Birds And Otters: An Autumn Walk in The Susquehanna Wetlands

Birds And Otters: An Autumn Walk in The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands (19 of 48)
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Autumn,  cooler weather and shorter days, have  returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania. I have spent the last month traveling ( I was in London’s for the Queen’s funeral. I am still trying to finish my blog posts)   and searching for wild mushrooms.  ( they were late but I found a lot of mushrooms this past two  weeks. This is a photo of one of my many successful days).

It has been over a month since I hiked in the Susquehanna Wetlands near my home in Luzerne County. I missed them.  I decided to take a break from my mushroom foraging and return to the wetlands on Sunday. It was a cool and sunny morning when I left my home in Hazle Township. However, when I arrived at the wetlands in Salem Township there was a quick blanket of fog along the Susquehanna River. I was able to see that the river was much higher  than my last visit. The same rains that brought out the mushrooms filled the river. 

The sun quickly burned off the fog as I walked under the ancient trees, many now displaying their fall colors. The red maples and red oaks were now leaving up to their names. 

There was color all along the trail. The cinnamon ferns were now golden,

the sassafras leaves were yellow,

and the Virginia creeper leaves a bright reddish/orange. 

There was now more bird song then my visit over a month ago.  The familiar raspy cries of the red-winged blackbirds echoed in the wetlands. A large flock was in the tree tops. They were migrating south. It seemed there were a lot more female birds than males. 

There were also many white-throated , swamp sparrows,

and song sparrows singing in the shrubs along the trail.

Goldfinches,  now dressed in their drab  Winter feathers also sang in the tree tops, 

and a large flock of yellow-rumped warblers fluttered in the trees. 

As I continued my walk I noticed the Asiatic tearthumb berries and 

common winterberries, which both added more Autumn color to the wetlands. 

I walked  to the Water Fowl Pond. 

Here I saw a few wood ducks, but they quickly flew off. 

While watching the wood ducks fly away, I saw something moving in the water on the far side of the pond.  I couldn’t make out what is was with my naked  eye, but, zooming in with my camera, I discovered it was a family of river otters.  They were to far away to get any good photos, even with  my 600 mm zoom lens. 

It was still a treat to observe the movement of the otters in the distance. They were flipping, diving and splashing in the cold waters of the pond.  I watched them for about 15 minutes.

I was hoping they would swim toward me but, instead, the sawm to the far side of pond and into the woods. I hope they return next weekend. 

I  now began my hike toward the river lands about a mile to the east. 

On the way I saw this gray squirrel, 

some more yellow rumped warblers

and this red-bellied woodpecker. 

It was perched in a tree eating a see or nut  couldn’t identify. 

I wouldn’t see any  other species of birds on my five mile walk, only the red-winged blackbirds and a lot more yellow rumped warblers. This is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my Autumn hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds October 8 2022. 

It was a delightful walk in the colorful  wetlands. 

I walked back down to the river and was able to see how much water was filling it’s banks now that the fog had lifted. 

I left the river and hiked into the river lands.  

Lake Took-Took-Awhile reflected the clear blue skies. 

I walked to the far end of the lake, noticing a few more wildflowers growing along the trail including New England asters,

panicled asters, 

and sandune wallflower. 

I also saw a few late season insects including milkweed bugs and 

this bog fly. 

As usual I walked to the far end of the lake. I often see great blue heron, green herons and belted kingfisher here but there were know on my Sunday hike. I was surprised there were no Canada geese on the lake either. 

The early Autumn sun was warming the chilly morning air as I began my hike back to the wetlands. 

The warmer air and bright sunshine brought a few turtles out of the duck weed covered waters in the wetlands. 

I finished my hike in the now colorful wetlands. I had hoped to see an eagle or hawk but I wasn’t disappointed. I love watching the river otters, hearing the migrating birds and seeing the Autumn wildflowers. It was another wonderful walk in the wetlands.  And again I am glad to share it here. This is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands October 8 2022. 

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away—
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder

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