Summer Arrives With Heat And Humidity At The Susquehanna Wetlands

Summer Arrives With Heat And Humidity At The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna (8 of 42)
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I love the Spring, but Summer is my favorite season. I love the heat and humidity.   And this year Summer arrived with both. We were in the midst of a heat wave last weekend,  the first weekend  of  Summer.  I decided to return to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County. And, I decided to hike there early because the wildlife do not like the heat and humidity as much as I do.  It was already  warm and humid when I arrived at parking lot at 7 a.m.   The temperature was in the low 70’s. Afternoon temperatures were predicted to reach 90 degrees again.

 It was cloudy, with some fog,  as I walked down to the Susquehanna River. The sun was already burning off the clouds left over form the heavy  overnight thunderstorms.  I enjoyed the tranquil scene , reflecting on this ancient river. It formed 300 but million  years ago.  Dinosaurs and mammoths could have  walked along the river where I was standing. Native Americans and the first European settlers traveled on, and along the river.

Well, the mammoths and dinosaurs are gone but I was off to see  what wildlife still lives neat the river. I walked back up to the trailhead into the wetlands and  under the  large sycamore, maple and oak trees to the Beaver Trail.  The trail is surrounded by the ponds and canals from the North Branch of the Susquehanna Canal that was built in the 1820’s and abandoned in the late 1800’s. The  wetlands are part of the larger 1200 acre  Susquehanna Riverlands park and nature preserve. It is now my favorite hiking trail, especially in the Spring and Summer months.

At first I  was surprised there was not a lot of wildlife activity on this  warm morning. I saw a few eastern cottontail  rabbits near the river and along the trail.

but here was not much bird activity, I heard some red winged black birds and saw a few American robins,

and this common grackle perched high on a tree top. No bald eagles, bobcats or river otters.

There was   some  insect activity,  I saw this eastern pondhawk dragonfly

and this pretty Appalachian brown butterfly along the trail.

There were not a lot of wildflowers blooming under the shade of the tall trees in the wetlands. The only one I saw were the spotted  wintergreen flowers.

However, many of the Spring flowers were now producing fruit,  including blueberries, these wild grapes,



and this may apple or mandrake fruit. It will ripen in the fall. I have only tasted one for the first time a few years ago and they are delicious.

As usual, I walked to the Water Fowl Pond

and again found a family of wood ducks swimming on the algae and duck weed covered water. 

And, as usual there was now a lot of bird activity in the woodlands near the pond, including this colorful yellow warbler munching on a caterpillar,

a curious eastern phoebe,

a song sparrow,

and swamp sparrow,

an eastern bluebird,

an American goldfinch,

a northern cardinal,

this pretty American redstart,

a downy woodpecker,

and this pileated woodpecker high on a dead tree growing in one of the ponds.

I left the Water Fowl Pond and walked the Beaver Trail toward the river lands.

Along the trail I found swamp milkweed flowers blooming,

under the shade of the lush woodlands along the trail.

I heard and saw a few red winged blackbirds this is a male

and this  the female

and there were a lot of gray catbirds singing loudly along the trail.

I walked back down to the Susquehanna River, and found this belted kingfisher perched on a dead tree  along the river. I have often seen kingfishers perched here and, occasionally a bald eagle. There were no bald eagles on the branch on Saturday. I haven’t seen any in the wetlands and river lands in over a month now.

After seeing the kingfisher  I noticed that the trail along the river had been cut and cleared. I walked  along the river and under the shade of the large ancient oaks that grew there.

There were  Indian or ghost pipes growing along the trails. These strange plants are not fungi but flowers that lack chlorophyll. It gets its nutrients through nearby fungi growing underground on the roots of the trees.

The trail took me into an open meadow where I saw some deer who quickly ran as I approached. I was surprised there were no birds active in the meadow,

I walked back to the Beaver Trail and toward the river lands.  Along the way I saw this green heron perched in a tree. I haven’t seen many green herons in the wetlands this year.

The sun was now shinning in he hazy skies when I walked into the river lands and along Lake Took-A-While. It was hot now, the temperature was in the mid 80’s. There was no one fishing along the shore of the lake this week and I only saw a few people walking on the trail.

There was one great blue heron, and

the large flock of Canada geese braving the heat and humid.

This Canada goose was a little nasty as I approached the flock.

I also saw this eastern kingbird perched on a branch along the lake.

This gray squirrel,

and eastern chipmunk were also out in the hot sun.


I walked to the end of the lake as I usual do. However, this week I continued on for a half mile on the River Trail. I didn’t see any birds here but there were a lot of mosquitoes. Fortunately, I applied a lot of insect repellant and they didn’t bother me, too much.

It was late morning when I started back to the wetlands.  The sun was intense and the temperature was near 90 degrees.

Along the way I saw a few widow skimmer dragonflies.

It was cooler in the wetlands and here I saw this yellow throated warbler,

hairy woodpecker

and this wood thrush. I enjoyed the melodic song of the wood thrush echoing through the deep woods in the wetlands as now noon sun filtered through the leavers. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog page with some more photos of the birds I saw on my 7 mile hike in the Summer heat in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds June 22 2024.

I was glad to finish my 7 mile hike. It took five hours, and I didn’t bring any water along. I was thirsty, tired, and hungry and glad I started  my hike early. But I once again enjoyed the beauty of the wetlands and river lands, and looking for and photographing some of the beautiful flora and fauna I always see on my hikes, especially in the warm months of Spring and Summer. And, I enjoyed sharing it here with you folks who follow my blog. I hope it’s a long hot Summer.   Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my seven mile hike in the sweltering wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands June 22 2024.

Strong in its mood, the year’s sunlighted noon
Of earth’s wide solstice burns over the fields,
And in my brain and body…
~Arthur Davison Ficke

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