The Fall colors are nearing their pick near my home in Hazle Towsnhip, Luzerne County. Their was sunshine in the forecast so early Saturday I decided to drive to the Susquehanna Wetlands again, to see the Fall colors, and, hopefully, the family of river otters I saw the week before. It was overcast when I left my home but the skies had cleared by the time I arrived at the wetlands after a 1/2 hour drive. There was some mist rising off of the Susquehanna River. The recent rains had raised the water lever but the river was still low.
I left the river and hiked into the wetlands. The greens of Summer had transformed into their Fall colors which looked splendid in the morning sunshine. It is a beautiful time of year.
So many colors. Every leaf was a painting. I could have photographed hundreds, each unique and beautiful. I will share a few, these high bush blueberry leaves,
this yellow spice bush leaf and
these staghorn sumac leaves. I took more photos but will not share them because in addition to the spectacular display of color, I also saw a lot more birds than I expected.
Soon after I entered the wetlands I saw these wood ducks, and many others, who, as usually quickly flew off as I approached.
This Carolina wren was singing it’s song in the cool morning air.
There was a large flock of white-throated sparrows fluttering near the ground when I entered the wetlands, and I would see more flocks my entire five mile hike.
This white breasted nuthatch was scurrying up a tree looking for seeds or insects.
As usual I walked to the Water Fowl pond.
This is where I saw the river otters last week. As I approached a few wood ducks first flew off before I could get any photos , and as I got closer, these blue winged teals
flew off too, but I was able to get a some photos as they did. However, I was disappointed not to find the river otters.
There were a few swamp sparrows and song sparrows, shown here near the pond.
I left the pond and hiked along the trail in the wetlands as leaves slowly fell from the trees and
covered the ground. It was a peaceful and pleasant morning hike.
And, unexpectedly, I found some wild mushrooms, a few puffballs, some shrimp of the woods (aborted entomola) and ponpinkies or honey mushrooms ( that is there local Polish or Slavic name they are also locally know as stumpies or stumpers). I was able to gather enough of these mushrooms for a nice meal that evening. (Please don’t consume any wild mushroom unless you are sure it is edible. There are many poisonous and a few deadly mushrooms growing in out woodlands).
I continued my walk under the colorful trees in the wetlands and once again saw large flocks of red-winged blackbirds in the treetops migrating through our area. This is a male.
There were also a lot of our year round birds, the friendly black-capped chickadees.
I walked back down to the river hoping to see the otters, or maybe a kingfisher or bald eagle but there were no critters stirring Saturday.
I left the wetlands and walked into the river lands area of the nature preserve. There were a few wildflowers still blooming along the way. including New England asters,
white snakeroot flowers,
and the last of the goldenrod flowers. Soon the wetlands will be flowerless until the first warms days of Spring.
In the river lands Lake Took-A-While was reflecting the beautiful Fall colors of the trees and the deep blue skies above.
Here I saw a large flock of one of my favorite birds. the cedar waxwing,
I love seeing these proud looking and elegant birds.
There were also a few robins,
an eastern phoebe and
a winter wren near the lake. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds October 15 2022.
As usual I walked to the far end of the lake, and began my hike back. I would see no new species of birds on y return hike. I did enjoy the beautiful colors of the trees.
On my return hike I noticed these delicate silky seeds in a milkweed pod,
and saw these milkweed bugs on another pod.
The only other critters I would see were these turtles sunning on the same log as my last visit.
I finished up my five mile walk in the golden woodlands of the wetlands. I really do love Fall, until the leaves disappear. I wish Winter didn’t have to follow and we could move right to Spring. This, of course, is wishful thinking and soon these wonderful Fall colors will be replaced with the drab grays and browns of Winter. Only 5 1/2 months until Spring!!! Here is a link to another gallery with some more photos from my hike under the trees dressed in their the Fall colors in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands October 15 2022.
“Autumn leaves shower like gold, like rainbows, as the winds of change begin to blow.”– Dan Millman