A cold front arrived in Northeastern Pennsylvania last weekend and it was a cool 57 degrees when I returned to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County early Sunday. morning. It was mostly sunny with a few wispy cirrus clouds in the blue sky.
As usual I walked down to Susquehanna River. It was even lower than my last visit.
Many rocks were exposed in the middle of the river. I am sure I could have walked to the other side. I had to climb down the usual banks of the river. We desperately need rain.
As I was standing along the waters of the river a pair of great blue herons flew overhead. I am sure they are enjoying the low water levels of the river. It must be much easier fishing in the shrunken river.
After watching the herons I climbed up the river bank and walked into the wetlands. The drought has not affected the large old trees and other vegetation in the wetlands and they are still lush and green.
It was quiet as I walked along the old canals and ponds. The cicadas were not active yet because of the cool morning temperatures. The red-winged black birds and many of the song birds have already left the wetlands and began there migration south. I did hear a few birds in the tree tops including an eastern phoebe and some gray catbirds. I also heard and saw this red bellied woodpecker perched on a tree branch,
and this wood duck perched on a log on a pond.
There were a few other critter active in the wetlands including this rabbit and
a few gray squirrels.
The Summer is more than half over and now and there were few wildflowers in the wetlands. Only the goldenrod and
purple loosestrife were booming along the trails.
Most of the high bush blueberries and blackberries had been eaten buy the birds and I found only a few blackberries on my hike.
Mid-August is usually the start of the mushroom season but because of the dry conditions this was the only mushroom I saw on my five mile hike .
I followed the trail that was under water for most of the Spring, but now exposed because of the lack of rain,
it took me to the water fowl pond. A couple of great blue herons and a green heron flew off as I approached but there were no mallard or wood ducks on the pond.
I left the water fowl pond and began my walk to the river lands. Along the way I saw this pretty yellow throated vireo.
It’s appeared to be a fledging and was exploring the wetlands on its own for the first time.
It will soon start it’s first migration south to Mexico, the Caribbean Islands or even northern South America. It is amazing such a tiny bird can travel this long distance.
Nearby I also saw this tufted titmouse,
this white-breasted nuthatch,
a red-eyed vireo and ,
a small flock of black-capped chickadees. It seems that many different species of birds flock together to gather food as a means of protection from predators. It seems there is safety in numbers. It is my theory anyway.
I also saw this great blue heron wading in a green, duck weed covered pond.
I continued my hike through the wetlands,
and walked back down to the river where I had seen bald eagles, belted kingfishers and wood ducks on my previous hikes. None of them were around on Sunday morning. I walked under the ancient trees along the river hoping to find some mushrooms. There were none.
There were some ghost or Indian pipes. These strange , exotic plants resemble fungi. but are actually flowering plants that do not produce chlorophyll.
As usual I left the wetlands area of the nature preserve and entered the river lands.
I took the trail along Lake Took-A-While.
I encountered the swarms of large, threatening looking cicada killer wasps. This large wasps are actually harmless and very docile.
There were more wildflowers blooming here on the trails in the river lands including bull thistles,
evening primrose flowers,
and cutleaf coneflowers.
There were also many berries on the pokeweed plants.
I walked to the end of the lake seeing a few more critters along the way including, what I believe is a pearl crescent butterfly,
an American goldfinch,
a belted kingfisher
and this cool snapping turtle that was floating on the water on the canal along the trail. It dived before I could get some better photos. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds August 14 2022.
I began my hike back to the wetlands. The still strong August sun warmed up the cool morning air. It was a gorgeous day to be outdoors.
Although I didn’t see much more wildlife it was still a pleasant walk through the wetlands. I finished my five mile hike without seeing any exotic critters like bald eagles, bears or snakes but i was still glad to see some birds, insects and other critters and to share them here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Susquehanna Wetlands hike August 14 2022.
August is that last flicker of fun and heat before everything fades and dies. The final moments of fun before the freeze. In the winter, everything changes. Rasmenia Massoud