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