A Lot Of Birds, Some Turtles And A Snake At The Susquehanna Wetlands And River Lands

A Lot Of Birds, Some Turtles And A Snake At The Susquehanna Wetlands And River Lands

Susquehanna Wetlands (25 of 41)
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I returned to the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands  in Salem Township Luzerne County on Friday. This Friday however, I arrived early, around 8:15 a.m. and met a photographer friend. It was mostly sunny but a chilly 40 degrees when we began our hike. 

We first walked down to the  Susquehanna River hoping to see the bald eagles that are nesting along the river. We didn’t see any  eagle or any other water fowl so we headed to the  trails in the wetlands area of this small nature preserve. 

On the trails in  the wetlands,

there were signs of spring every where. The pretty azure bluets were now blooming and added some much welcome color to the drab Winter browns and grays  in the wetlands. 

The  northern spicebush and

common chokecherry were putting forth their first leaves. 

And, the skunk cabbages continued to grow adding  patches of bright green  to the still drab woodlands. 

It was quiet in the wetlands. The wood frogs and spring peepers were not active because of the cold temperatures.   We did hear the cries of the many red-winged blackbirds that have returned to the wetlands. The males are very territorial and loudly defend their  breeding areas and females that  nest there. 

There were also this  American robins singing in a treetop,

a couple of Canada geese nesting near the reeds , 

and a few much welcomed yellow-rumped warblers, you can see from this photo where they got their name,  in the wetlands. 

Other then these few birds,  there wasn’t a lot of wildlife   activity at the start of our hike. 

I was disappointed we didn’t see any wood ducks. I have been seeing a lot of them om my previous hikes. I believe the car  we saw in the parking lot, and it’s occupant(s) could be the reason.  They probably scared the wood ducks who often fly to the river when disturbed. It was still nice walking through the wetlands in the early morning sun. 

We walked back down to the river again and saw this pair of double-crested cormorants  perched on a log. 

They soon flew off across the river.

I also saw this belted kingfisher perched on a tree branch along the river but it quickly flew away as we approached. 

As we walked into the river  lands section of the nature preserve, the strong April sun warmed up the chilly morning air and the many painted turtles that live in the waters of the wetlands began to emerge. The spring peeper frogs also became active and started to fill the wetlands with their spring song. 

We walked into the river lands  where scenic  Lake Took-A-While reflected the  clear blue skies. 

There were no ducks or geese on the lake, just s few double-crested cormorants and this water bird  which we later identified as a horned grebe. 

 There were a lot more birds active in the woodlands along the lake, including a few northern cardinals, 

song sparrows, 

an eastern phoebe, 

a tree swallow, which was perched on a tree branch,  and, 

what I  believe  is a downy woodpecker,  although it might be a larger hairy woodpecker. 

We walked to about the mid-point of the lake and began our hike back.

As we walked back a  turkey vulture flew overhead 

and we saw some more signs of Spring along the trail.  A callery pear tree was blooming along the lake. 

This bull thistle was  beginning to sprout it’s first leaves and 

this marsh blue violet was in bloom on the trails in the wetlands. 

As the temperatures rose under the strong April sun many more turtles became active and based in the warm sunshine in logs in the canals and ponds. 

This fellow looks like he got stuck on a stump. 

My friend was surprised when she almost steeped on this critter that also enjoying the warmer temperatures. 

I believe it was a brown snake. 

 She is not a big fan of snakes and was not thrilled with her close encounter with the snake.  

The frogs also joined their cold-blooded cousins and made an appearance in the wetlands. 

After seeing the snake and frog , we continued walking along the trail  in the wetlands and saw a small flock of blue-winged teals  swimming near some Canada geese. These would be the last critters I would see on this hike.   Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the birds I saw in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands April 15 2022.

It had warmed up nicely and turned out to be a beautiful Spring day. I could have hiked until sunset. However, I still had to finish my Federal income taxes and then dye Easter eggs with my great-nephews so I had to end my hike.  It was a great day for a great hike with a great friend. We got some cool photographs.  (She is a much better photographer than me).  Here is a link to some more photographs of the snake, turtles and scenery on our  hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands April 15 2022. 


“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”  – Frank Lloyd Wright

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