A Rainy And Wet Walk In The Susquehanna Wetlands And An Encounter With A Mommy Snapping Turtle

A Rainy And Wet Walk In The Susquehanna Wetlands And An Encounter With A Mommy Snapping Turtle

Susquehanna Wetlands (18 of 34)
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It was another Saturday with rain in the forecast here in Luzerne County in  Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last Saturday I avoided the rain. Not this week. I drove to the Susquehanna Wetlands  in Salem Township because  my interpretation of the radar maps led me to believe  the rain would miss this area. I was wrong.  It was cloudy with a light rain falling when I arrived. Heavier rain was forecast for later in the morning. 

Always the optimist, I decided to hike, with my camera, anyway. The light rain continued  as began my hike on the trails in the wetlands. I first walked down to the Susquehanna River and then into the wetlands.

All of the trees were now completely covered with new  lush green leaves. They were even more vibrant and alive covered with rain. I love the woods in late May.

There were birds singing in the tree tops but I couldn’t get any good photos  because of the clouds and rain. I heard American redstarts, red-eyed vireos, song sparrows and blue-gray gnatcatchers, The only birds that came close enough to photograph was  an American goldfinch and

this yellow warbler. You can see the photos are not very sharp. 

The rain intensified for awhile and I couldn’t use my camera as I continued my hike. It then slowed up and I decided to photograph some of the many  wildflowers now blooming in the wetlands. The Philadelphia fleabane and

Dame’s rocket could be found everywhere along the trails in the wetlands. 

White blackberry flowers were also blooming profusely along the trail. 

A few delicate and pretty night shade flowers could be seen. 

And, blooming along the canals and ponds in the wetlands were many different, 

and pretty shades of the blue flags.  The rain could not diminish the beauty of the wetlands in Spring. 

The light rain continued  making it difficult to get photos of the birds in the wetlands but I was able to see and get this photo of a muskrat munching on duck weed.

And I saw these two male red-winged blackbirds rolling on the ground engaged in a fight over territory I am guessing. 

I continued my hike  through the wetlands when it began  to rain heavily again. 

I walked to the Susquehanna River and was going to follow the trail along the river  back to my  Jeep.  The rains ended as fast as they began but  continued my hike on what was once, the Great Warrior’s Path , one of the Native Americans main trails in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I enjoyed my walk under the towering ancient trees, reflecting on the many generations of Native Americans who also walked these same path. 

There were many ferns along the trail. I misidentified some ferns in my last blog post, I am no expert so I hope I got these right. I believe these are  hay-scented ferns, 

these ostrich ferns,

these interrupted ferns,

these lady ferns and

these western sword ferns and these

sensitive ferns. 

I also saw some Gray’s sedge plants on the trail along the river.

The light rain continued to fall but I decided to walk over to the river lands area of the nature preserve. I am glad I did, on the way I came upon this scene, a mother snapping turtle laying here eggs. 

I was so lucky to stumble upon this. The poor mommy turtle was  in the middle of the process and was already exhausted.  I had learned when I was observing sea turtles  lay their egg in Trinidad and Tobago that the mother turtles are almost in a trance during the process of digging the nest, laying the eggs, and covering the nest. 

I left her alone to finish laying her eggs, 

and walked to Lake Took-A-While. 

Here  I saw a couple of  great blue herons along the lake . 

Both flew off as I approached. 

The light rain continued to fall making it difficult the photograph the song birds in the trees.  I was able to photograph this gray catbird and

this yellow warbler that continued to sing in the rain. 

I enjoyed walking along the lake in the rain.  Everything was so alive and green,

such as these teasel plants growing along the lake. 

Black locust flowers bloomed along the canal. 

I wanted to get in a 7 mile hike but these dark clouds approached and I decided to head back to my Jeep in the wetlands. There were thunderstorms in the forecast. 

On the way, I found the mother snapping turtle still hard a work laying her eggs. I was going to take another video when the skies opened up and a torrential rain began to fall. I was soaked almost immediately and had to put my iPhone and camera in plastic bags to keep them dry. There would be no more photographs on this hike.

I walked the mile back to my Jeep in the pouring rain. Thankfully there was no thunderstorm. I was soaked. Of course the rain slowed down and then stopped as I got to my Jeep. I had only walked six miles but I was too drenched to continue.  I got in my Jeep and turned the heat on. I was shivering. Not my favorite hike , I love  a sunny hot and humid day but I still enjoyed ever minute of it, especially seeing the mother snapping turtle.  Theses turtles have been nesting here for millions of years before we showed up It was an awesome experience and I was just as happy to be able to share it with everyone  here in my blog. I love Spring!   Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands  May 28 2022

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.— Bob Marley

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