is basically the same, cold and lifeless. So I knew I would see some changes in the two week interval since my last visit.

It was a cool, partly cloudy June morning with temperatures in the low 50’s when I arrived at the wetlands. I first visited the ponds along the access road into the wetlands. A trail was cleared and you can now walk to, and view,  the Water Fowl Pond. I always visit the pond later on my hike. I hoped to see some water fowl,  especially wood duck ducklings or great blue herons.  There were none. The only critter I saw was this cottontail rabbit scurrying along the trail.

I returned to my Jeep and drove to the parking lot at the wetlands,

and, as usual I first walked down to the Susquehanna River.  The water had receded since mu last visit.

I walked back up to  the wetlands and I saw some of these delicate mushrooms growing in the grass. I believe they are a species of inkcap mushroom.

Singing in a tree near my Jeep was this eastern wood peewee, a small flycatcher that is similar to the eastern phoebe. However, their  songs and calls are very different and distinctive.

I walked into wetlands and under the canopy of leaves that were still lush and green.

There were some changes since my last visit, the skunk cabbages,  once lush and green continued to deteriorate.

The blackberry brambles now had fruit,

and the elderberry bushes now had flowers. These berries will ripen in August.

Once again the heavenly  fragrance of the invasive Japanese  honeysuckles  filled the cool morning air. This was the second blooming of these flowers. They first bloomed in early May. I loved the beautiful aroma of these flowers.

I walked on the trail through the wetlands and to the Water Fowl Pond,

again I saw no water fowl on the pond, but as usually I  did see some birds in the surrounding woodlands,  including American robins,

this colorful yellow warbler,

a noisy gray catbird,

and a few cedar waxwings.

A turkey vulture flew overhead as I was leaving the pond.

The path to the pond was not flooded as it had been most of the Winter. ,I believe there was some work down on the drains on the ponds in the wetlands.

As usual,  I next hike on the trail towards the river lands area of the nature preserve.

On the way I saw this female red -winged blackbird,

so different than the male. I also saw some wood duck ducklings but they quickly swam into the reeds along a canal.

And, I was excited and delighted to hear than see a yellow billed cuckoo. This was only the second time I saw one of these birds in Pennsylvania. The other time was when one perched and posed for me in the State Game Lands in Dennison Township. I also heard one in Locust Lake State Park last Summer but didn’t see it.

I was only able to get a few photos, not very good ones, and it took over a 1/2 hour to get them. .

After trying to photo the yellow bill cuckoo I saw this more common song sparrow,

and another gray catbird singing along the trail .

I left the wetlands as the strong June sun warmed the cool morning air,

and walked into the river lands and the trail along Lake Took-A-While.   There were a few fishermen along the shore of the lake,

and this large flock of Canada geese in a procession on the lake.

There were three families in the parade.

The goslings have grown so much since my last visit, each family of geese having goslings of a different age and size. 

Along the lake I saw a warbling vireo singing in a treetop. These birds seem to never stop singing. 

As usual. I  walked to the far end of the lake,

and on the way saw this red-eyed vireo,

and a couple of eastern phoebes.

There was also a gray squirrel feeding on mulberries growing along the  canal next to the trail,

it would drop the mulberries into the canal then scamper down and gather them out of the water. After watching the squirrel enjoy it’s morning mulberry meal,

And then  began my hike back to the wetlands.

Along the way I noticed, and took photos, of some of the wildflowers, blooming along the trail, including, moth mullein,

spotted knapweed.

and border privet flowers. All of these species are invasive, and threaten out native wildflowers, but some do still attract insects, like this bumblebee feeding on the privet flowers.

The milkweed ,

and staghorn sumac trees  both had buds, again  reminding  me that Spring is nearing it’s end and soon Summer will come to the wetlands.

I saw a few more insects on the hike back to the wetlands including this  red-spotted purple butterfly,

and this summer azure butterfly. .

There wasn’t a lot of bird activity back in the wetlands,

but,   as I  was finishing my five mile hike I did see this beautiful pileated woodpecker foraging for insects on a dead tree trunk. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website  with some more photos of the birds I saw on my  early June hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds June 8 2024.

I didn’t see the more exotic wildlife that lives in the wetlands and river lands on this June hike. I have seen red foxes, bald eagles, river otters, cinnamon bears and even a bobcat in the wetlands. But it was still another great hike and I am, as always glad to share some of the beauty I found here in my blog. It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend and  I hope to get back to the wetlands. But if I don’t it will be because I am hiking in another  of the many wonderful parks and forest here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website  with some more photos from my  early June hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands June 8 2024.

“It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses, 

When pleasant sights salute the eyes, And pleasant scents the noses.” – Nathaniel Parker Willis

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