Fog, Summer Heat And Some Critters At The Susquehanna Wetlands In Salem Township.

Fog, Summer Heat And Some Critters At The Susquehanna Wetlands In Salem Township.

Susquehanna Wetlands (13 of 45)
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The forecast called for sunshine and record high temperatures here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday. I was up early and headed to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township in Luzerne County. It was sunny at my home in Hazle Township.  I drove the 20 miles to the wetlands expecting clear skies but instead  I found the entire valley along the Susquehanna River shrouded in a thick blanket of fog.  Fog is not  good for photographing small birds in high trees. . 

However, I did my best. I first stopped at the small pond near the access road and found the first  Canada goose  goslings of the season swimming under the watchful eye of mommy and daddy goose. 

I parked my Jeep, checked out the river and walked into the green  new Spring foliage  in the wetlands. It seems like  it transformed into a lush rainforest in a week.  All of the trees, bushes, flowers and plants were bursting with new growth.  It was a nice place to be, even in the thick fog. 

There were a lot of song  birds singing in the tree tops but unfortunately the thick fog made it difficult to identify and photograph them.  I was able to capture some images of the birds that stay closer to the ground including this male red-winged blackbird

this green heron 

this blue- gray gnatcatcher and 

this song sparrow

The thick fog didn’t keep me from seeing, and photographing the many wildflower now blooming on the trails including  the daisy-like Philadelphia fleabane, 

the Dame’s Rocket flowers which seemed to be blooming everywhere along the trail, 

 yellow salsify flowers, 

and, my favorite, pink azalea or  as my dad called them, “honeysuckle”.

The cinnamon ferns were also sending up the their fertile cinnamon colored fronds.

I found that the trail to the water fowl pond was now open, It was flooded on my visit the past few months. I think they must have drained the small lake. Well There was no view at the pond because of the  thick fog. 

I starting walking toward the river lands and through the lush green woodlands. 

I saw this white tail deer resting in the woods along the trail, and this 

rabbit feeding on some new grass. 

This  female mallard duck was agitated while swimming in circles on a canal . It must have a nest nearby. 

The fog started to clear and I  saw a few more birds, this gray catbird,

and this beautiful red-eyed vireo. 

There are ,any of these birds high in the tree tops but this one was singing on a branch just above my head along the trail. 

I left the wetlands and walked back down to the river. I didn’t see any wildlife so I hiked into the river lands. As I did the strong May sun  burned off the fog and the woods seemed even more alive in the bright sunshine. 

Walking along scenic Lake-Took-A-While, in the river lands, 

I saw few more birds along the lake  including a yellow warbler,

this pretty warbling vireo, and, 

an American redstart.      The woodlands along the lake echoed with their songs.

I also saw a solitary sandpiper wading along the shore of  the lake. 

Lake Took-A-While is  scenic in all seasons but when it is surrounded by he lush new green foliage of Spring I think it is at it’s best.

In addition to the foliage on the trees there were flowers blooming on the trail along the lake, I love these blue flags, they bloom so quickly and last for such a short time.

The black  locust trees were covered in their pretty white flowers, 

I usually end my hike at the far end of the lake but this week I decided to continue and hiked on the Riverwalk trail.  The trail is much narrower then in the wetlands and river lands.  It led me into   another world of lush  green vegetation that  abutted the trail.  

Here I continued to hear the songs of the yellow warblers, American redstarts and other song birds. I had to finish my hike so I didn’t even try to photograph them. However, when I saw this unique bird in a tree I had to get a photo. I didn’t know what it was until I got home and discovered it was a yellow-billed cuckoo , only the second one I ever saw in Pennsylvania, and the first in the wetlands. 

I followed the trail which  led me to the the Susquehanna River and followed the river back back into to the river lands. 

I was surprised there was so little bird activity along the river. I only saw this red -bellied woodpecker. 

Even without  the bird song it was a  nice walk under the ancient trees along the river and the many ferns growing along the trail.

There were also some wild flowers growing under the shade of towering old trees, Virginia waterleaf, and   

and these wild geraniums. 

The trail took me back into the river lands and I began my walk back along the lake. Here I saw  a blue heron wading in the lake, it flew away as I approached.

I also saw one last bird on my seven mile hike in Salem  Township, this downy woodpecker.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my seven mile hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds may 21 2022. 

It was near noon now, and the wetlands were much quieter. It was hot, the temperatures were in the mid 80’s and there was little bird or wildlife activity, I did see  some insects, I think this is a spring fly and

thus squirrel having  lunch on a tree branch. 

I walked back to the water fowl pond, that was shrouded in fog when I started my hike. It looked a lot different in the noon sunshine and clear skies.

I had hoped to see some more interesting critters on my seven mile hike, like the river otters, bald eagles, snake and bears I have seen on past hikes  in this wonderful nature preserve, but I was happy to see, and share the beautiful birds, wildflowers and scenery I found on my hike.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my seven mile hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township. Susquehanna Wetlands May 21 2022. 

“The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.” ―Lady Gregory


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