Autumnlike Cloud and Leafless Trees But Unseasonably Mild Mid-November Temperatures At The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Autumnlike Cloud and Leafless Trees But Unseasonably Mild Mid-November Temperatures At The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Susquehanna Wetlands (7 of 29)
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It’s mid-November, and here in Northeastern Pennsylvania we have had  freezing temperatures and snow on ground in many years . Not this year. It has been a mild month.  It was cloudy and an unseasonably  60 degrees when I awoke at my  home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County early Saturday. As I often do,    I decided  to hike in the nearby  Susquehanna Wetlands in  Salem Township. 

It has been two weeks since my last visit. As usual,  I walked down to the Susquehanna River before I began my hike in the wetlands. We had some heavy rain Friday and the river was much higher than on my last visit.

Most of the tree along the river and in the wetlands had lost their leaves.   The wetlands look so different.     There were no more Fall colors  in the woods.  Just leafless tress.  The bare trees evoked a feeling of sadness.  And the quiet in the wetlands added to this feeling. There were no song birds singing when I first arrived. It looked  a lot like a typical November morning except for the mild temperature. 

As  I  continued my hike on the mild morning  I  heard the beautiful song of the Carolina wren.  There were a few of them near the Water Fowl pond. 

I waited and was able to capture some photos of this small but loud bird. It has a wonderful song that echoes even more in the leafless woodlands. These birds don’t migrate and remain in our region   throughout the Winter. 

There were also a few white-throated sparrows and

song sparrows fluttering about in the dead underbrush. 

I was surprised,  as I continued my hike in the wetlands,  to hear he peeping of frogs. They are usually buried in the mud by now bur were active because of the warm weather. 

Although the leaves were gone there was still some  color in the wetlands.    There was  a lot of green duck weed on many of the canals and ponds. 

Garlic mustard leaves  were still  growing along the paths.

 The bracken, hay-scented and cinnamon were dried and withered but the intermediate wood ferns and 

Christmas ferns were still green and wood stay green all winter. 

There were also some colorful red  common winterberries and.

blue roundleaf green  briar berries.

These berries provide food for the many birds that remain in our area in the cold Winters. I saw some of these birds, the woodpeckers on my five mile hike. In fact I saw five of the seven species that are  found in Pennsylvania. I saw this northern flicker near the  Water Fowl pond. 

Nearby, next to these  late oyster mushrooms,  was a downy woodpecker. 

I saw a few more of these  woodpeckers, they are they smallest ones in our area.  This one was enjoying  poison ivy berries. 

I also saw one of it’s closest, and larger cousins, a hairy woodpecker. It is not only larger in size but has a much longer bill. 

There were also a few of the noisy red-bellied woodpeckers in the wetlands. 

These pretty birds would usually  feed on insects high on the trunks of dead trees. 

Finally, as I was finishing my five mile hike I saw this beautiful pileated woodpecker. They are the largest of our woodpeckers and my favorite. The two Pennsylvania woodpeckers I didn’t see were the red-headed  woodpecker and yellow-bellied sapsucker. 

I left the wetlands and walked  to the river lands and Lake Took-A-While.  

Here I a few New England asters and daisy fleabane flowers, the only   two wildflowers I would see on my hike. 

There were a few fishermen along the shores of the lake on this dreary but mild mid-November day. 

I saw a few  northern cardinals near the lake and 

some black-capped  chickadees. Both of these birds will remain in our area in the Winter. 

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

In the wetlands I saw this tufted titmouse on the ground. I usually see these birds in the tree branches above the trail .

As I got closely I saw it was  truing to move an acorn and was having trouble trying to do so. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my mid-November hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds November 12 2022. 

I returned to the wetlands were I heard even more frogs croaking and peeping. I also found this puffball mushrooms that have gone to spore. They are one of my favorite edibles. 

I also saw these panicled asters that have gone to seed. 

I finished my five mile hike under the canopy of bare branches. I once again enjoyed the peace and quiet of the wetlands.  And I was glad I was able to walk on such a warm November day. I know there may not be many more of them. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my mid-November hike in wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands November 12 2022. 

“In November, some birds move away and some birds stay. The air is full of good-byes and well-wishes. The birds who are leaving look very serious. No silly spring chirping now. They have long journeys and must watch where they are going. The staying birds are serious, too, for cold times lie ahead. Hard times. All berries will be treasures.”
― Cynthia Rylant,

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