Eagles, Herons And A Muskrat: Another Walk In The Susquehanna Wetlands

Eagles, Herons And A Muskrat: Another Walk In The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands birds (24 of 40)
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It was  Sunday, and, of course,  I decided to take another walk in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County. As the Spring progresses  I know there is a good chance to see some wildlife here. And the wetlands and river lands are a great place to observe the trees, plants and flowers come back to life  in Spring.

It was partly sunny and a seasonable 43 degrees when I arrived at the wetlands. Puffy cumulus clouds floated in the blue skies.

I decided to visit the bald eagle nest first and found one of the eagles sitting in the nest. It won’t be long until the leaves obscure the nest. I won’t approach the nest, this photos was taken with my 600 mm zoom lens, since this stresses the nesting eagles.  

As I continued my hike I saw another bald eagle soaring high overhead. I am not certain,  but it was probably the mate of  the eagle in the nest.  Seeing these eagles  was a good start to my hike.

On the trails in the wetlands I found the trout lilies were in full bloom.

These delicate, nodding yellow flowers are native to Pennsylvania, 

and are named for their leaves which are said to resemble brook trout. 

Three other native wildflowers were also blooming on the trails,  Virginia spring beauty,

common bluets, and 

common blue violets. It is nice to see the Spring flowers bring  these bright colors to the wetlands  after the drab brown and grays  of  Winter. 

The skunk cabbages also provided some fresh bright green color to the landscape as they continued to grow  and sprawl along the trails. 

Hiding behind a skunk cabbage was this Canada goose sitting on her nest. I believe it was a her and the other goose swimming in the canal was the male. I think this is the same pair that nested on this exact spot last year. It won’t be long until the goslings appear.

A few painted turtles were already crawling out of the waters to soak in the early morning sun. 

It was nice to walk in the strong April sunshine with the shades of green starting to appear in the wetlands.

The service berries were now in bloom and,

the mandrake or may apples were unfolding their leaves along the trail. 

I made my way to the river and hoped to see the kingfishers or wood ducks I had seen here a few weeks ago. They weren’t around on Sunday but, 

I was happy to find these oyster mushrooms growing on a tree. There weren’t a lot but they made a nice addition to my Sunday dinner. 

After finding the oyster mushrooms I saw this green heron fly up into a  tree. 

And there were a few downy woodpeckers in the wetlands.

I saw another one searching for insects  on an old  cattail stalk. 

As I do on almost every time I walk in in the Susquehanna wetlands, I visit the river lands section of the nature preserve. 

This is where Lake Took-A-While is located.  Fishing is allowed at the lake and pets are allowed on a leash . Both of these activities are prohibited in the wetlands. 

There were no ducks, geese or kingfishers on or around the lake this week. Only a couple of double-crested cormorants and a blue heron perched across the lake. There were also a few red-winged black birds perched in the trees near the lake,

and song sparrows,

scurrying about in the brush growing along the lake.  

Walking past the lake I ventured a little in the woods near the Riverside trail. I usually see cardinals, woodpeckers and sparrow here. On Sunday I saw all of these but none posed for any good photos.

On the ground were more violets, trout lilies and also the invasive ground ivy and 

purple dead-nettle. 

I walked back in the warm April sunshine, cumulus clouds and pretty scenery of the lake. 

Back in the wetlands I saw this muskrat on the shores of a canal. it quickly jumped into the water and swam way. 

As I neared the bald eagles nest I was treated to a second eagle sighting, as this on soared high overhead. This would be the last bird I saw on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos  of the birds I saw on my walk  in the Susquehanna wetlands and river lands . Susquehanna Wetlands hike birds. April 18 2021.

On the ground I saw more turtles enjoying the April sun and a lot of frogs jumping into the ponds and canals as I walked past. This I think is a bullfrog.

I wasn’t the only human enjoying the beauty of the wetlands.  I met about a dozen of folks exploring the trails along the canals.  I decided to walk back to the parking lot along the river, hoping to see an eagles, kingfisher or some ducks. I wasn’t successful but it was still a great day  having seen a couple of bald eagle and a lot of other critters and wildflowers. And it will only get better the next few weeks. Here is a link to another gallery with some more photos from my walk in the Susquehanna wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands hike. April 18 2021.

I’ve banished Winter, saith the Spring,
Awake! arise, ye flowers!
Brisk breezes blow,
Bright sunshine glow,
And rouse the young Year’s powers.
~Henry James Slack

 

 

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