A Heavy Frost And The First Ice In The Susquehanna Wetlands.

A Heavy Frost And The First Ice In The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Susquehanna Wetlands (4 of 28)
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As usual I decided to hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County  on Saturday. Last week it was unseasonably mild. Not this week. Temperatures fell into the low 20’s overnight. A weak November sun shone on the clear blue skies when I arrived at the wetlands and walked to thew banks of the Susquehanna River.  

A thick frost had  settled in the wetlands, 

and some ice, the first ice I had seen, hard formed on the canals, 

and ponds in the wetlands.

At first it was quiet. There were no birds singing when I first arrived. However, when I approached the Water Fowl pond, I heard the chatter of a small flock of winter wrens. 

In the Summer months these tiny birds are usually alone or in pairs. It seems they, like many birds,  gather together with the onset of the colder weather. I think this may be for protection from predators,  mainly hawks now that they do not have the tree leaves to for cover. 

There were also a few song sparrows, white-throated sparrows and this swamp sparrow now active in the wetlands.

I thought the ice that formed would have caused the wood ducks and other water fowl to leave the wetlands. But,  there was a small area of open water on one of the canals.  I wasn’t  watching for the the water fowl  and was disappointed when three wood ducks flew off from an area of open water right in front of me.  They may remain in the area. on the Susquehanna River for a few more weeks. 

There were no wild flowers blooming in the wetlands. The only colors to contrast with the brown and grays  on the bare trees were the bright red common winterberries, 

and the greens of the garlic mustard leaves,

intermediate fern fronds and 

princess pine moss.

Unlike last week I did not see  any woodpeckers active in the wetlands. I did hear the song, and saw,  a few Carolina wrens  and,

saw this brown creeper and

white breasted nuthatch crawling on tree trunks. 

As I walked through the wetlands I met a fellow photographer enjoying the  cold morning and also saw this deer running through the woodlands. 

I walked back down to the river and, 

then into the wetlands area of the nature preserve . 

Some cumulus formed as I walked along Lake Took-A-While.

Across the lake, 

I saw this male common merganser swimming on the cold waters of the lake. 

In the trees along the lake I saw quite a few birds including a small flock of eastern bluebirds, 

a flock of dark eyed juncos, 

downy woodpecker and.

it’s larger cousin, a hairy woodpecker. 

There were also a lot of black-capped chickadees  and

this my beautiful bird, an American goldfinch.

It was feeding on some alder seeds and didn’t mind me getting close to watch. 

I think it was a juvenile and experiencing it’s first frigid morning. 

In the distance I heard the honking of Canada geese and this flock 

flew from the river and landed on the lake.  Here  is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds November 19 2022. 

I began my walk back to the wetlands as  more clouds moved in and darkened the sky. 

When I got back to the wetlands it  looked like the ice actual thickened on the ponds and canals. The weak  November sun does little to warm the cold air. The wetlands were beginning their  Winter sleep. I hope it is only a short nap this year. I am already looking for the  first skunk cabbages and  red-winged blackbirds to appear in the Spring Here is a link to a galley with some more photos from my hike in the wetlands.  Susquehanna Wetlands November 19 2022. 

But frost, like the crystallized dreams of autumn, began to coat the clearing with its sugar glaze.” ― Victoria Steele Logue

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