More Migratory Birds Return To The Susquehanna Wetlands

More Migratory Birds Return To The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands birds (9 of 49)
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May is the month most of the migratory birds are returning from their Winter  homes in Florida, the Caribbean Island, Mexico,  Central America, and, some, as far away as the jungles of South America.  Some will  remain  to nest  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania while others will travel further north, as far as the Arctic tundra to nest.  I find it amazing these small critters can travel these distances every year. 

I was at the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County early Sunday  morning to  look for any  new migratory arrivals  And  found  them as soon as I  entered the wetlands. I saw a couple of Baltimore orioles ,  one shown above,  on my drive to the parking lot. These birds migrate from  Florida, the  Caribbean , Central America and even South America.  When I left my Jeep I saw this eastern phoebe perched on the sign at the entrance to the trail. It is also a recent arrival. It is not a long distance traveler like the Baltimore oriole.  These birds  spend their  winters in the southern United States and northern Mexico . Both of these birds have beautiful and unmistakable songs. 

I saw another migratory song bird nearby. It is much smaller and has a quiet song but it is a beautiful little bird, a blue gray gnat catcher. They are always moving except when they decide to sing. And this little fellow was singing in the branches above my head. They winter in almost the same areas as the eastern phoebe. 

There were many other birds singing in the woodlands as I walked down to the Susquehanna River. It was like a concert. The river was high from the recent rains and most of the trees now were clad in their new green leaves. 

It is a beautiful time of year to walk in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

On the ground along the trail some bluets ,

and common blue violets continued to bloom. 

The mandrakes or May apples now had produced their delicate white flowers, 

as did the high bush blueberries. 

Cinnamon and

sensitive ferns were unfurling their leaves.

Wild geraniums, 

Philadelphia fleabanes , 

and golden Alexander flowers also were seen along the trails on my five mile hike in the wetlands and river lands. 

The invasive but pretty Tatarian honeysuckle  was also blooming filling the wetlands and riverlands with it’s heavenly fragrance, 

And one of my favorite flowers the pink azaleas were  adding to the magical Spring colors appearing in the wetlands. My dad called these flowers “honeysuckles” and he would take us into the woods every May to look for them and his other favorite flower the lady slipper or “duck flower”. They were fun days and provide me with many wonderful memories. 

I continued my walk through the wetlands and enjoyed the colors of the  new green leaves and flowers, the aroma of the honeysuckle and the songs of the birds. May is a magical month.

And I continued to see migratory birds, this time a flock of solitary sandpipers were resting in the wetlands on their long journey from  as far away as Argentina on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada.  

There were dozens of these shorebirds in the wetlands. 

I walked over to the Water Fowl pond and didn’t see any water birds but I did see this blue bird, many of which remain in the cold winter here ,and 

another migratory bird, a warbling vireo.

these birds migrate here from southern Mexico and Central America.

I  walked through the lush green woodlands of the wetlands toward the river lands.

On the way I saw dozens of the red-winged blackbirds singing from the treetops, this is a male.  A few of these birds remain here in the winter but large flocks migrate here and further north from the southern United States. 

In addition to the birds I did see a few   painted turtles, 

and  frogs in the warming waters. Most of the frogs  jumped and disappeared  into the murky waters, except this green frog that let me get close enough to get some close up photos. 

As I continued my hike I  saw  this green heron perched in a tree. These birds return from  south Floridaand the Caribbean. 

a few common yellowthroats, another warbler that migrates from the southern United State and the Caribbean, and ,

a few  brown headed cowbirds. . These birds are year long residents in the Northeastern United States but I never see them here in Northeastern Pennsylvania in our winters. They are not my favorite birds.  The female makes no nest,  they lays  their eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds.

There were many of one of my favorite migratory song birds, the cheerful, pretty and colorful yellow warbler. 

I love hearing their songs and seeing their bright colors in the fresh green leaves. 

I saw this one feeding on some eastern tent caterpillars. 

I left the wetlands and entered the river lands area of the nature preserve. Here folks can fish, walk their dogs and picnic. 

The waters of Lake Took-A-While, surrounded by the now green  trees,  reflected the blue May skies. 

On the lake I saw four families of Canada geese swimming as if  in a parade. There were at least 30 goslings in the four families. 

I hiked to the far end of the lake as I usually do and was disappointed I didn’t see a belted kingfisher, an osprey , a bald eagle or a hawk as I often do, 

I only saw a few white throated sparrows

and song sparrows on the ground along the trail ,  both familiar year long resident. 

On my walk back to the wetlands, 

I saw the Canada geese  and their goslings  feeding on the tender new grass along the lake.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds May 7 2023. 

I walked back into the wetlands where I saw a lot of the same birds I had seen earlier, and also  a lot more turtles in the canals.

It was another wonderful walk in the wetlands, listening to the chorus of song birds,  feeling the warm sunshine,  smelling the aroma of the honeysuckles and observing  the many colorful flowers. May truly is magical.  I love Spring in Northeastern Pennsylvania and  always welcome the return of the migratory birds.. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike . Susquehanna Wetlands May 7 2023. 


“The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life. . . . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds — how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday-lives — and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!” »  John Burroughs


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