A Pleasant Late November Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands: And Me Thinks I Am Becoming A Birder
The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines a birder as ” a person who observes or identifies wild birds in their habitats”. I guess this could include a lot of my friends and folks I know. Everyone likes to see and hear the birds in their back yard. However, I always thought of birder as one of the folks who had a greater love for birds, who were intensely passionate in their pursuit to observe and identify the different species of our feathered friends. It seemed almost like an obsession. Birders I have met knew all of the birds on their ” lifer” list and where they first saw them. They would spend countless hours and travel to exotic places trying to find birds to add to their “lifer” lists. . And, on my travels, many birders would rather see an exotic and rare bird then a lion, a kangaroo or a rattlesnake. Not me, I was always looking for the bigger and more dangerous critters.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in seeing birds. I always loved all of nature. When I was young, and exploring the woods near my home in Green Ridge, my friends and I was more interested in the larger more exciting, interesting and dangerous critters like bears, foxes, snakes, frogs and spiders. I knew a few of our common birds here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. the robins, blue jays, and crows. And I knew what sparrows and woodpeckers were but I couldn’t tell them apart. It was only after I purchased my digital camera and first zoom lens about 10 years ago did I begin to slowly learn about the many different, colorful and interesting species of birds that live around us and often go un-noticed.
Over the years, as I photographed more birds on my hikes I became more interested, and I slowly I learned to distinguish sparrows, warblers and vireos. I spent more time looking for them. And now I can say I have become more passionate in my search to observe, identify and photograph the many species of birds I see here on my hikes in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and my travels around our beautiful planet.
I find myself spending hours on my hikes looking for and photographing them. I love sharing their beauty. However, I probably would still rather photograph a bear, bobcat or rattlesnake up close. But there are many opportunities to photograph birds and I now enjoy adding new species I see to my own “life list”. So, to you regular followers of my blog, I apologize for the increase in the photos of birds I now share. I am addicted. I think I may have become a birder. And, so I will did see share a few more , from another five mile hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands on Saturday. It was a sunny and cool morning , with an above average temperature in the low 40’s when I arrive at the wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County. After walking down to the Susquehanna River,
I walked into the wetlands. It was strangely quiet as I walked beneath the leafless trees.
until a heard the call of a white breasted nuthatch, and I soon saw this one scrambling down the trunk, then along the branches of a tree.
I heard , and saw a small flock of winter wrens fluttering among the cattail reeds.
I also saw an American robin who remained in the area and was perched in a tree.
As I was leaving he wetlands, and nearing the river lands area of the nature preserve I saw a beautiful pileated woodpecker on the ground in front of me. I rarely see these magnificent birds on the ground. I flew onto a tree branch before I could get a photo.
As I have learned , that in the colder months, the birds that remain in our area feed in groups. I also saw a northern flicker nearby,
there was also a flock of black-capped chickadees feeding in the trees. I think the other birds follow these noisy chattering birds as they feed in the woodlands.
There were a few tufted titmice feeding on the ground
And a few downy woodpeckers also joined this group of birds.
There was not a lot of bird activity until I saw this red-tailed hawk soaring high overhead.
and saw a few more birds along the trail, including a few northern cardinals, this is a brightly colored male
and a few eastern bluebirds.
I also saw a flock of European starlings. These birds are invasive and I don’t like them. They were introduced into North America in Central Park , New York City in the 1890s. A 100 birds were released by Shakespeare enthusiasts.
They threaten our native species of birds and I rarely photograph them. However, I on my hike Saturday I photographed this one by mistake. I thought it was a red-winged blackbird. I never realized that the too, are pretty birds when seen more closely.
I heard the song of this beautiful bird, a Carolina wren. I soon saw this petite birds singing loudly on a branch along the trail. I love hearing the songs, especially in the Spring. Here is a link to a gallery with some more of he birds I saw on my hike in he wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds November 26 2022.
There is less life in the wetlands now, nature is taking its annual winter slumber. However I enjoy looking for the critters, and birds that remain here in the cold. And I will be out here on the coldest of days trying to photograph and share my photos here on my blog. . This is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands November 26 2022.
“Sometimes I think that the point of birdwatching is not the actual seeing of the birds, but the cultivation of patience. Of course, each time we set out, there’s a certain amount of expectation we’ll see something, maybe even a species we’ve never seen before, and that it will fill us with light. But even if we don’t see anything remarkable – and sometimes that happens – we come home filled with light anyway.”