It’s January, But, What?, No Snow Or Ice At The Susquehanna Wetlands?
Usually, in January in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the woodlands are covered with snow and the lakes, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds have a thick layer of ice. Not this year, after returning from a visit to South Florida, I hiked in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County last Saturday. It was cloudy, dreary and a cold, but with an above average, 31 degrees when I arrived. There was no snow on the ground.
As usual I first walked down to the Susquehanna River and found it ice free. It also was filled to it’s banks for the first time in many months. I think there was a lot of rain and melting snow in the northern watershed of the river while I was away.
Usually the woodlands are white and snow covered but not this year, they were drab and dreary.
haircap moss growing along the trails.
And there was not much wildlife activity either. Usually, even on the coldest Winter days I see a few birds, but not Saturday. It was almost eerily quiet on my hike. I saw a few Canada geese honking loudly on a pond in the wetlands, and a few common mergansers across the river, but there were none of the usually wrens, woodpeckers, sparrows or other winter resident birds. Not even any of the many black-capped chickadees. that remain here all winter.
I think this was one of the worst days I ever had for seeing wildlife on my many hikes in the wetlands. It was so different then in warmer months. I ended my five mile hike, and the next day, there were less clouds and the forecast called for some clearing so I decided to return to the wetlands. I was hoping I may see a bald eagle fishing on the ice free waters of the river, the ponds or the lake.
I walked back to the wetlands and the only other critter I saw was this downy woodpecker. Once again I was surprised at the few birds I saw on my hike. Usually ,even in January, there are more birds in the wetlands and river lands Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hikes in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds January 21, 22 2023.
I am already looking forward to visiting the wetlands again this weekend. I know there are eagles, hawks, bobcats and a lot of birds living out there, even in the Winter. I just got to find them. And I am looking forward to the challenge. And, I am looking forward to Spring, when the wetlands and rover lands once again became alive. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my mid January hikes in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands hike January 21, 22 2023.
“The deep roots of winter is a vast silence of eternity that echos in the wilderness of your soul.” ROBBIE GEORGE