September is usually the peak of mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I would be out foraging for my favorite edible mushrooms most September weekends. Not this year. We had little rain this Summer and there have been hardly any of my favorite wild mushrooms growing in our woodlands. So I decided to once again hike in Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township in Luzerne County.
Upon arriving at the wetlands early Sunday morning I walked down to the Susquehanna River where one can observe the effects of our lack of rain. The river is a low as I have ever seen it. Not only is the river well below it’s normal banks. but the river bed is now exposed. Rocky outcrops protrude from the middle of the river. We need rain.
I left the river under mostly cloudy skies. As I walked to the trails in the wetlands I heard the loud cries of this red-bellied woodpecker. It was perched on a dead branch high in a treetop.
Other then the cries of the red-bellied woodpecker it was quiet in the wetlands. I walked along the canals and could see some hints of the Fall colors in trees and plants along the trail.
There were still a few wildflowers in bloom including purple loosestrife,
white snakeroot ,
great blue lobelia
and delicate jewelweed or touch-me-not flowers.
In addition to the late Summer wildflowers there were some other signs of the approaching Autumn, The spicebush have produced their red berries,
and the cattail catkins are going to seed.
I walked over to the Water Fowl pond.
There were a flock of wood ducks swimming on the pond but, as they always do,
quickly flew off as I approached.
I continued my walk through the wetlands, toward the river lands section of the nature preserve,
and saw this green frog on one of the ponds,
and this gray catbird chattering in one of the trees.
There were also a few more wood ducks perched along the canals, but they too, quickly flew off as I approached.
I left the wetlands and continued my walk to the river lands. I first walked back down to the river,
before entering the river lands.
The two large nuclear power plant cooling towers, with their billowing clouds of steam, are visible across Lake Took-A-While. I don’t usually post photos in my blog since I did in my first blog post and don’t find them attractive but they are here.
I walked along the lake,
and saw a lot more late Summer wildflower blooming along the trail, including three species of goldenrod, this is Canada goldenrod,
this wrinkled goldenrod and this,
There were also cutleaf coneflowers and
evening primrose flowers growing along the trail.
The pokeweed plants have produced their purple berries.
There were a lot of milkweed plants along the trail. I looked for, but didn’t find any monarch butterfly caterpillars. I did find these large group of milkweed bugs on some of the milkweed pods.
As usual I walked to the end of the lake before hiking back to the wetlands. along the way I encountered this great blue heron perched along the lake,
and, as I watched, it flew off,
over the lake allowing me to get some photos.
I walked back into the wetlands where I saw a few turtles and
wood ducks before I ended my five mile hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds September 4 2022.
It was a lot quieter in the wetlands now that many of the song birds have left us to migrate to warmer climes. And I didn’t see any bald eagles, bears or bobcats but once again I enjoyed my peaceful hike in these beautiful lands along the Susquehanna River. Colder weather is coming but I hope I can take, and share, a few more hike in the wetlands before it does. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands September 4 2022.
“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
– Helen Hunt Jackson