Summer, my favorite season, arrived last week. The weather wasn’t hazy, hot and humid, the way I like it. In fact it was cool, cloudy and rainy. Saturday was supposed to be a total washout. Rain was predicted for the entire day. I as sure I’d be hiking in rain gear close to home, without my camera. However, when I woke up at my home in Hazle Township in Luzerne County, it was cool and cloudy but no rain. And now the rain wasn’t expected until noon. So I decided to drive to the Susquehanna Wetlands and Riverlands in Salem Township with my camera,.
As those who follow my blog know, this has become my favorite hiking trail to get some exercise, enjoy nature and share some photos of what I see. As usual, after parking in the wetlands I walk down to the banks of the Susquehanna River. I check the water level and reflect on the Native Americans and early explorers who traveled this historic and ancient river. It is one of the oldest rivers on the planet. On Saturday it was shrouded in clouds.
I walked up the the trails into the wetlands and was again greeted by this cottontail rabbit,
and the cheerful song of this Carolina wren. Unfortunately the camera I now use is not good on low light and on cloudy days so I knew I wouldn’t be able to photograph the birds high in the tree tops.
The trees and plants in the wetlands were now lush and green and in their summer glory.
The many wildflowers that brightened the wetlands in the Spring were gone, a few Dames’ rockets and,
these blue flags were some of the few that remained from the beautiful Spring display of the wildflowers.
The honeysuckle continue to bloom too, and their sweet fragrance filled the morning air in the wetlands.
The skunk cabbage , once the first green plants after our long colorless Winter were now de-composing in the wetlands.
As usual I walked about a 1/4 mile to the Waterfowl Pond.
This week there were not the many birds I had seen on my previous visit. I did see a few of the more common resident birds, some song sparrows,
And perched high on a treetop across the pond was a red tail hawk.
I left the Waterfowl Pond and began my hike toward the Riverlands area o the small nature preserve. walking along the canals and ponds and through the lush green Summer vegetation. It was a pleasant walk even under the cloudy skies.
I didn’t see the wood ducks or muskrats this week, only this northern flicker,
a house wren singing on a branch along the trail and,
a few red-winged blackbirds.
There were signs that Summer had arrived, too, the high bush blueberries were getting plump and would soon ripen,
small nuts appeared on the hickory nut trees.
the delicate wintergreen flowers,
and the exotic Indian pipes or ghost plant made their first appearance. These pure white plants are often mistaken as fungi. They are not. They are actually plants with no chlorophyll, and do not rely on the sun for their nutrients. Instead they get there nutrients from their parasitic relationship with certain species of fungi. The plants are said to have medicinal benefits. They are a sure sign that Summer is upon us.
As I approached the Riverlands I came across large patches of raspberries.
I gathered a few of these delicious berries
and walked to the trail along Lake Took-A-While.
Here I saw this common grackle perched high in a treetop.
I heard a belted kingfisher across the lake and watched as it landed on a branch above the lake. I walked toward it hoping to get a photos but this green heron flew toward the tree branch,
and landed on the same branch as the kingfisher scaring it away.
I continued my hike along the lake seeing the milkweed flowers that were ready to bloom,
and, I found red berries on some of the honeysuckle bushes that had bloomed earlier in the Spring.
I also was treated to some ripe mulberries from a few trees growing along the trail.
I walked along the scenic lake, to the far end, as is my routine started to hike back to the wetlands,
Along the way I saw these warbling vireo enjoying an insect it had captured,
and this pretty yellow warbler.
a female red-winged blackbird,
and this cute eastern phoebe,
that didn’t mind posing for some photos. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds June 24 2023.
Back in the wetlands I continued to look for the several families of wood ducks I had seen on my prior hikes. I didn’t see any, all I would see was this one muskrat on the far end of the canal.
My hiked was timed perfectly, some rain began to fall just as I was finishing my five mile hike. I was glad I was able to get this hike in, and , once again enjoy the beauty of the wetlands, and share it here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands June 24 2023.
“Wander a whole summer if you can. Time will not be taken from the sum of life. Instead of shortening, it will definitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.” ~ John Muir