Flowers, Birds, Leaves, And More Spring Colors At The Susquehanna Wetlands And River Lands
Spring is a wonderful and magical time of year here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Everyday new flowers bloom, colorful migratory song birds return and the new leaves slowly turn our woodlands into a tapestry of green. I love Spring. My only complaint it passes so quickly. I observed this in the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands again on Saturday. The woodlands were now a light green from the sprouting new leaves.
Last Saturday trout lilies bloomed everywhere along the trails in the wetlands and river lands. In my blog last week, I observed these delicate yellow flowers only last a few day. And sure enough there was no trace of them on my five mile hike, not a single flower. If you didn’t see them during those few days they bloomed you won’t see them again until next Spring. So much changes so quickly in Spring. However, there were new flowers to replace the trout lilies. The first wild pink geraniums were now blooming,
as were the ornamental crab apples planted at the wetlands trail entrance,
and the high bush blueberries.
The honeysuckle buds appeared. Soon they will fill the wetlands and river lands with their heavenly aroma.
and many species of wild violets continued to bloom. along the trails. These are, I think, common blue violets,
and these Labrador violets. Once again I am relying on my Picture This app for these identifications. Every week on my hikes , until the first freeze in the Fall, I will see new flowers blooming along the trails.
As I continued my hike , as usual I scared a couple of wood ducks. This is usually the only photo I can get of these elusive ducks. I saw a few of them fly from the tree tops were they build their nests. Soon there will be ducklings swimming on the canals and ponds in the wetlands.
I was hoping to see the tiny Canada goose goslings that I observed in their nest last week. However, I only found this empty nest. They were already gone, hidden somewhere along the edges of the canals and ponds,
As I walked toward the Water Foul Pond I heard the soft singing of this pretty little migratory bird that returned to our area, a blue gray gnatcatcher. It may have been the same one a photographed on this exact tree a year ago
I also saw finally was able to photograph one of the many muskrats that live in the wetlands.
I didn’t see any ducks or geese on the Water Fowl ponds but I heard and saw a green heron quickly fly off the far shore. They are long distance migrants spending the Winter in South Florida and the Caribbean Islands.
On my walk back toward the river lands I found the blue gray gnatcatcher signing along the trail. It had just returned from a it’s Winter home in the Southern United States and Mexico
and black-capped chickadees. common Winter residents in the wetlands were also singing along the trail.
And, there were the many male red-winged blackbirds singing their loud unmistakable songs from the treetops.
mandrakes or May apples continued to grow creating patches of green and adding to the colors changing the wetlands from their Winter drab browns and grays.
I also saw the first bracken ferns,
and oak leaves which have appeared since my hike last week. So much to see of the wonders of Nature this time of year. Every leaf is a miracle, really.
There is so much wildlife activity and plant growth now, unlike in the dead, cold and dark Winter months. Robins were catching worms,
dozens of turtles were crawling out of the waters and basking in the sunshine. It was a cool morning so the frogs were still quiet.
I also saw another blue gray gnatcatcher near a tent caterpillar nest,
and observed it feeding on the tiny emerging caterpillars.
After walking back to the river I entered the River Lands area of the nature preserve and found the many ornamental trees planted along Lake Too-A While were now in bloom.
It is hard not to appreciate the delicate beauty of the crab apple blossoms.
Gray louds formed over the lake, contrasting the blue waters and now green trees, making for some nice Spring scenery.
I was told by a fellow photographer I had just missed a bald eagle that flew over the lake, all I saw was a couple of Canada geese, a great blue heron and kingfisher that I couldn’t photograph and this small flock of double crested cormorants swimming in sync.
On the other side of the lake, along the old Susquehanna canal, there were a lot of red-winged blackbirds singing .
and a few of the lesser seen females.
a pair of eastern phoebes nesting in the same area they always do,
and some male goldfinches in their bright yellow Spring feathers. I was told there were yellow and palm warblers in the wetlands but I hadn’t seen any of these migratory birds on my hike so far. As usual walked to the far end of the lake before beginning my hike back to the wetlands.
In the wetlands is was delighted to see one of my favorite Spring travelers, a yellow warbler, singing on a branch along the trail.
These small and colorful birds are long distance migrants. They spend their Winters in the forest of Central and South America flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. I think about this ever Spring when I see them and it still amazes me. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the colorful yellow warbler and other birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds April 22 2023.
I finished my five mile hike noticing the colorful reddish leaves of the staghorn sumac and
the first common fleabane flowers of the Spring.
I was glad to see blue gray gnatcatcher and yellow warbler on my hike. Soon, they will be joined by many other migratory song birds adding more sounds and colors to our woodlands. Here is another gallery link with some more photos of the flowers and critters I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands April 22 2023.
Every morning I awake in Spring I am excited to take my walks and see what new beautiful wonder of nature has appeared. I love nature and I love Spring.
“Everyone sleeps and everyone wakes up; these are ordinary and boring awakenings! But there is also the awakening of spring, an extraordinary awakening! In classical music, all the instruments start to play at the same time and there is a great wave of excitement, and spring wakes up just like that!”