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