Back In The Woods Of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I Missed Them, Especially The Susquehanna Wetlands

Back In The Woods Of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I Missed Them, Especially The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands (23 of 31)
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I returned to beautiful Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday,  after a trip to  Hungary and Slovakia, ( it was a last minute trip with the hope of  finding the villages of  two of my  great great grandparents, you can read about it in my blog archives if you want to learn more).  On Sunday, despite the jetlag , I was up early, and after my usual  morning walk through my neighborhood I was, of course, off to visit the Susquehanna Wetlands. I have come to love this little nature preserve.  It located in Salem Township, Luzerne County,  about  twenty miles from my home in Hazle Township.

It was raining when I  left, and I was debating whether I should take the 35 minute drive. I was glad I did. It was cloudy and cool when I arrived. The temperature was in the mid 50s but the woods were beautiful. All of the trees where now covered in lush green leaves. 

After walking down to the Susquehanna River,

I walked under the green canopy and was greeted by this little critter, a cottontail rabbit.  He saw me, stopped feeding on the still tender grass,  and quickly scurried off into the woods. 

The woodlands in the wetlands were filled with birds and bird song. This eastern phoebe was singing it’s unmistakable song for which it as named from a tree branch, 

This white-bellied nuthatch scurried down a tree. 

And this Carolina wren burst into song as I continued my walk along the old canal and ponds.

Although the trees, ferns and many plants  were lush and fresh in their new green leaves,

the early plants of spring, the skunk cabbage, the jack-in- the -pulpit and the mandrake or may apples had already produced their flowers and were already decaying. The seasons quickly move on. 

The woods where also filled with the fragrance of the invasive but beautiful Japanese honeysuckle. These plants have spread into the woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania but I enjoy the heavenly aroma of their flowers in late Spring and Summer. Still they are invasive and are overtaking our native wildflowers and our harming our local woodlands.  They are, in my opinion, a must better invasive species than Japanese knotwood. 

As I continued my hike in the wetlands I heard the noisy calls of pileated woodpeckers in the trees. I love seeing these beautiful but elusive birds. They often quickly fly off on my approach. Not this time, I think they were with some juveniles but these two chattered and flittered on a tree just over my head. I now learned, after editing the photos, the difference between the male and female, This is a female. Look closely at her face, There is no red line on her chin.

Now look at the male, here, can you see the red line.

Here is a closer look at the male. I never knew this before. Not only was I fortunate to see, and photograph the largest woodpecker in our woods here in Northeastern Pennsylvania but I also learned how to tell the male and female apart. After seeing the woodpeckers I was already pleased of my decision to hike in the wetlands. 

It would soon get even better when I saw , and heard, this beautiful bird, singing  on a branch above the trail. It was a yellow-throated vireo, a lifer for me, and a beautiful bird. 

There were also many of the usual birds singing and  foraging for food in the wetlands including this northern flicker and. 

this male red-winged blackbird. They are much quieter now having established their nesting territories and with the females now tending the young.

I walked toward the river lands and saw a few muskrats, who quickly dived into the waters  before I could get a photos, a wood duck who quickly flew away and a snake that slithered away, all, before I could get any photos. I was able to get a photo of this, what I thought was a dragon fly nymph. It was easy to photograph sine it wasn’t an nymph, just it’s remaining exoskeleton. The  dragonfly that emerged had flown away. Nature is remarkable

As I left the wetlands  I saw a few gray catbirds, 

song sparrows, and

pretty yellow warblers in the trees. 

This yellow warbler had it’s mouth full of insects, I am sure, to be delivered to a hungry family back at the nest. 

The Summer is approaching and this could be seen by the flowering of the milkweed , check out the tiny caterpillar on the flower, 

and the spotted knapweed flowers. This flower will bloom throughout the Summer.

 There were two more reminders Spring was ending, the raspberries had set there fruit and would be ripening, usually soon  after the Summer Solstice and, 

the many elderberry bushes in the wetlands were flowering. These berries will be the song birds favorites as they prepare to leave Northeastern Pennsylvania in August. 

There were some breaks in the clouds and some sunshine as I walked into the river lands. The clouds made for some pretty scenery along the shores of  Lake Took-A-While. 

Along the lake I saw two great blue herons. The first quickly flew away as I approached, spreading it’s large and beautiful wings. 

The second allowed me to watch it for awhile, 

until it too decided  to fly away. It would be the last birds I would photograph on my five mile hike. I usually don’t stop a lot on my return hike to take photos of the birds I see unless I  didn’t  they are different than the ones I already photographed .Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds  June 12 2022.

I did see a few other critters on my walk back to my Jeep under  once again cloudy skies,

including this  gray squirrel,

I think a young red slider turtle, most of the turtles are now happily submerged under the warm and musky waters in the wetlands and  don’t need to warm up their cold blood to remain active, 

There were also a few bull frogs sitting on logs in the ponds, 

and a few young dragonflies that just emerged from their  nymph exoskeletons.

I also found this egg. I think it was a turtle egg but I wasn’t quite sure because of the oval appearance. I was very small. About the size of a quarter.  There is so much to see and learn on every hike in the forests. And I love hiking and searching for natures secrets, whether in the forest of Slovakia or here in my beloved Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I hope to keep seeking out Nature’s beauty and secrets and sharing them on many journeys , both here and abroad, for many more years.  Here is a link to another gallery on my blog website with photos from my hike in the wetlands Susquehanna Wetlands June 12 2022. 

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it”  William Shakespeare 

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