A Kingfisher, An Eagle and Wood Duck, Oh My! Another Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands
It is hard to believe, for me anyway , that Summer arrived last week. Spring passed so quickly. But , it was a perfect summer morning when I awoke Saturday. There was hazy sunshine, a light breeze and pleasant temperatures in the low 60’s. Of course, I decided to take the half hour drive to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County to see what wildlife I might find. There was, what I thought was good omen, as I dr9ve on the access road to the wetlands. I saw this silhouette of a great blue heron perched on a tree in the early morning sun. And it was a good omen, since it was a good day for observing wildlife at the wetlands.
After I parked my Jeep in the wetlands parking lot,
as usual, I walked down to the Susquehanna River,
and then began my hike in the wetlands. The woodlands were so lush and green. It is a wonderful time of year to walk under the canopy of leaves on a sunny morning.
Sunshine and green leaves are a magical combination.
I love the shadows the sunshine creates on the leaves in the early morning..
The walk was made more magical by the many birds singing in the trees. I was able to capture an image of this red- eyed vireo singing loudly in a tree tops.
There were other birds, sparrows, warblers and flycatchers adding their song to the chorus. I am not sure if you could call it singing but the red-winged blackbirds, and the gray catbirds added their voices to the chorus.
As a walked along I heard a loud rapping in a tree top and observed this red-bellied woodpecker,
using it’s sharp, long beak to try and find insect in a tree trunk.
I didn’t see any more birds or other wildlife on the trail in the wetlands as I made my way to the river lands area of the nature preserve.
As usual, I took a side trail down to the river. I often see some type of bird perched on a branch that protrudes out over the river.
And, sure enough, I was lucky and saw this belted kingfisher perched on the branch.
And this scene got better. As I was taking photos of the kingfisher, something disturbed it and it flew off of the branch,
as I watched in amazement. this juvenile bald eagle swooped down and took its place.
I couldn’t believe it. It looked like it was watching something, ,
but then noticed me, looked me in the eye. and it wasn’t a happy look,
and it flew off. It was an amazing moment.
And there was more. As I watched a family of wood ducks swam under the branch and on the river.
I think the bald eagle planned to have one for it’s breakfast. I watched the wood ducks swim on the river until the swam under the shelter of the overhanging trees. It was a remarkable experience of being at the right place at the right time. Wood ducks, bald eagles and kingfishers are my favorite critters to photograph, and some of the the most elusive, on my visits to the wetlands. It was another magical moment in this magical place for me. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the kingfishers and bald eagle. Susquehanna Wetlands bald eagle /kingfishers. June 25 2022.
And I would see more wildlife on my hike. After seeing this terrific trio, I continued my hike toward the river lands and saw another trio of critters this cottontail rabbit,
There were also some summer wildflowers blooming along the trail including native wallflowers, and
common milkweed flowers as well as,
the invasive spotted knapweed flowers , The milkweed and knapweed will attract butterflies, wasps, bees and other insects.
Just before the river lands, along the canal I always see some birds activity. In the winter this is were there are a lot of poison ivy berries and winter resident birds. In the Spring and Summer I see a lot of birds here too, and did on Saturday, including this Baltimore oriole,
and tufted titmouse. As I said, the great blue heron I saw on my drive into the wetlands was a good omen. It was a good day for seeing the wild critters in the wetlands.
And it was a beautiful mostly sunny day too. I walked into the River Lands,
and enjoyed the scenic views of Lake-Took-A-While,
Here I saw this tree swallow perched high on this tree branch overlooking the lake.
As I walked along the lake I saw more wildflowers along the trail including swamp milkweed and
There were a few dragonflies darting along the shores of the lake too.
Near the far end of the lake I saw , for the first time in a couple of weeks, some Canada geese along the shores of the lake,
and was treated to another opportunity to photograph a belted kingfisher.
I love seeing this chatty birds that are always on the move. They are not easy to photograph.
It was so nice our I decided to continue my hike. I usually start back at the end of the lake and hike miles miles in the wetlands. On Saturday I continued on the Susquehanna Warrior Trail for another mile.
And I continued to see some wildlife, including this red-tailed hawk soaring overhead.
I was out about 3 1/2 miles when I realized it was getting hot. The temperature was in the mid 80’s. So, reluctantly I decided to head back. It was a long walk, and I probably should have taken some water. On the way I saw and heard a lot more birds but I was more interested of getting back then taking photographs, so I continued walking. I did stop to take a few photos of this great blue heron perched on a log. It may have been the same one that was a good omen at the start of my hike.
noticing the red honeysuckle berries,
and raspberries along the way.
I was glad when I got back into the shade in the wetlands.
I would see a few more bird on my walk but only photographed this friendly blue-gray gnatcatcher.
These birds are usually elusive and never stand still. This little fellow seemed like it wanted me to take photos, so I obliged. It was a good way to end a good day for seeing and photographing the many birds in the wetlands. Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds. June 25 2022.
Although I enjoyed this wonderful summer hike, and all the critters I saw I was glad to see my Jeep in the parking lot of the wetlands. I had hiked 7 miles and was thirsty and probably even more hungry. However, I enjoyed every minute of my walk in the wetlands on this first weekend of summer. I was again treated to many cool critters, beautiful wildflowers and scenery . I know i will be back soon. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands. June 25 2022.
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~ Charles Darwin