A Late Afternoon Hike Through Now Lush And Green Susquehanna Wetlands
I changed my usual routine last weekend , I had a to attend a graduation ceremony on Saturday, so I decided to hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township , Luzerne County late Friday afternoon. I usually hike here early in the morning on weekends hoping to see, hear and photograph some of the abundant wildlife that lives here along the Susquehanna River.
It was a sultry afternoon with summer-like temperatures in the low 80 degrees. I didn’t expect to see much wildlife activity in the afternoon heat but you never know what to expect when you hike in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I thought I might see some snakes, turtles and frogs, cold blooded animals, who love the afternoon heat. The woodlands in the wetlands were now lush and green. The afternoon sun filtered through the new leaves,
that now covered the trees. Even the oaks sprouted leaves since my last hike only a week ago.
In addition to the light green leaves flowers continued to bloom along the trails, mostly the same ones I saw on my last hike, the common blue violets,
and May apple or mandrake flowers were strewn throughout the wetlands.
They were joined by the first Dame’s rocket flowers, Soon the woodlands will be covered in these pretty and edible invasive wildflowers.
And when flowers appear so do the insects. I saw my first spicebush swallowtail butterfly feeding on some honeysuckle flowers.
The honeysuckle flowers were now in full bloom throughout the wetlands and river lands filing the air with there wonderful fragrance.
It was, as I thought it would be, quiet in the wetlands as I continued my walk. . I heard a few red-winged blackbirds and this American redstart and
red-eyed vireo. Both are migratory birds and both very common in our woodlands.
I walked to the Water Fowl ponds. There were no ducks or geese on the pond in the afternoon sun. A green heron flew off before I could get a photos.
Walking back toward the river lands I saw this solitary sandpiper. As I wrote in my last blog these long distance migrants are just passing through, heading to their breeding grounds in Canada.
As I expected there was not a lot of birds active in the afternoon heat.
I did see this cottontail rabbit and a few snake. The snakes all slithered off before I could get a photo.
I walked through the wetlands,
When I got to the bridge over a canal in the river lands I saw this garter snake,
and was able to get a few photos before it crawled under the bridge.
I walked along Lake Took-A-While,
and neither the many fishermen and Canada geese I saw on my last hike were on or near the lake. In fact I only saw one other person on my five mile hike.
But I did start seeing some birds including a few pretty yellow warblers.
I love seeing their bright yellow contrasting the fresh new green leaves.
I also saw a few male red-winged blackbirds singing along the trail.
As usual I walked to the end of the lake. It was now late in the afternoon and the cooler temperatures brought out the birds. I saw a pair of eastern phoebes,
and this blue gray gnatcatcher all fluttering around a bride over the canal.
I am guessing the color temperatures may have caused some insect activity and these birds were feasting on the insects.
I was able to get a lot of good photos of the birds in the trees over the canal.
And as I began my hike back to the wetlands in the now evening sun,
and a few common grackles along the trail.
And as I left the river lands I saw this beautiful Baltimore oriole in a tree near the canal.
I love these cheerful birds that spend the winter in the jungles of South America to return and provide song in our Spring woodlands , yards and fields. I was glad to have seen so many of these migratory birds as I was finishing my hike. I love seeing them and sharing them here with the readers of my blog. This is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds May 12 2023.
The sun was now lower in the northwestern sky and it’s golden rays created a magical world as it filtered through the new green leaves on the trees in the wetlands. It was late and was tired and hungry so I didn’t stop to photograph the many birds singing in the wetlands.
I did stop to photograph this pickerel frog near a canal along the trail. Well that is what my INATURALIST app identified it as, I thought it might me a leopard frog I have never seen a pickerel frog in the wetlands before.
As I finished my five mile hike the early evening sun turned the new leaves to an almost golden green. It was a very pleasant time to be in the wetlands. I am going to have to take more of these late afternoon walks in the wetlands, especially in May, it is a magical time of year. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands May 12 2023.
“At last came the golden month of the wild folk– honey-sweet May, when the birds come back, and the flowers come out, and the air is full of the sunrise scents and songs of the dawning year.”
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