Herons, Wood Ducks And A Bald Eagle. Another Great Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Herons, Wood Ducks And A Bald Eagle. Another Great Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Susquehanna Wetlands birds (7 of 31)
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It was cloudy and mild when I arrived at the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County early Saturday morning. I wasn’t there last weekend and so I looked forward to my usual five mile hike. And, as usual, I hoped to see a  bald eagle, river otter, bobcat, cinnamon bear, red fox or any of the many other critters I have seen here on my past hikes. I have come to know, and love this small private nature preserve. And, even if I didn’t see any of the more unusual and exotic critters I knew I’d find some flower or bird or other  item of the natural beauty that is so abundant here. And which I can share here on my blog and social media. 

After arriving I always walk down to the Susquehanna River, one of the oldest rivers on our planet.  I  check the water level, it was high, look for wildlife, there was none,  and reflect on the Native Americans, early settlers and other folks who viewed the river before me. I often imagine the Native Americans traveling by canoe to the Chesapeake Bay or the first explorers venturing up the river  into the woodlands of Pennsylvania by boat. 

After my reflections at the river,  I walked back up the trail into the wetlands. There are actually two trails, one leads into the wetlands and the other follows along  the Susquehanna River. I always walk into the wetlands first,  since there is a better chance to see wildlife living along the ponds and canals.  These ponds and canals  remain from the long abandoned  North Branch  Canal.  Construction  of this canal began in nearby Berwick in 1828. It was abandoned in the 1890’s. 

It was quiet walking in the still lush wetlands. The red-winged blackbirds and many of the migratory song birds have already  left the wetlands on their long journey south. I did hear an eastern wood pee wee and a few Carolina wrens but wasn’t able to get any photos. I again found the path to the Water Fowl Pond flooded from the recent rains.  And, once again I waded trough the murky waters in my sneakers. My feet were soaked for the rest of my five mile hike.

At the Water Fowl Pond, 

I saw a few wood ducks swimming on the far side of the pond, then, noticed this pair of female wood ducks perched on a small island nearer to the shore. 

They are beautiful, but skittish,  birds and usually fly off as soon as they detect the slightest sound or movement. These two didn’t and allowed me to get some photos before finally  deciding to fly off. 

While watchin the wood ducks a great blue heron flew overhead, 

and this yellow throated vireo began to sing in a tree top near the pond. 

The other path to the Water Fowl Pond was also flooded so I  waded through the murky waters again and back on the main trail. 

The sun broke through the clouds and I believe this may have encouraged more bird activity in the wetlands, I saw this downy woodpecker feeding on a grub,

this red bellied woodpecker calling from high on a dead tree branch, 

this Carolina wren. 

a tufted titmouse, 

and a wood pee wee in the surrounding woods.

And, I was excited to see a juvenile bald eagle flying overhead.

I am always in awe seeing these majestic birds soaring in our skies again. 

I  left the Water Fowl ponds and saw a few late Summer wildflowers blooming in the wetlands. The most common was the tall goldenrod flowers. Yes, the are flowers, not weeds, and are native to most of  North America. It is one of the many species of goldenrod that bloom it out area. 

I also saw ironweed, 


jewelweed and

American hog-peanut flowers., all native, blooming in the wetlands. 

Although there wasn’t a profusion of wildflowers blooming in the wetlands, like there is in the Spring, there were a lot of  the berries produced by the flowers including red nightshade, 

and autumn olive berries.

at first white, 

then purple silky dogwood berries, and 

green spicebush berries. They will soon turn red. The migratory song birds will be feasting on these berries as they make their way south, and then the will help sustain the  birds that remain all year. 

I continued my walk through the wetlands,

and saw this muskrat feeding in the duck weed covered waters. 

I walked into the river lands section of the nature preserve, 

and along Lake Took-A-While. 

The lake is actually  one long body of water ,divided  into a series of smaller lakes.

The trail  continues with  the lakes on one side, and the remains of the North Branch Canal on the other. 

I hiked to the end of the lake, and on my return , I saw this great blue heron across the lake,

it appeared it had something stuck in it’s throat. It kept opening it’s mouth, 

and extending it’s neck.  I watched it for about ten minutes, I  hoped it was a fish and a frog and not some fishing line. 

I left the heron and continued my walk back  seeing this belted kingfisher across the lake, and

observing some more late Summer wildflowers blooming along the trail including  great blue lobelia, 

and these ,  an  evening primrose and 

this cutleaf coneflower both visited by some bees. 

There were also a few other insects, including this eastern amber winged dragonfly  and

 this white  cabbage butterfly.

I walked back  to the wetlands on the trail along the lake, 

and in the wetlands I saw another heron this  one was a green heron. 

I watched as it   slowly waited for it’s prey on a log and was able to capture a phots of it  catching a dragonfly  in midair. 

I also watched as it   stretched it’s neck,

and caught something with it’s beak. I am not sure what it was.    Here is a link to a gallery on my blog web page with more photos of the herons I saw on my hike. . Susquehanna Wetlands herons August 26 2023. 

I also saw this warbling vireo  high in a tree top.  This is a link to another gallery on my blog page with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds August 26 2023. 

As I was finishing my hike I noticed these mushrooms along the trail  these old puffball mushrooms.  I would have taken them a few days earlier, they are a choice edible mushroom. 

I also saw an old Berkeley polypore mushroom near the parking lot. Here is a link to another gallery with  some more photos from my hike in the  wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands August 26 2023. 

I  finished my five mile  hike and was glad to have seen the bald eagles , the wood ducks and the  belted kingfisher. These three always seem to elude me on my hike. I also enjoyed my encounters with the herons. It was another great  hike in this place I have come to love. 


“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
― Laura Gilpin


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