Birds, Bugs And Blooms: A Late September Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands
It’s hard to believe it is the last week in September already. Spring and Summer passed so quickly. So , appropriately, I hiked in the Susquehanna Wetlands on the last weekend in September. It was here I spent so much time this Spring and Summer. It seems like only yesterday the skunk cabbage was pushing up through the snow and mud, the spring peepers where awakening and the robins and geese were returning to the wetlands.
It was seasonably cool and sunny when I arrived at the wetlands early Sunday morning. I met a photographer, and nature loving friend, who, like me is an amateur, but she takes amazing photographs of the beauty she finds in nature. The cool air created a light fog on the Susquehanna River. The river was still high from the recent rains. After observing the river, and looking for an eagle, osprey or some water fowl, ( we saw none) we headed into the wetlands.
A hint of the coming display of Fall colors could be seen on the trail. The bracken ferns had already turned brown and many shriveled up. The hay-scented ferns were also turning yellow. Some of the leave on the red maple trees and Virginia creeper vines were also a brilliant red. A prelude to the coming show.
Most of the song birds and other Summer resident birds have already begun their migration south. We were fortunate to see some of these birds migrating through the wetlands. I know this since I did not see any of these birds all summer. This female yellow-rumped warbler was enjoying some poison ivy seeds.
We also saw a chestnut-sided warbler, which I was unable to photograph, but my friend was able to get some beautiful photos, and this pretty black-throated green warbler.
We continued our hike through the wetlands toward the river lands. The weakening late September sun filtered through the trees and shone on the still deep green duckweed covered ponds and canals. We both were hoping to see the family of river otters that I watched and photographed two weeks ago. We didn’t see them nor did we see any of the beavers and muskrats that live in the wetlands.
We did see a few chipmunks and squirrels although I wasn’t able to get any photos of them. They were feeding on the many acorns that were falling from the oak trees or, on the large crop of black walnuts. Most have fallen to the ground, however a few remained on the branches of the trees.
There were no water fowl on the lake. We heard, and saw a few kingfishers on the other side of the lake. The late September sun warmed the cool morning air and some insects became active. We saw a few late season dragonflies,
We also encountered another cool critter, a Chinese preying mantis. This invasive preying mantis is not as beneficial as our native Carolina preying mantis and actually eats a lot of beneficial native insects and has been known to capture small hummingbirds.
many nature conservancy groups recommend they be destroyed as well as their eggs. Unfortunate but this is what happens when man alters the balance of nature. Here is a link to a video of the preying mantis I uploaded to my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/e2PO979TVZY
After observing the preying mantis we continued our hike back to the wetlands. It was pretty uneventful as far as observing any more wildlife. The only other critter I photographed was this turkey vulture flying overhead. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands September 26 2021.
Soon the leaves will change color , creating Nature’s last spectacular display of color until Spring. Hopefully, the cold will hold off for a few weeks, or months. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my September hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands September 26 2021.
“It must be September,
July sun has disappeared”