As Usual, I Found Some Wildlife At The Susquehanna Wetlands

As Usual, I Found Some Wildlife At The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna wetlands wildlife (22 of 50)
Previous Post
Next Post

I returned to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County last Sunday. I enjoyed hiking in Ricketts Glenn State Park on Saturday but I was disappointed not seeing a lot of wildlife. I lke  sharing the critters I see on my weekly hikes here in my blog and on social media. . So I decide to return to the Susquehanna Wetlands and Riverlands on Sunday.   I usually always see some wildlife on my hikes here  in this small private nature preserve. I think it is because I am so familiar with the habits of the wildlife that live here throughout the year. 

It was cool and foggy when I arrived and hiked down to the Susquehanna River. The river was still high from the recent rains.   A mist formed over the river.

I left the3 river banks and walked into the wetlands. Although the trees and other vegetation were still green,

there were many signs this was the last weekend of Summer. The bracken ferns were almost all brown and shriveled. 

The reeds  along the ponds were also turning brown and some leaves were falling form the trees. 

There were still some flowers blooming, including jewel weed or touch me not flowers,

ironweed flowers, 

rabbit tobacco flowers, my dad did say he would chew this like tobacco, I never tired it,

a lot of goldenrod flowers,

and many species of this Fall flower, the aster flowers, including pretty blue wood asters,

and calico asters. Sadly these may be some of the last flowers I see until next Spring

There were a lot of nuts, seeds and berries on the plants of the wetlands, including nightshade berries, 

winter berries,

and autumn olive berries. 

It was quiet as I began my walk  through the wetlands. There were no song birds singing in the tree tops, no frogs, or cicadas  added to the wonderful chorus the wildlife provide in the Spring and Summer. 

However, I soon heard the chattering of some gray catbirds, 

I saw and heard a lot of these  noisy birds on my five mile hike. 

I also saw a few wood ducks on the waters of the canal. But as usual they didn’t stay long after they saw me. 

The sun broke though the fog and it seemed to  wake up the birds in the wetlands. I saw a red bellied woodpecker searching for insect high above on the trunk of a dead tree, 

and this hairy woodpecker,

and  downy woodpecker also appeared and were searching for grubs and insects. These photos show the larger beak on the hairy woodpecker.  I think the warming rays of the sound stirred the insects and thus brought the birds out.

I   now heard the beautiful song of Carolina wrens echoing from the treetops, 

and saw this one neat the ground along the trail, 

I also saw a few common yellow throats, 

and this American robin, also  singing in the tree tops. 

I walked to the Water Fowl Pond, 

and saw a few more wood ducks, I believe these are juveniles.

I had already seen much more wildlife than on my hike in Ricketts Glen, and it was in for a wonderful surprise. After I left the Water Fowl Pond and was walking toward the river lands I heard a splash in the water, and this whiskered face popped out of the water and stared at me. It was a river otter! 

I believe it was a mother otter. It watched me from the corner of it’s eyes.

An after seeing me, it whistled and submerged.   

I saw a few smaller otters run up and down the opposite bank of a canal

I think mom was telling them to follow her since they dived into the water and disappeared under the green duck weed. I stood around and waited and heard splashes.  The juvenile otters were playing in the waters right in front of me. I couldn’t adjust my camera quick enough to get photos but it was a wonderful experience to see them frolicking in the waters so close to me. They were making grunting and snorting noises as they played. Mom popped up again,  looked at me and whistled

She and the otters submerged and swam up the canal. I followed them again watching them as the made their way up the canal. Mom was keeping an eye on me, and 

finally decided it was time to leave the canal. She whistled and she watched as her family crawled up the bank and into a large pond on the other side of the bank. This happened under thick  woods and brush so I couldn’t get good photos but it was a delightful way to spend a late Summer morning. I saw the otter around the same time the last two years. I believe they nest here in the wetlands and return to the river in the Winter.  

After the otters left I continued my hike toward the  river lands, I saw another furry mammal, this eastern chipmunk, and a few more birds,

this northern flicker, 

and this tufted titmouse. 

I walked into the river lands and on the trail between Lake Took-A-While and a canal,

here I saw a few eastern phoebe sand

this great blue heron perched on a tree  branch,

it remained there for about 15 minutes. I watched, and waited, hoping to get some nice photos when it flew off.

However, i heard a warbling vireo, and as I tried to get a photo, the great blue heron flew off and I missed some beautiful photos. It would be the last  new species of bird I’d see on my hike. This is a link to a gallery on my blog webpage with more photos of the river otters and other critters I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands wildlife. September 17 2023. 

I continued along the lake hoping to see a bald eagle or  belted kingfisher but I only saw a few more American robins, gray catbirds and eastern phoebes. I did see a few more wildflowers including a common  evening primrose,

an  evening primrose,

and a cutleaf coneflower. 

I walked to far end of the lake and turned around and began my hike back to the wetlands. 

I usually walk back on the trail along the lake but this week I walked on the other side of the canal, along the picnic area in the river lands. I hoped to see some migrating song birds here but I didn’t.  

It was an uneventful hike back, no eagles,, hawks or kingfishers. And the river otters were gone too, but I was very happy I had the opportunity to see this playful critters and share some of their photos here on my blog.  This is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands September 17 2023. 

I always enjoy my hikes in the wetlands. It seems i always see some wildlife and occasionally I am very fortunate and see a bear, bobcat, bald eagle or river otters. This is why I keep coming back. 

“There is a time in late September when the leaves are still green, and the days are still warm, but somehow you know that it is all about to end, as if summer was holding its breath, and when it let it out again, it would be autumn.” -Sharyn McCrumb

This is my first post