Another Mild January Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

Another Mild January Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands (18 of 25)
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The mild January continued here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.   It was 8 degrees above average for the month. It was mostly sunny and 32 degrees on Saturday morning. I decided,  as usual, to hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township in Luzerne County.

Last week there was no ice on the  Susquehanna River or the ponds and canals in the wetlands.  There was still no ice on the river, 

but there was a thin layer of ice on the waters in the wetlands.  It did drop below freezing overnight. There was just enough ice to keep the Canada geese and mallard ducks I saw last week out of the wetlands. 

This  great blue heron flew over, I think looking for some open waters. Unfortunately, I think it would have to fish along the  banks of the river, in the morning anyway. 

The wetlands were quiet at first, I did not see or hear any birds. Then, as the sun rose, I came upon a group of the usual Winter residents, feeding, as usual, on some poison ivy berries. there were some tufted titmice, 

black-capped chickadees, 

and a few golden crowned kinglets feeding on or near  the poison  ivy vines, 

there also a few song sparrows scrambling on the grounds below. 

I walked  past the ponds but, because of the ice, didn’t see any water fowl. 

I continued my mild January walk, past the usual  browns and grays found on a Winter walk,  like the cattails and

 beech leaves. The beach trees, , and a few oak  trees ,are the only trees with leaves still clinging to their bare branches. 

There were not many green colors in the wetlands in Winter,  the usual, the  hardy garlic mustard

and Dame’s Rocker leaves, 

the  ferns and these patches of tree club moss, 

I walked back down to the river, and saw a hawk take off as I approached. I couldn’t tell what kind. 

The only critter I saw  in the wetlands was this Carolina wren . It was enjoying the mild January weather and singing a happy song. 

I walked into the river lands and the sun warmed  the temperature into the mid 40’s. It felt more like a day in March than January and I wasn’t complaining. 

Lake Took-A-While reflected the clear blue skies. 

There were no Canada geese on the lake this week, the thin layer of ice kept them on the nearby river.  I knew this from hearing their loud honking. There were a few northern cardinals, this is a male, in the shrubs along the lake. 

As usual I walked to the far end of the lake, 

and began my return hike, noticing the grasses,

and reeds that grew along  the shore of the lake along the way. 

The temperature had climbed into the mid 40’s by the time  I hiked back into the wetlands. 

There still wasn’t a lot of bird activity, which surprised me. I didn’t not see any woodpeckers on my five mile hike.  I usually see at least four species on my hikes , downy, hairy, red-bellied, northern flickers, and sometimes even a beautiful pileated woodpecker. Not a one on this hike. I did see a small flock of golden-crowned kinglets. They are very active birds and not easy to photograph. 

I also saw this white-breasted nuthatch scampering down a tree trunk. But that was it. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my mild January hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds January 28 2023. 

Once again I was a little disappointed not to see a bald eagle,  a hawk , an otter or some other  exotic critter on my hike. But,  enjoyed seeing some of our resident Winter bird friends and the mild January temperatures and bright sunshine. It was my kind of Winter hike.  Well, Winter is almost half over and I hope the warm weather stays. Here is a link to a gallery of some more photos form my five mile hike. Susquehanna Wetlands January 28 2023. 

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” ~John Muir

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