Another Late Afternoon Hike in The Susquehanna Wetlands
After my enjoyable late afternoon hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands last week, I decided to return for another late afternoon hike on Friday. It was partly cloudy and a seasonable 65 degrees when I arrived at the wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County. It was about 3;30 p.m. The trees were now even more lush and green. It is, as I said in my last blog, a magical time of the year. I have learned a late afternoon and evening hike in the wetlands s a great time to enjoy the Spring.
Although there aren’t as many birds active in the afternoon as on my morning hikes, there are more cold blooded critters crawling around and I hoped to see some . And, as soon as I began my hike this wood frog jumped across the path. These common frog are found throughout North America and a far north as the Arctic tundra.
And there were more, I saw this snake, I think it is a water snake but not sure because of the mud, slither into one of the ponds,
and nearby I saw the back of this large snapping turtle that was floating in the pond.
I was surprised to see this wood duck sitting alone on the banks of a pond. It is a female thought she would be with her young family now.
As I walked under the green canopy of new leaves, I
noticed the wildflowers blooming along the trail. The Dame’s rocket flowers were everywhere, adding color to the green woodlands,
and Philadelphia flea bane flowers blooming.
And the blackberries now had flowers.
The delicate Canada May flowers had began to bloom.
But the mandrake and many of the violets were now withered. Flowers are so fleeting in the Spring. However, a few marsh blue violets continued to bloom.
The skunk cabbages had also began to show signs of withering, There will be no trace of these early harbingers of Spring in June.
The sun appeared as I walked to the Water Fowl Pond. Here I did see a couple of green herons and a great blue heron. However, they flew away before I could photograph them. This is often the case, and I am unable to photograph many of the birds and animals I see on my hikes. And I sometimes take a hundred photos to capture that one photo I share,
On this hike the wetlands the birds were quiet in the warm afternoon temperatures . I only saw a few American robins,
this female American redstart,
and this red-eyed vireo in the wetlands. The red eyed vireo is a very common birds in our woodlands and it’s song is heard on most of my hike here and on all of my hikes in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
However, there were other critters active in the wetlands. I saw a couple of muskrats swimming in the old canal. One submerged into the murky water and swam away but this one actually swam toward me,
feeding on the duckweed now growing on the canal. It finally noticed me and quickly swam away.
I also saw a couple of mommy painted turtles laying their eggs along the trail.
One was almost finished with digging the hole it would lay it’s eggs and a second one was just starting. On my return walk, about an 1 1/2 later, the second turtle was finished digging it’s nest and laying it’s eggs. It was already covering them up. The first one I saw had finished and did a great job hiding the nest. I had a hard time finding it.
I continued my hike through the wetlands,
and saw these mallard ducks swimming on another pond,
and , while walking near the canal, I scared this mommy wood duck and her ducklings,
who quickly gathered around mom and swam away.
It was now early evening when I hiked in the river lands area of the nature reserve.
Like last week there were no people around Lake Took-A-While. I did not see a person on my five mile hike. And there were no geese or ducks on the lake. I did see a couple of great blue herons and green herons but they all quickly flew away.
I was only able to get this one photos of a green heron.
Like the week before, there were a lot of birds along the trail between the lake and the canal. Male red winged blackbirds sang from the tree tops,
as did Baltimore orioles but I wasn’t able to photograph any. There were a lot of American robins and this blue gray gnatcatcher . These tiny birds rarely sit still, and they are difficult to photograph.
This yellow throated vireo was singing on a branch over the trail,
This beautiful bird travels from Central and South America and the Caribbean to breed here in Pennsylvania and the eastern United States,
There was also a couple of eastern phoebes along the trail.
As I was watching these birds I finally saw a bald eagle. Actually, two of them, but they were soaring high above, mere specks in the evening sky. . This heavily cropped photo was the best I could do. Although I didn’t get great photos of the eagles it was still nice to see these magnificent birds flying in our skies again.
I walked back into the wetlands. Shadows appeared as the sun was getting lower in the northwestern sky
The last bird I would photograph was this yellow warbler, hidden in the trees and looking pretty in the early evening sunlight. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds May 19 2023.
As I walked in the wetlands I noticed this blue flag , one of my favorite Spring flowers.
The honeysuckle flowers continued to bloom and their fragrance filled the evening air in the wetlands,
This cottontail rabbit hopped across the trail as I was finishing my five mile hike.
It was great hike in the wetlands enjoying the late afternoon and early evening beauty of Spring. I am sure it will not be my last. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands May 18 2023.
“Spring is magic~ sweet to the senses & easy to celebrate.”
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